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Equine Practice
Fertility problems in stallions
  1. Elaine Watson

    Elaine Watson qualified from Glasgow veterinary school in 1978 and in 1979 completed a Master of Veterinary Medicine. She worked at the MAFF Cattle Breeding Centre at Shinfield until 1982 when she moved to the Institute for Animal Disease Research at Compton. In 1987 she was awarded a PhD from the University of Bristol for her work on endometritis in the mare, and joined the University of Pennsylvania as an assistant professor in equine reproduction. Since 1991 she has been head of reproduction at the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies where she is a reader in veterinary clinical studies.


ROUTINE examination of stallions, particularly non-thoroughbreds, by veterinary surgeons before the start of the breeding season or prior to purchase is far less common in the UK than in the USA. Unless a visible genital or behavioural abnormality is detected by the owner, very often the first sign of a problem is failure of the stallion to achieve satisfactory pregnancy rates. In many of these subfertile stallions, no abnormalities will be identified until the semen is analysed. For the purposes of this article, the causes of fertility problems are divided into five categories: behavioural abnormalities, ejaculatory dysfunction, poor semen quality, infection and mare management.

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