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Farm Animal Practice
Approach to conducting bull breeling soundness examinations
  1. Michael McGowan

    Michael McGowan graduated from the University of Sydney, Australia, in 1980. After several years in mixed practice, he completed an internship in food animal medicine and a residency in theriogenology at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine, Saskatoon, in Canada. On returning to Australia, he gained a PhD from the University of Sydney for studies on the causes of embryofetal loss in cattle. He subsequently moved to the University of Queensland, first as lecturer and then as senior lecturer in animal reproduction. In 2000, he joined the Royal Veterinary College, London, where he is professor of farm animal medicine and surgery and head of the population medicine group.


THE major objectives of conducting bull breeding soundness examinations are to improve the quality of decision making with respect to the selection and management of bulls and to minimise the risk of the farmer mating a subfertile or infertile bull to his/her herd. The fertility and genetic potential of bulls significantly affects the overall productivity and production efficiency of naturally mated beef and dairy herds. The fertility status and genetic merit of an individual bull has a far greater impact on herd performance than those of an individual cow - a fact that is often not fully appreciated by farmers. This article discusses a step-by-step approach to the bull breeding soundness examination with the aim of assisting the veterinary surgeon to provide a professional opinion about a bull's likely fertility status.

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