Be on the watch for Trichomoniasis |

Be on the watch for Trichomoniasis

If producers don't take precautions against trich, their calf crop next year will be much smaller than planned. Photo by Carrie Stadheim

After several days of 60 degree temperatures it is not hard for us to believe spring is here. We have had several snow events in the past several weeks but the warm temperatures have eased the recovery. Calving is continuing at a rapid pace with almost everyone started while some are almost finished. Another blizzard would cause problems, but we hope for the continued good weather.

The markets for calves and cows both continue to set records. We are amazed by the number of cows and bulls passing through Mitchell Livestock on a weekly basis. Hopefully you can capitalize on these good prices while continuing to increase the size of your herd. When you add animals to your herd you must be very careful hot to introduce disease with your new replacements. This is “Bio Security!”

Whenever animals are added it is important to isolate them for thirty days from the rest of the herd. This will give you a chance to determine if they are breaking with a disease or the possibility they are a carrier. We have all witnessed a calf or cow calf pair which appears to be healthy being added to calving cows. The next thing you know, all the calves are scouring. Also during the isolation period you can test animals for diseases. Once you have a clean test and no problems are noted, you can mix the herds. Visit with your veterinarian or extension specialist and formulate a bio security program specific for your herd.

About ten years ago we had a recurrence of Trichomoniasis in South Dakota. Many herds began having problems which greatly reduced their reproductive efficiency. Trich has been a problem many years, in fact, it was the reason artificial insemination increased in usage. We enacted statewide regulations to try to control the spread of the disease. Obviously neighboring states are also beginning to see a larger problem, because they are enacting regulations to more strictly regulate imported breeding stock. We only have several new quarantines in South Dakota last year, but the problem still exists.

Trich is transmitted by breeding. Once a bull breeds an infected cow he becomes infected and transmits the protozoan organism to every female he breeds. The infected cows become pregnant, but abort during mid gestation. These open animals may still be infected and able to transmit the disease. There is a vaccine available. It may improve pregnancy rates, but does not prevent infection, so it is of limited use in control programs.

The first part of control is the bull. Virgin bulls, (bulls which have never bred an animal) should not be infected. Any adult bulls (non-virgin) need to be tested before shipment. Once way to minimize carriers on your ranch is to market all mature bulls and replace them with yearlings. It is also very important to eliminate bulls straying from one herd to another.

South Dakota based their control on the females. Because cows are carriers and infected cows abort, it was decided to eliminate the addition of an open animal to the breeding herd. Bred cows and heifers as well as females with calf at side may be added to your herd. Open animals many be fed, but cannot enter a breeding program. This greatly reduces the risk of you bringing Trich into your herd. I do not know of an accepted Trich test to be economically used on replacement females.

Herd Bio security is very important in these times when we are all trying to increase our herd sixe. Be vigilant and a good neighbor to keep Trich and other breeding diseases from your pastures. It make no sense to add animals to your herd which will decrease your outputs.

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