While states like Colorado have reported a reduction in the number of cases of trich, Dr. Robert Larson, professor at Kansas State University, said we still have a long way to go to eliminate the disease from U.S. cattle herds.
“This is a disease that causes greater losses than any other disease we’ve seen from a reproductive standpoint,” Larson said. “There have been efforts all across the country to decrease the risk of trichomoniasis, and while we’re starting to see some results in some areas, we haven’t won the battle yet.”
Trichomoniasis, or trich, is a costly sexually-transmitted disease that can quickly spread during breeding season, reducing your calf crop by more than 50 percent. While costly, the disease is preventable.
With the implementation of many state regulations, such as mandatory trich testing and reporting, producers have the ability to know now more than ever if their herd is at high risk for the disease.
“Knowing the trich status of your bull herd is essential, especially in trich-prone areas,” said Dr. John Davidson, senior professional services veterinarian for Boehringer Ingelheim. “Disease surveillance is the best method to detect the presence of the venereal pathogen in the herd. Ideally, trich tests should be performed during the bull breeding soundness examination before turnout and after breeding is complete.”
You’ve got trich…now what?
- Test your herd: If one case of trich is found on your herd, test all the other bulls. Any bulls that are found positive or bulls that were in the same breeding pasture that are positive should be culled. Trich is a lifelong infection and bulls are carriers of the disease. Female cows are also potential carriers. While they tend to not be lifelong carriers, it’s important to check your female cows for pregnancy. Cows who were pregnant and show up open at the next preg check or have recently lost a calf should also be culled. Be sure to report any positive cases to your state’s Animal Health Agency.
- Keep accurate records: While it can be a daunting task, recordkeeping is crucial. Ear tags and other identification systems are helpful to keep track of the location of bulls and cows.
- Vaccinate: While there is no approved treatment for trich, there is currently only one vaccine available that has been proven to reduce the shedding of Tritrichomonas foetus, the disease-causing organism.
“If everyone works together, we will one day win the battle against trich,” said Dr. Larson. “We’ve got to stay informed and be proactive.”