Stopping the spread of Trich is critical for cattle producers

While there are a number of potential diseases cattle producers should be aware of, one that is very costly and very important to stay on top of is Trichomoniasis (Trich).

Trich is a venereal disease caused by a protozoa organism, Tritrichomonas foetus. This organism is found only in the reproductive tract of infected bulls and cows. Infected cattle herds can lead to infertility, low pregnancy rates, extended calving seasons, diminished calf crops and occasional abortions in pregnant cows and heifers. To avoid the economic losses associated with this disease, producers should have their bulls tested for Trich.

“A producer could lose 50 percent – or possibly more – of an annual calf crop through early embryonic death or abortion if Trich is introduced into the herd. Even in a small herd of 30 cows, the loss of calf revenue alone could exceed $10,000,” Dr. Craig Payne, Univesity of Missouri Extension veterinarian, said. “Factor in the losses associated with culling, the cost associated with cleaning up the disease, and you have an economically devastating event.”

“Because the disease is sexually transmitted, virgin bulls don’t have to be tested, however, many breeders will test virgin bulls for peace of mind and liability reasons,” Andy McCorkill, University of Missouri Extension field specialist in livestock, said.

While cows can be tested for Trich, their bodies treat the organism differently than bulls.

“We can test cows but the reason we often don’t is because cows eliminate the Trich organism approximately 60 days (three heat cycles) after it causes fetal loss. So, if we test cows at the wrong time, we may not recover the organism even though it was circulating in a herd. Once bulls are infected, they are often infected for life, such is the reason they are the focus of testing programs instead of cows,” Payne explained.

“If you are seeing a lot of abortions and cows recycling in your herd, get the vet involved and try to pinpoint what the problem. The longer a problem exists, the bigger the effects can be,” McCorkill advised.

To prevent Trich, producers should always have bulls tested, and should familiarize themselves with testing.

“Only use bulls that have a valid negative Trich test and keep perimeter fencing in good condition to minimize accidental introduction from neighboring herds,” Payne said.

“Missouri, Arkansas, Kansas and Oklahoma all have some sort of ruling and testing program so check with your vet for local regulations and recommendations,” McCorkill added.

Klaire HowertonFarm HelpCattle,testing,Trich,trichomoniasis,venereal diseaseStopping the spread of Trich is critical for cattle producers While there are a number of potential diseases cattle producers should be aware of, one that is very costly and very important to stay on top of is Trichomoniasis (Trich). Trich is a venereal disease caused by a protozoa organism,...The Ozarks' most read farm newspaper, reaching more than 58,000 readers in Missouri, Arkansas and Oklahoma