Geni Wren Open cows and transmittable diseases are two phrases no cattleman wants to hear, but unfortunately, the spread of trichomoniasis can cause those problems. Some estimates put losses at more than $143 per cow.1 For a 100-head herd, that’s $14,300 each year.
Travis Van Anne, DVM, Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc., reminds veterinarians about some trich facts they should discuss with their producers this fall.
- Trichomoniasis is a sexually transmitted, venereal disease that poses a threat to bulls and breeding-age females.
- The disease is trademarked by reduced calf crops from open, infected cows (as much as 30-50% can be open) in addition to lighter weaning weights from a longer calving season.
- While clinical signs will not be present, bulls are the carrier of trichomoniasis and spread it to cows at breeding.
- Infected cows can have a uterine inflammatory response followed by an abortion, or she simply won’t conceive at all.
- While cows may be able to clear themselves of the disease in two to four months, bulls will continue to carry and spread it each time they breed a cow.
- Purchased bulls should be tested and confirmed free of trichomoniasis before entering herds. Many states have trichomoniasis-specific regulations on importing breeding bulls into the state.
- Be wary of bull breeders who aren’t compliant with these regulations in an effort to expedite bull sales.
- Encourage clients to purchase bulls that come from reputable sources, and have tested negative for trich.
- Use young, virgin bulls when possible.
- Vaccinate cows against trichomoniasis to help prevent this disease.
“The combination of testing, culling and vaccination will give you a great start in stopping this expensive problem,” Van Anne says.
1BonDurant RH. Pathogenesis, diagnosis, and management of trichomoniasis in cattle. Daly, R. Bovine Trichomoniasis, in Proceedings. The Range Beef Cow Symposium XIX, 2005 Vet Clin North Am Food Anim Pract 1997; 13:345-61.