Washington State Vet Clinic to Host Operation Gelding Clinic

With many horse owners still struggling to make ends meet in the current economic downturn, the horse industry continues to look for a ways to help with the ongoing unwanted horse problem. With the support of the Unwanted Horse Coalition's Operation Gelding, the Tacoma Equine Hospital in Tacoma, Wash., is providing a low-cost castration clinic to struggling horse owners in the Puget Sound area.

Although there are no 100% accurate figures on how many unwanted horses there are in the United States, thousands of horses are neglected, abandoned, or sent to slaughter in Canada or Mexico each year, with more being born every spring. The cost of horse keeping is up while sales are down; a horse that could once bring in several thousands of dollars now only brings in a few hundred. A stallion presents an additional problem, as they are typically harder to sell and more difficult to handle.

Much like a spay/neuter clinic run by a small animal shelter, Operation Gelding helps address the issue of overbreeding and encourages responsible ownership.

"The impetus for these clinics is that the castration of a stallion will help prevent over-breeding and produce a gentler horse that is more rideable, more trainable and more saleable, allowing them to be used in several careers," said Doug Corey, DVM, chairman of the Unwanted Horse Coalition.

On Dec. 31 the Tacoma Equine Hospital will be offering a low-cost castration clinic at their facility in Tacoma.

"It is our intention to offer this service to those people most in need of financial help as well as assist in decreasing the number of unwanted horses in our community," says Linda Hagerman, DVM, owner of the hospital.

Hagerman, her associate, Meg deGravelles, DVM, the staff of Tacoma Equine, and numerous area volunteers will be on hand to perform the surgeries. They hope to castrate at least 10 horses.

For more information on Tacoma Equine's Operation Gelding clinic, visit TacomaEquine.com.

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