Sunday, January 15, 2017
Trichomoniasis in a cattle herd.
A cowherd infected with trichomonas also called "trich" can be costly to your pocket book. Here's what you need to know about trich and the simple steps you need to take to protect your herd. Prevention of trichomoniasis may be the most important economic factor in a cattle ranch’s preventive health program. A sound program will help prevent abortions and ongoing losses at a time when every calf is vital to the bottom line. More commonly known as “trich,” this highly contagious venereal disease can wreck a herd’s reproductive efficiency. “For a cow-calf producer, there’s not another disease that comes close to the economic impact of trich,” said Dr. John M. Davidson, senior professional services veterinarian for Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc. (BIVI). “The economic impact of trich extends well beyond the lost pregnancies,” Davidson said. “Trich shifts the calving pattern, which reduces weaning weights and potentially shortens female longevity in the herd. It also takes a heavy toll on bull power as confirmed infected bulls should be slaughtered.” Trich is caused by a tiny protozoan parasite, Tritrichomonas foetus. In the cow, the parasite colonizes in the vagina and uterus. In bulls, it colonizes or lives in epithelial folds on the skin of the penis and prepuce. Reports from the Texas A&M Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratories in 2014-2015 indicated that 3 percent of all sampled bulls tested positive for trich. “Trich poses a substantial threat in many areas of the United States: Gulf Coast, Mountain West, and the Central Plains,” Davidson said. “For cow-calf producers who ranch in at-risk areas, this venereal disease is a significant economic risk when introduced into their herd.” Dr. Jeff Ondrak, researcher with the University of Nebraska Great Plains Veterinary Educational Center, said even though some don’t see trich as a major problem for cow-calf producers, “it has never gone away” in Nebraska and other states. Testing remains an important part of a cow-calf operation’s breeding program,” Ondrak said. “A lot deals with how much you know about the disease. Those who have had to deal with trich are usually more cautious about testing than those who haven’t dealt with it.” Prevention starts by having close communication with a veterinarian to discuss your breeding program and how it can be improved to prevent the disease. Davidson said one step is to limit the breeding season to 2 to 3 months to help the veterinarian recognize the typical pattern of non-pregnant cows and/or fewer cows conceiving early in the breeding season. These management practices are also important; management practices to prevent trich: 1)Purchase only virgin replacements including bulls and heifers. This ensures that bulls have not been exposed to cows carrying the disease. “Purchasing non-virgin bulls increases your risk of introducing the disease into your herd,” he explained. 2)Test all bulls before and after the breeding season. Follow your state regulations for those bulls identified as infected. 3)Post breeding surveillance and excellent pasture breeding records are additional steps to limit the transmission of trich if introduced into your herd. (Test samples are taken from along the penis surface, then sent to a veterinary diagnostic lab for testing.) 4) When open range grazing cannot be avoided, vaccination and surveillance are critical to minimize the long-term effects to the herd’s efficiency. A neighbor may have a trich-infested herd and the old saying, “no fence is cattle-proof” may apply. Have a good surveillance plan to monitor pastures. 5)Vaccinate cows and heifers to aid in the reduction of shedding of the T. foetus organism. source