Trichomoniasis is a reproductive disease in cattle caused by a protozoan parasite that results in early pregnancy loss. It is passed from bull to female during breeding and infected bulls show no symptoms.
"For years it has been viewed as a disease in western states and those of us in the
Increasingly, states to the west and south of
On March 1, 2010,
"You first become concerned about trich when presumably bred females start cycling one to three months post-breeding. Finally, in two to six months, many of the cows will settle, but it will give you a strung out calf crop," said Cole.
A natural immunity can help clear the parasite from the cow's reproductive tract. Unfortunately, this isn't permanent and the female can become reinfected in the future.
Bulls over three years of age rarely clear the parasite and they become long-term carriers of the problem.
Public enemy number one, as transmission of trich is concerned, is older bulls. Virgin bulls should be free of the trich organism.
"Be careful when buying, borrowing or renting older bulls that have been with cows. If you plan to do any of the above, have the bull tested for trich before exposing him to your herd," said Cole.
The new PCR trich test only requires one test instead of the three procedures used in the past. Veterinarians often recommend in high trich incidence areas that all non-virgin bulls be tested during breeding soundness exams and before turnout time.
In the meantime, Cole says to monitor the breeding activity in your herd and take action quickly if several females thought to be bred start cycling.
"Know the history of your bull and test him when he may have gone visiting. You never know what he might pick up at the neighbors," said Cole.
He also recommends limiting your breeding season to 90 or fewer days, culling open cows, and avoid buying open cows, and short-breds.
"If you do buy open short-bred cows, play it safe and put them in an isolation pasture away from your main herd," said Cole.
Vaccination of females may be a consideration but it does require a booster.
"Your veterinarian can assess your risk level and make recommendations that hopefully can keep trich from devastating your calf crop," said Cole.
For more information, contact any of the MU Extension livestock specialists in southwest