While most animals of breeding age will have "normal" fertility, there are a myriad of problems that can occur, particularly as they get older. Some problems are genetic (cryptorchidism), some are developmental (chromosomal anomalies), some are acquired and permanent (injury), some are acquired and temporary (environmental heat; treated infections). Proper examination will determine the nature of the problem, and thus whether or not it is treatable. As with most problems of a functional nature, early detection and treatment is more likely to be successful.
Fertility evaluation is often performed not on a diagnostic basis, but simply as an assessment of an animals current reproductive status and potential fertility. Mares, stallions, and bulls are commonly given a Breeding Soundness Exam (BSE) as a condition of sale; less commonly so with other species (perhaps in part because of the values involved). Oftentimes, minor and reversible or treatable issues are uncovered that the owner was not aware of. Anyone contemplating the purchase of an expensive animal for breeding purposes is well advised to have a BSE performed as a condition of purchase.
At Pacific International Genetics, we routinely perform these examinations, and enlist the assistance of some of the best laboratories and pathologists in the country to assist in our evaluation. Common procedures include sperm morphologic analysis, testicular ultrasound, hormonal assays, uterine biopsy, and serology looking for evidence of particular infectious diseases related to infertility. We also provide "second opinions" regarding examinations that have already been performed elsewhere.