Bovis ISSN 2398-2993

Spermatocele

Synonym(s): Sperm granuloma

Contributor(s): Jonathan Statham , John Tulloch

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Introduction

  • Cause: disruption of the seminiferous tubules and in consequence, a foreign body reaction to the escaped products of the testis.
  • Signs: a swelling, usually at the head of the epididymis. 
  • Diagnosis: clinical examination, ultrasound.
  • Treatment: see below.
  • Prognosis: unilateral spermatoceles may not necessarily cause sterility, as the remaining testicle can produce a relatively normal ejaculate once any inflammatory reaction has settled. However, ejaculate concentration may not always return to normal levels and bilateral presentation has been reported.

Pathogenesis

Etiology

  • Swellings on the head of the epididymis reflect a rupture of the seminiferous tubules and a consequent foreign body reaction to the escaped products of the testes. 
  • They have been described as a result of a congenital defect known as segmental aplasia.
  • Unlike the testis, the epididymis develops from the mesonephric (Wolffian) ducts. It is prone to several congenital malformations, including a unilateral aplasia of part of the epididymis, ductus deferens and seminal vesicles.
  •  In some cases, spermatoceles arise apparently spontaneously at the head of the epididymis.
  •  It is possible that an infectious condition may cause epididymitis and subsequent spermatocele formation, but infection with Brucella species Brucella species or H somni usually occurs in the tail of the epididymis.

Predisposing factors

General

  • Trauma in working bulls.

Timecourse

  • The foreign body reaction usually occurs over a timescale of days to weeks.
Once present the granuloma may remain present for the life of the bull.

Diagnosis

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Treatment

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Prevention

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Outcomes

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Further Reading

Publications

Refereed Papers

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

Other sources of information

  • MSD Manual (2016) Reproductive System. In: Merck Veterinary Manual. 11th Edn. Merck & Co Inc, Kenilworth, USA. p p1321-1408.
  • 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.
  • Entwistle K & Fordyce G (2003) Evaluating and reporting bull fertility. In: Australian Association of Cattle Veterinarians. Brisbane, Australia.


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