Diary of Samson’s Castrate

Samson was to be the next boar to live with the girls but first there was the little matter of having him castrated. Samson is already a Dad and two of his daughters are already living here.

Monday: The day before the castrate Samson has a Gorgeous Guineas‘ Spring Into Summer bath so  he is feeling and smelling fresh for his little op tomorrow.












Meanwhile the sows are leaving their scent on the piece of vetbed that Samson will travel on tomorrow and be on when he has woken up.

Breeze and Bee leave their scent on Samson's vetbed

Breeze and Bee leave their scent on Samson’s vetbed


After bathing and drying Sampson I prepare his Post Op meal which will go separately to him. Samson will have breakfast with him and plenty to munch on in case he isn’t operated on until later. Even schedules go out of the window if an emergency arrives.


Post Op Pignic


Travelling box prepared for early start

Travelling box prepared for early start

Tuesday: 8:10am Arrived in Tilehurst Active Vetcare Centre Reception with Samson, who had eaten some breakfast and had plenty to munch on in case he had to wait a while for his op. I handed him over to the nurse and gave her his food to be put in with him after the operation. Samson was on the vetbed that the sows had been on and was busy investigating the smells.

From here Jenny Towers BSc BVM&S, GPCert  (Feline Practice) MANZCVS, MCRVS takes up the story:

8.10am  See in with nurse and vet check by me- listen to heart/lungs to check ok for anaesthetic.  I also checked both testicles were present and in the normal location.

8.25am start oxygenating in anaesthetic chamber- I give them 10 minutes on oxygen before they have any anaesthetic.

8.35am start inducing anaesthesia with inhalation agent- Isoflurane.  Anaesthetic monitored by a nurse, she also suctioned out his mouth as guinea pigs tend to dribble a bit as we cannot intubate them to stop them inhaling the fluid- this is monitored throughout the surgery and repeated as needed.

8.45am anaesthesia induced so taken out of chamber and maintained on mask, given injection of Rimadyl as a painkiller.  Surgical area clipped and prepared with surgical scrub by nurse, meanwhile vet is scrubbing for surgery.

8.55am moved to theatre, surgery started

Post op Samson

Post op Samson

9.10am surgery finished, anaesthetic gas turned off, maintained on mask on oxygen for 5minutes until starting to wake up- starting to move legs and head.













9.15am moved to incubator in prep room to recover, monitored by nurse still at this point.

9.25am post-op photo in incubator taken- moving round but still a little groggy.

Samson postop

Still a little groggy…












9.50am eating on his own!

Samson eating his Post Op Pignic

Samson eating his Post Op Pignic















Would normally go home after 3pm but as such a good recovery would be happy to discharge him at 12.


Times are approximate


People involved:


One nurse did his see in appointment, then handed him over to another nurse who helped me induce anaesthetic, monitored his anaesthetic, clipped and prepped the surgical area and monitored his recovery.  She was entirely dedicated to him from 8.25 until 9.25 when he was up and moving, then kept a close eye for the next hour or so doing regular checks.  She would normally have syringe fed him but we didn’t need to as he was eating so quickly.

I did the surgery and keep an overall eye on the anaesthetic and recovery.

A nurse will do the see out later.


Drugs:  Rimadyl as a painkiller, Isoflurane as a volatile anaesthetic agent.

Suture material 4-0 Polysorb, used to tie ligatures round blood vessels to testicles and 2 layers of sutures each side- one in connective tissue and 1 layer of buried intradermal skin sutures.

Jenny has also been kind enough to provide me with the surgical procedure:

surgical kit

surgical kit


Surgical kit– the instruments I used to do the op!  Starting at the purple packet at the bottom and moving clockwise we have:

a.       Purple pack is the suture material

b.      4 towel clamps used to hold the drape in place on the piggy

c.      2 Allis tissue forceps, I didn’t use these but they can be used for holding tissue

d.      In the group of instruments at the top there is the scalpel blade holder, 2 pairs of scissors (Metzembaum fine scissors and Mayo which are larger) and a pair of dressing forceps

e.      Down the line of instruments on the right we have needle holders (Mayo-Hegar), rat tooth forceps and then 4 artery forceps (clamps).

Scalpel blade used to make incision over testis through skin and subcutaneous layer, then the testis and surrounding tunics are gently dissected free from the surrounding tissues using scissors and forceps.  Gentle traction is applied to exteriorise the testicle still in it’s tunic (so we call this a closed castration as the tunic is not entered).  A clamp is placed on the cord and tunics and then a ligature is placed into the crush where the clamp was.  Once the ligature is in place the cord can be cut above it removing the testicle.

Then 2 layers of sutures are placed- one to close the connective tissues and one in the skin.  A small bit of tissue glue is used to seal the incision.

Then repeat on the other side!

Samson came home at just after 12:00 and was seen out by a nurse who handed me a post op info sheet detailing his immediate after care.

I have had over seventy boars castrated at Active Vetcare Tilehurst, most of them rescues which for was different than having your own boar castrated. Big thanks to Jenny and all the team at Tilehurst for helping me write this article and for being good all round guinea pig vets.





May 29, 2013   Posted in: Health, Inside The Hutch, One Is Not Enough, Planet Guinea, The Pig Issue