An increase in the number of trichomoniasis (trich) cases being reported is a concern of cow-calf producers across the High Plains ahead of this fall and next spring’s calving seasons.

Fort Dodge Animal Health reminds producers that TrichGuard® – the first and only vaccine available to protect cattle against trich – is available. TrichGuard is a killed protozoa vaccine, and is available in combination with vibrio and lepto as TrichGuard® V5L, that fits into a comprehensive brood-cow vaccine plan.

“Just one infected animal can quickly spread trich throughout the herd,” says Mac Devin, DVM, senior veterinary consultant for Fort Dodge Animal Health. “That’s why sound biosecurity practices and vaccination are so critical to protecting herd health. The results of university research show TrichGuard improves calving percentages in infected herds by more than 90 percent.”

Trich (Trichomonas foetus) is a venereal protozoan disease of cattle that can cause infertility, uterine infection and abortion. Infection can reduce calf drop by as much as 50 percent, which can be economically devastating to cow-calf producers. Even a 20 percent reduction in calving in a 100-head herd can cost producers more than $10,000. Producers are encouraged to watch for these signs of infection: Reduced calf crop; Increase in number of open cows when pregnancy checked; More cows returning to heat at the end of the breeding period; or strung-out calving season, resulting in uneven calf drop.

Infected bulls are the source of exposure to cows during breeding season. Even if infected bulls are diagnosed and removed, a small percentage of cows may remain infected yet carry a calf to term, so the effects of trich can show up again the following year. Non-infected or new bulls can become infected during the next breeding season. Since the disease doesn't prevent conception, vaccination is important to protect cow pregnancies and reduce the risk of bulls spreading trich from cow to cow.

Fort Dodge recommends vaccinating all cows and heifers with two injections of TrichGuard at two- to four-week intervals for the initial immunization and following up with a booster dose annually. Vaccination should be completed about one month prior to breeding. “If trich gets a foothold in a herd, the economic effects can be significant,” says Dr. Devin. “Along with biosecurity practices, vaccination with TrichGuard is a cost-effective, proven way to protect the health of the cow herd from trich, ensure a high percentage live calf crop and improve the production profitability of the producer.” TrichGuard is a registered trademark of Fort Dodge Animal Health.