Washington State Operation Gelding Clinic a Success

Seven horses were castrated at the Tacoma Equine Hospital's low-cost castration clinic held on Dec. 31, 2010. With funding from the Unwanted Horse Coalition's Operation Gelding, the clinic provided financially strapped owners an opportunity to change their horses' lives for the better.

Geldings, or castrated males, are more manageable and marketable than stallions. Castration also prevents accidental breeding, one of the contributing factors to the current unwanted horse problem.

Not long after information about the upcoming clinic was released, Tacoma Equine Hospital was flooded with calls. The hospital gave priority to those who would not otherwise have been able to afford the surgery. Many owners who applied had been hurt by the economic downturn, suffered recent health problems, or had already stretched their resources to rescue horses from auction.

The colts and stallions gelded at the clinic ranged in age from 5 months to 7 years. They represented a variety of breeds, including Miniature Horses, Quarter Horses, and American Paint Horses. Some were recent auction rescues destined for the slaughterhouse, while others were beloved family pets. Two no-cost castrations were awarded to qualified applicants.

Linda Hagerman, DVM, owner of Tacoma Equine, and her associate, Meg deGravelles, DVM, performed the surgeries. "We were thrilled to be able to provide this much-needed service to the community," said deGravelles.

Eight area volunteers--Constance Barkey, Victoria Emery, Kendall Flood, Leona Lisa, Lynn Mazer, Jeannette Parrett, Ashley Schroeder, and Karen Walling--helped staff with everything from participant check-in to assisting doctors during the procedures.

The clinic was made possible due to the generous support of the Unwanted Horse Coalition, Ripley's Horse Aid Foundation, King Feed of Eatonville, Wash., and MWI Veterinary Supply.

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