The external genitalia of does should be examined for abnormalities such as an enlarged clitoris or hypotrophic vulva that suggest intersex, a condition common in homozygous polled females. Occasionally, a doe has a shortened vagina and no cervix, and segmental aplasia of various parts of the tract can be seen. Intersex goats are sterile and should be culled.
Physical examination of the buck before the breeding season should include evaluation of the penis and prepuce. The buck is set on his rump and the shoulders pushed down to curve the spine convexly; this makes it easier to protrude the penis. Shearing wounds (especially in Angoras), prior balanoposthitis, and old fly-strike wounds and scarring around the prepuce may make protrusion of the penis impossible. Based on data from other species, it would seem wise to eliminate those animals with testicles smaller and softer than their seasonal age-matched counterparts. Prior amputation of the urethral process to prevent obstruction by a calculus has no apparent deleterious effect on breeding ability. Occasionally, bucks develop functional udders, but this does not preclude their siring kids.
Caseous lymphadenitis (see Lymphadenitis and Lymphangitis), spermatic granulomata, and calcification of the testicles (which also may be due to Corynebacterium pseudotuberculosis [ovis] infection) all reduce or eliminate the buck's fertility.
Anemia due to heavy parasite infections, chronic debilitating diseases such as pneumonia, and foot problems lead to loss of libido. Bucks with caprine arthritis-encephalitis virus infection (see Caprine Arthritis and Encephalitis) may have painful, enlarged stifles; they may mount does but are reluctant to ejaculate because of pain.
Last full review/revision July 2011 by Joan S. Bowen, DVM