PIERRE, SD – Cattlemen and veterinarians in South Dakota’s Dewey County and surrounding counties should be aware that bovine trichomoniasis (Trich), a serious malady with the potential to be economically devastating for producers, has been confirmed in an area herd.
The trichomoniasis organism is transmitted between cows and bulls in the breeding season, causing early term abortions. Producers are often unaware of the problem until the disease is well established in a herd.
Signs that the disease may be present in a herd include a high number of open cows or the presence of many late-calving cows, which result from the early term abortions and then rebreeding of the cows. Infected herds can have more than 50 percent open cows, although often the percentage is much lower and incorrectly attributed to other factors. Open cows and non-virgin bulls represent a risk for introduction of this disease to new herds. Producers can help to mitigate the risk in several ways.
First, only purchase and use virgin bulls for breeding. If non-virgin bulls must be used, test herd bulls for Trichomanas foetus prior to turnout and consider testing those bulls in the fall for early detection. Timely pregnancy testing of females and prompt removal of open cows to be sold to slaughter can also help alleviate the risk of disease spread. Finally, maintain good border fencing to help keep livestock in their proper pastures and avoid unintentional commingling of animals.
The South Dakota Animal Industry Board has rules in effect to help prevent the occurrence and spread of Trich in cattle. In summary and with very few exceptions, the rules include:
1. Any non-virgin bull sold, loaned, or leased in South Dakota for breeding purposes must first be tested negative for trichomoniasis.
2. Any non-virgin bull entering South Dakota must be tested negative for trichomoniasis.
3. No non-virgin and non-pregnant female cattle may be imported, loaned, leased, nor acquired for breeding purposes in South Dakota.
Cattle producers with concerns about Trich should contact their local veterinarians or the South Dakota Animal Industry Board at 605-773-3321.
–SD Animal Industry Board