Getting to grips with a bulls balls…

Vet student does bull rectal exam

Today we had our second Andrology and AI lesson; it was completely practical so turning out in the freezing cold to catch the bus at 7:45am was pretty difficult however it’s only going get colder now so best to get used to it.

So we headed first to the uni farm to collect overalls and wellies, before jumping back onto the bus to head out to another farm where there were some bulls. Now adult bulls are extremely dangerous animals, and are highly selected for positive breeding features so sadly there are a lot that do not make the cut. The animals we were allowed to work with today had all been identified for slaughter for one reason or another – however they were still extremely dangerous (I’ve met ex-dairy men walking with sticks because of being kicked by cows).

Getting ready to start we had a safety briefing and then an introduction into just what we were looking at and where (and how) we would find it. There are several different glands around the penis (including the prostate) that are very important medically and so we need to learn to find and check these. The only way to do this is via rectal exam and so we started firstly by sedating the bulls we were working with for safety (even then it was scary at times) and then started with the rectal exams.

Vet student does bull rectal examAfter this we moved onto the penis itself, in bulls the only way to be able to examine and possibly treat any injuries sustained is to have it relax and “hang” itself. To encourage this we can use anaesthetic drugs to block the nerves that control it from working. Sounds simple right? Well not so much, the nerves we need to block are located within the pelvis so it involves a massive needle being inserted along the side of the rectum/colon and controlled into place through the wall of the rectum during a rectal exam. Once this was done it was then possible to exam and flush the penis.

So a few hours later, with the only warm part of my body being my right hand we had finished and headed back to uni.

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