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Take Your Bull to the Vet Month: Celebrate with Soundness Exam
Missouri Ag Connection - 03/09/2018

Many organizations claim a day, week or month to promote their industry. Recognizable examples include May as Beef Month, June as Dairy Month and October as Agriculture Month.

According to Eldon Cole, livestock specialist with University of Missouri Extension, it is time to designate March as "Take Your Bull To The Vet Month."

"If you calve in the first half of the year, March is a good time to take your bull or bulls to a veterinarian for the annual physical and boostering of his vaccinations. It's a good time to treat for lice and maybe internal parasites too," said Cole.

The standard Breeding Soundness Exam (BSE) consists of a scrotal measurement, a palpation of the accessory sex glands, evaluation of the penis and prepuce for warts, adhesions, injuries and of course, collection of a semen sample.

"The semen should be evaluated under a microscope for motility and percent normal sperm," said Cole.

During loading and unloading bulls, veterinarians or their help check out hooves, movement, hocks, and eyes.

"If a bull's age is in question a mouth check will get you in the ballpark on age and dental. As bulls age, fertility and activity in the breeding pasture will diminish," said Cole.

The standard BSE does not evaluate a bull's libido. Libido is the owner's responsibility before turning the bulls out or if facilities and females are available to observe the bulls with females in heat to gauge their actions.

"Over the years of our bull clinics we find from 10 to 15 percent of those checked do not pass the BSE," said Cole. "The zero and below temperatures this winter could result in those percentages going up due to scrotal and prepuce injuries."

While the bulls are at the clinic, Cole recommends having a trichomoniasis test run on them. Although the incidence of trich is down, a test is important if you have had a neighbors bull come visiting or your bulls went over to see the neighbor's cows.

The following veterinarian's clinics are cooperating during certain days in March to offer special deals on BSEs. Zoetis works along with the University of Missouri Extension to conduct these events. Check with your veterinarian for a date as we strive to bunch the 2019 calf crop.

Here's the schedule for all clinics in the 417 area code:

March 12 - Countryside Animal Clinic, Aurora, ph. 678-4011

March 13-14 - Dake Veterinary Clinic, Miller, ph. 452-3301

March 15 - Animal Clinic of Diamond, Diamond, ph. 325-4136

March 21-22 - El Dorado Springs Vet Clinic, ph. 876-5805

Mar 23-Apr 7-Countryside Veterinary Clinic, Bolivar, ph. 326-2992

Cole recommends not waiting until the last minute to go bull shopping.

"A BSE will give you the heads up that you need to make a purchase. It's important to have at least one more bull than you think you'll need in the bullpen," said Cole.

For more information, contact any of the MU Extension livestock specialists in southwest Missouri: Eldon Cole in Lawrence County, (417) 466-3102; Andy McCorkill in Dallas County at (417) 345-7551; Dr. Randy Wiedmeier, in Ozark County at (417) 679-3525; or Dr. Patrick Davis in Cedar County at (417) 276-3313.

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