Bovis ISSN 2398-2993

Scrotal dermatitis

Contributor(s): Jonathan Statham , Paul Wood

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  • Cause: multiple.
  • Signs: erythema, scaling, exudation.
  • Diagnosis: observation.
  • Treatment: topical and systemic.
  • Prognosis: dependant on etiology.



  • Generalized skin conditions such as primary and secondary photosensitization Photosensitization may extend to the scrotum particularly if skin is non-pigmented.
  • Frost damage on ventral aspect if bulls lying in contact with frozen ground; more prevalent in upland areas of UK with outwintered cattle or North America.
  • Iatrogenic trauma secondary to generalized or localized pruritis from ectoparasites such as biting lice Lice (Phthiraptera): overview, culicoides midges, mites Mites: overview, mosquitoes etc. Flies
  • Contact with toxic chemicals, such as acid or alkali disinfectants or organic compounds such as phenols may cause blistering and inflammation leading to secondary bacterial infection.
  • Burns from heaters, pipework, fires or hot water.


  • Primary etiological insult (see above) may be complicated by bacterial secondary infection.


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Further Reading


Refereed Papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Statham J M E (2010) Differential diagnosis of scrotal enlargement in bulls. In practice 32, pp 2-9 VetMedResource.
  • Penny C (2009) The development of a UK bull breeding soundness evaluation certificate. Cattle Practice 17, 64-70 VetMedResource.
  • Eppink E (2006) A survey of bull breeding soundness evaluations in the south east of Scotland. Cattle Practice 13, 205-209 VetMedResource.
  • Penny C (2005) Practical semen collection and examination techniques for breeding soundness evaluation of bulls. Cattle Practice 13, 199-204
  • McGowan M (2004) Approach to conducting bull breeding soundness evaluations. In Practice 26, 485-491.
  • Entwistle K & Fordyce G (2003) Evaluating and reporting bull fertility. Australian Association of Cattle Veterinarians, Brisbane, Australia.

Other sources of information

  • Chenoweth P (2015) Bull health and breeding soundness. In: Bovine medicine. 3rd edn. Wiley-Blackwell Publishing, Oxford, pp 246-261.
  • Logue D N & Crawshaw W M (2004) Bull infertility. In: Bovine medicine – diseases and husbandry of cattle. 2nd edn. Wiley-Blackwell Publishing, Oxford. pp 594-626.