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Offline justintime

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Testicle degeneration
« on: November 06, 2015, 08:40:07 AM »
I mentioned in another post about losing two herd sires to testicle degeneration. The vets I have talked with have told me they are seeing more and more of this problem developing in recent years and they have no real idea of what is causing it. They have said it seems to be happening in all breeds and no breed is showing a higher incidence of it. The U of S Vet college collected data on as many bulls with this problem for several years and they did not find any common thing that is causing the problem. Both my bulls were in excellent condition and in perfect health, yet they dropped over 1 cm per month and completely stopped producing semen. I also had a yearling bull show this two years ago and he went in the deep freeze. My vet said she had seen several yearling bulls that spring that showed the same problem. One of the bulls that had this problem went from 41 cm testicles down to 28 cm before we sent him to market.
I was wondering if anyone else has seen this problem or knows anything else about it? From what I was told, it appears to be showing up more through all parts of Canada and the US in recent years than in the past.
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Offline Charo

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Re: Testicle degeneration
« Reply #1 on: November 06, 2015, 01:53:37 PM »
First time I hear or read about that.
« Last Edit: November 06, 2015, 10:21:26 PM by Charo »

Offline uluru

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Re: Testicle degeneration
« Reply #2 on: November 06, 2015, 03:27:55 PM »
Grant that is what happened with the two year old bull I bought as a calf in ON and was getting ready for the Sun Country sale as a two year old back a while. He didn't semen test by sale time and couldn't breed after that and his testicles degenerated eventually and then we shipped him.
He spent his first winter as a yearling, second summer and second winter exposed only to other bulls??
Any relationship or a coincidence?

Offline BroncoFan

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Re: Testicle degeneration
« Reply #3 on: November 06, 2015, 03:46:57 PM »
Did the vet say that the reduction in size was due to loss in testosterone levels?

Offline uluru

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Re: Testicle degeneration
« Reply #4 on: November 07, 2015, 07:32:31 AM »
She never really gave me an answer why it happened.

Offline mbigelow

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Re: Testicle degeneration
« Reply #5 on: November 07, 2015, 10:18:23 PM »
I put a few eggs in the neighbor's cows and got a bull calf.  Early on he looked great when they brought him to me at weaning 9 months old, he looked fine by yearling one testicle was half the size of the other so, I shipped him.  I never thought much about it until now.  There must be something causing the degeneration of testicular tissue.

Offline coyote

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Re: Testicle degeneration
« Reply #6 on: November 08, 2015, 08:02:19 AM »
TESTICULAR DEGENERATION IN BULLS

By Roy Lewis DVM

One of the most frustrating conditions to hit our herd sires is testicular degeneration (testicles shrinking up). It often strikes without warning or reason. It causes headaches for both purebred breeders with bulls they have sold and for insurance companies with bulls they have insured.

In this article I will go over some known causes and what to be observant for. Often we cannot prevent this condition however early recognition of warning signs may prevent the economic ramifications it brings.

The scrotum and its muscular attachments has the ability to expand and contract and in so doing raise and lower the testicles depending on the ambient temperature and body temperature of the bull. The scrotal temperature is normally lower than body temperature and must be maintained at that for normal sperm production. Anything that alters this greatly will affect normal sperm production and could over the long-term lead to testicular degeneration. It is important to note when even a temporary increase in scrotal temperature (say 1o C for 10 days) will affect sperm production for four to five months. Recovery will take a long time, which often as a producer you do not have the luxury of.

Any condition, which causes increased temperature in the scrotal area, must be guarded against. Severe clinical disease, swelling in the area as a result of trauma (stepped on or bunted in the scrotal area), testicular torsion all may result in degeneration over time. Extremely fat bulls have too much insulation in their scrotum raising the internal temperature. Frostbite will initially cause the damage freezing brings but as healing occurs inflammatory processes set up and these can cause local temperatures to rise. Most of these conditions may have been long past and may not have even been recognized before testicular degeneration is picked up at semen evaluation time.

The body also has a unique mechanism when it comes to the testicles. Any situation where sperm mix into the bloodstream causes the equivalent of organ rejection. The bulls body produces antisperm antibodies, which fight sperm production causing the testicles to degenerate. This could happen in any traumatic incident or with a testicular torsion. If surgery is necessary to remove a damaged testicle: if precautions are not taken the remaining testicle could degenerate as a result of either inflammation or sperm getting into the bulls blood supply.

There is a huge misconception out there that treating a bull with antibiotics will hurt sperm production. It is far, far worse to leave a medical condition untreated running the risk of increased body temperature than it is to quickly treat the condition. Having said that treatment with anabolic steroids or implanting can have devastating effects on the testicles because of alterations in hormone production.

Degeneration can happen to any bull at any stage in his life. Thats why its important to semen evaluate close to the breeding season in case anything has gone undetected over the winter. Testicles with degeneration will feel a lot softer and will measure much smaller than they did before. Sometimes only one testicle will degenerate such as from a bunt to only one side of the scrotum. If the other testicle is fully functional you will even see it hypertrophy (get bigger) and it may produce more sperm to compensate for the loss of the other testicle. These bulls will have somewhat reduced capacity but still may be fertile enough to use.

The most obvious clinical signs of degeneration are of course shriveled testicles and the scrotal hair will often grow longer. If you suspect degeneration or if the testicles are markedly swollen or frostbitten it is wise to have a semen evaluation performed. As mentioned before regeneration can take place but it is a rarer event. Plus this may take several months and depending on the season of the year you may not be able to afford the time. Anytime bulls are fighting excessively or you notice even slightly swollen testicles document it especially if the bull is insured. The insurance companies will need some form of documentation because testicular degeneration is such a gray area when it comes to insurance. Primarily because we often dont know what the initiating cause is.

Spontaneous degeneration can occur at anytime in a bulls life but is more common in older age (> 5 years). That is why it is imperative to semen test all older bulls yearly. If you have a past history of scrotal size you can pick up degeneration in the early stages and eliminate the bull. It is not uncommon for scrotal size to vary up to 2cm depending on fat cover and season of year. An experienced veterinarian will pick up the palpable softness of the testicles along with the multitude of sperm defects, which accompany degenerating testicles.

The bulls testicles are one of the most important anatomical organs when it comes to breeding ability and fertility always keep a close eye on this investment. Diligent observation and subsequent testing can eliminate potential disasters in your breeding program when a bull degenerates.
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Offline justintime

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Re: Testicle degeneration
« Reply #7 on: November 08, 2015, 10:11:25 AM »
Roy Lewis's article touches on many excellent points and some of the possible reasons for testicular degeneration to occur. The U of S Vet college did an 8 year study of this problem, and they did not find anything they could pinpoint as being a common factor in this occurring. None of the bulls I had, ever showed any signs of having frost bite on their testicles. In all of them, they did not have softer testicles. They were firm and well shaped but just got smaller. The worst case of this, that I have seen was a commercial man I have sold some bulls to. He lost 5 of his 10 herd bulls in one year. They varied in ages and they were in excellent condition with no visable signs of frost bite.
The vet study done here, said that there appears to be an increase in this degeneration in all parts of North America and it happening in all breeds. It seems to me, that I heard of a high dollar Angus bull that this happened to while he was being collected. I can't remember which bull it was, but I recall hearing that huge amounts of semen had been sold from him.
Experience is what you get when you don't have it when you need it.

Close only counts in horseshoes, hand grenades, and bad breath!
Artificial intelligence is no match for natural stupidity
If love is blind... why is lingerie so popular?
The only thing worse than an idiot ... is an educated idiot!

Offline ROAD WARRIOR

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Re: Testicle degeneration
« Reply #8 on: November 09, 2015, 06:13:51 PM »
We had two herdbulls come down with this at the same time. We had just showed them both in Denver as two year olds and I wondered if there was a connection with that. They both shared some of the same genetics and at the time I wondered if there was a connection there as well. It was a bad day having to ship $28,000 in herd bulls let alone having to replace them both before breeding season. RW
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