Athens Veterinary Service

625 West Limit
Athens, WI 54411


Surgical Services


Biopsies can be helpful when determining the origin of new masses on your horse. Horses are not generally prone to malignant tumors, but squamous cell carcinomas, melanomas, and even some sarcomas can become locally invasive and should be identified so they can be dealt with in a timely manner. Biopsies can be performed at your farm or at our equine facility.

Castration-All ages

There are many reasons to consider castrating your young colt, or older stallion.

Overpopulation and decreasing market value of horses has led many unwanted horses to be neglected, starved and abused. Many stallions are not welcome at horse shows or trail rides due to their apparent unpredictable nature. Some stud colts display very aggressive and dangerous behavior even at an early age that can be corrected by gelding. Some older stallions have not had a successful career as a stud and can have a better life with more options as a gelding.

Whatever your reason for gelding your stallion; please elect to have it done humanely by a licensed veterinarian with proper anesthesia and pain control. Your new gelding will thank you for it!

Cryptorchid Castration

A cryptorchid horse has one or both testicles retained in the abdomen. This is not a desirable trait for a breeding stallion as it can reduce their sperm count making them less fertile (an abdominal testicle usually produces abnormal or less fertile sperm). There have also been studies to support the fact that this can be an inheritable trait. Finally, an abdominal or retained testicle is more susceptible to torsion - the rotation of the testicle causing colic and needing emergency surgical intervention to correct.

Cryptorchidism is usually unilateral or one-sided, and the left testicle is more commonly retained than the right testicle. Bilateral cryptorchidism (meaning both testicles are in the abdomen) is rare. An examination by a veterinarian with or without sedation will answer any questions you may have about the status of your stallion.

Surgical cryptorchid castration involves entering the abdomen to retrieve the retained testicle. This obviously requires more time, skill and holds greater risks for complications. This surgery is only performed at our equine facility on horses 800 pounds or lighter. Larger stallions will be referred to a university or surgical referral hospital where they have the equipment and facilities to move larger horses under anesthesia.

The younger a horse is at the time of surgery, the less chance of complications. Most horses will have dropped their testicles by one year of age. Please call for more details about this procedure.


While we always strive to treat any eye disease successfully, there are times when removing an eye is the last, but best, chance at having a healthy, pain-free horse.  Horses that have had enucleations recover very well and return to their previous activities with no adverse effects

Enucleations are only performed at our equine facility where restraint in stocks, head sets and anesthesia can be controlled for your horse's safety, comfort and well-being. Horses usually spend one night hospitalized after surgery and can be sent home the next day as long as appropriate housing can be met.

Laceration Repairs

Most of our horses suffer the occasional cuts and scrapes that can be treated with a little soap, water and TLC. There are times however, when lacerations require surgical intervention. Most wounds can be treated and closed on the farm.

There are times when wounds, especially those involving full-thickness tendon lacerations and arterial bleeds, are best treated at our equine facility. Here the horses can benefit from daily care by our doctors and staff, receive IV antibiotics and medications or have complicated bandages changed by experienced veterinarians.

If you think your horse has a severe enough wound and it needs attention by a doctor, please don't hesitate to call and ask. A wound treated sooner rather than later has a better chance for a successful outcome.

Mass Removals

Mass removals can be done on the farm or at our equine facility depending on the size of the mass, location of the mass, and temperament of the horse. Some masses are more challenging and require the horse be under general anesthesia; this will be determined on a case by case basis.

There are other masses that can be treated conservatively with topical medications. A consultation and exam is required before any mass can be removed to determine the correct procedure and to attain an accurate estimate of cost.

Umbilical Hernia Repair

An umbilical hernia in a foal is a result of the body wall not completely closing after the umbilicus has dried up and regressed. Sometimes this is usually the result of an umbilical infection. Infections can be avoided by proper dipping of the naval after foaling for several days with gentle iodine or Nolvasan solution.

An umbilical hernia appears as an out pouching of skin. It is seen in the area of the umbilicus; it is soft and can be easily pushed back up inside. Hernias can range from less than a centimeter in diameter to several inches across. Generally, the larger the hernia, the more likely it will require surgery to fix.

Umbilical hernias can sometimes be managed by daily manual reduction of the hernia. This causes irritation of the edges of the body wall causing them to close. Hernias less than two fingers width can be resolved this way. Hernias greater than two fingers width will need surgery to correct.

Larger hernias can pose a potential risk for colic as intestines can become entrapped within the hernia. For this reason, all hernias should be evaluated by a veterinarian and treatment options based on a medical exam.

Umbilical hernia surgeries are done at our equine facility. This allows for a more sterile environment and the foal can benefit from IV antibiotics the day of the surgery and the next morning before they go home. If your foal is a colt, we can also geld them at the same time potentially saving you time and money.

Please call for an evaluation if you think your youngster has an umbilical hernia. The sooner you begin manual reduction or have the surgery the better.