Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Endangered Horse Species: Reverse Vasectomy

AP Photo/National Zoo, Ann Batdorf

Yesterday, while going through my roadrunner email, I saw an article on their website that caught my eye. It was strange seeing a horse featured on their news page, so I had to follow it, of course. So rather than re-write it, I am sharing it here just the way it was presented on their main page.

I think it is incredible what veterinarians are learning and how important this new development in veterinary care will help to contribute not only to endangered horse species, but has great potential for other horses, and, of course, many other animals.

Dated: June 16, 2008

Scientists at the National Zoo say they have reversed a vasectomy on an endangered horse _ the first known operation of its kind on an endangered species.

Veterinarians revealed Monday that they successfully performed the procedure on the horse to allow it to reproduce naturally. The surgery was performed in October 2007 on a Przewalski horse named Minnesota. The horses are native to China and Mongolia.
Luis Padilla, the zoo veterinarian who performed the surgery, says the procedure was a first for this species and likely for any endangered species. The team worked with St. Louis urologist Dr. Sherman Silber, who pioneered the technique in humans.

This photograph released by the Smithsonian's National Zoo shows a Przewalski horse named ''Minnesota'' at the Smithsonian's National Zoo grazing in his yard on July 2, 2005. Recently, veterinarians at the National Zoo performed a successful reverse vasectomy on the animal - the first procedure of its kind to be performed on an endangered species.

The ''temporary vasectomy'' could have a significant impact on how animals are managed in captivity by giving zookeepers a way to control the animal's offspring without having to neuter them.

To read more about it, visit: Reverse Vasectomy on rare breed horse

Isn't this exciting? Can you think of other uses for this procedure to help animal management?
Leave a comment with your suggestions.


Vicki said...

I would be interested to know why they did the original vasectomy on an endangered species in the first place. If the reverse vasectomy turns out to be a success and he can reproduce, I hope he can help to save the species.

Anonymous said...

Bravo! The procedure has great potential; we humans have great responsibility.


lj (%) said...

I've worked with horses all my life and have never heard of a vasectomy performed on any horse for any reason. I've only known horses to be castrated/gelded. Now if they've figured out a way to undo or reverse that procedure, then I'd be way interested in knowing more about it.

What was this horse, some kinda test animal or something? I'm not sure I believe this and I don't much care who published it. Sounds like a crock of crap to me. Even for an endangered species. I've never heard of a horse having a vasectomy. Jo did you happen to verify this story with the Zoo or anything?

kneadstoknow said...


Your point is valid, so I did some research this morning. The horse was not a "test" animal from what I gather in the article I found. I think we can trust Smithsonian for accurate information. For the entire story, please visit