Effects of musculoskeletal and neurologic diseases on breeding performance in stallions Academic Article uri icon


  • Musculoskeletal and neurologic diseases are common primary or associated factors in poor breeding performance in stallions. Such problems can be manifested in a variety of patterns of reduced libido and/or ejaculatory dysfunction. Evaluation includes a complete history, breeding soundness examination, and lameness and neurologic examinations; these should be augmented by additional diagnostic tests when indicated. Therapeutic strategies include an organized plan that considers pharmacologic therapy, acupuncture, corrective shoeing, breeding management changes, specific behavior modification, and other management factors such as exercise and nutrition. Information from 25 stallions presented for poor breeding performance (subfertllity or breeding behavior problems) that was determined to be primarily due to musculoskeletal or neurologic diseases is summarized: 85% had sore backs, 64% had lameness (25% after exercise, 75% at rest), 40% had degenerative joint disease (most commonly hocks), 12% had myositis, and 12% had laminitis, Additionally, 24% of the stallions had cervical vertebral malformation, 4% had equine protozoal encephalomyelitis, and 8% had aortoiliac thrombosis. Using a team approach to medical treatment, behavior modification, and breeding management, 92% were returned to successful breeding. Long-term special treatment, including pharmacologic aids to ejaculation, limited breeding schedule, or ground collection of semen, was required for 28%. Two years tater, 92% were still breeding successfully.

published proceedings

  • Compendium on Continuing Education for the Practicing Veterinarian

author list (cited authors)

  • Martin, B. B., McDonnell, S. M., & Love, C. C.

complete list of authors

  • Martin, BB||McDonnell, SM||Love, CC

publication date

  • October 1998