Reproductive health complications can be devastating to both cow/calf producers’ herds and their bottom lines. Trichomoniasis, commonly known as trich, can deal some of the most significant of those blows.
Trich is a costly sexually transmitted disease that can infect an entire herd within a short span of time. Reports from the Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service indicate that trich can potentially reduce a producer’s yearly calf crop by more than 50 percent.1
“There are many reproductive pathogens that can affect a producer’s bottom line,” said Dr. John Davidson, senior professional services veterinarian for Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica Inc. (BIVI). “But in my observations, there is no disease that has a greater economic impact for a cow/calf producer than bovine trichomoniasis.”
There is currently no treatment for trich, and with a fluctuating market for beef, it’s a disease producers can’t afford to ignore. Trich can have an impact on many components of herd health, but mostly affects these three areas:
Reduces calf crop up to 50 percent due to early embryonic loss or abortion.1
Shifts pregnancy/calving pattern, resulting in lighter weaning weights and more open cows.
Infects cattle, which can lead to the need for culling and replacing, affecting valued farm-grown genetics from your herd.
Before purchasing a new bull and introducing him to your herd, ask the all-important question: Has he been tested? According to Davidson, purchasing animals from reputable sources that have been tested and shown to be free of trich will lessen your herd’s risk of contracting the disease.
“A bull’s ticket to enter and leave a breeding pasture is a negative trich test performed by a knowledgeable and competent veterinarian,” he added.
Neighboring herds can also be a source of spreading the disease, especially in herds that utilize open-range grazing. “Stay in touch with neighbors to learn if trichomoniasis has been identified or tested for in their herds,” recommended Davidson. “In the same way, be a good neighbor yourself and talk to your local veterinarian about adding trich surveillance to your herd health program.”
While trich can only be transmitted through sexual contact, if neighboring bulls are infected, a simple jump over the fence could introduce this destructive disease to your herd.
To know if your herd is at a higher risk level, visit TrichRegs.com, which indicates the states that are commonly impacted by trich, as well as your state’s Board of Animal Health regulations.
While there is no approved treatment for trich in the United States, there is currently one vaccine available that has been proven to reduce the shedding of Tritrichomonas foetus, the disease-causing organism: TrichGuard.® In a university study, TRICHGUARD improved calving percentages by more than 150 percent compared to unvaccinated cows, whose calving percentage was only 20 percent.2
Reproductive health is crucial to the success of any operation, and the signs of trich should be monitored year-round for best results. Early abortions, decreased settling rate and multiple rebreeds can be signs of trich, and will be best managed in early pregnancy. Take control today, and put management practices in place to avoid a trich wreck.