Ask the Vet

Bull Breeding Soundness Exams Critical

He might look good, but there's no way to know if a bull can do the job without a breeding soundness exam. (DTN/Progressive Farmer file photo by Jim Patrico)


We just got a new bull, but when the breeder delivered him, the breeding soundness report said the veterinarian had found something called a "persistent frenulum." Surgery had been done to correct this, and we were told the bull would be fine for use in a commercial herd. Now that I have the bull, I am a little concerned about him. Is he OK to use?


Let's start with what you are most concerned about. Yes, this bull should be fine for your use.

Now, what is it we're talking about? A persistent frenulum is a fibrous band of tissue extending from the prepuce to the penis. It prevents normal extension of the penis and can keep a bull from breeding cows. In the worst cases, the penis can be pulled down and even backward.

Veterinarians can easily surgically correct this problem. Two weeks of sexual rest is usually advised, and then he is good to go.

This question gives me a good opportunity to emphasize how important a complete breeding soundness evaluation is on every bull, every year. Complete extension of the penis is a key component of a physical breeding soundness examination. A persistent frenulum is fairly common, as are hair rings, penile deviations, fibropapilomas and tumors. Without a complete extension of the penis, these conditions could go unnoticed until it is too late to get cows bred. That is just too much of a risk to take. My final word here, "BSE EVERY BULL, EVERY YEAR!"