Cattlemen Need to Learn About 'Trich'

Disease was topic at association convention.

Trichomoniasis in cattle herds was one of the topics discussed at the recent Nebraska Cattlemen convention in Kearney.

Ryan Loseke, veterinarian and NC's Animal Health and Nutrition Committee chairman, says that trichomoniasis, or trich, is a subtle disease that can sneak into a herd without obvious signs, until pregnancy checking time. This venereal disease can be devastating to reproduction rates, often leading to more than 40% of cows in a herd being diagnosed open. "Trich is a major biosecurity issue that often cannot be prevented because infected bulls can be fence jumpers," he says.

Trich is caused by a one-celled protozoan that lives in the sheath of bulls and reproductive tracts of cows. The bull herd can quickly become infected and transfer the disease throughout the herd, according to Loseke.

"The affected animals are not sick, but the infection kills the developing embryo or fetus within the first four months of gestation," he says. "The cow returns to a reproductive cycle, but generally does not become pregnant until she clears the infection and becomes fertile again after two or three more heat cycles, resulting in many open or late-bred cows. It can be economically devastating to a herd through the culling of cows and replacement of herd bulls."

Since Nebraska's economy heavily depends on the economic viability of cow-calf producers, Nebraska needs new import regulations to be implemented to prevent the introduction and spread of this devastating disease, Loseke says.

Nebraska Cattlemen is currently working with the state veterinarian office and other interested parties to develop import regulations to help control trichomoniasis.

"We are asking that all producers become informed about how to protect their herds and to support volunteer and regulatory efforts to prevent any further introduction of this disease," Loseke says.

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