Trichomoniasis Standards Forum results in significant inroads
April 18, 2014
Interstate movement. Best management practices. Testing. Collection and shipment of samples. Neighbor notification. These were just a few of the topics discussed April 3 in Omaha, Neb., at a nation-wide Trichomoniasis Standards Forum conducted by the National Institute for Animal Agriculture and the U.S. Animal Health Association. More than 140 health officials, diagnostic laboratory personnel, beef industry leaders and others gathered at the one-day Forum, learned from each other and identified areas where harmonization among states can lead to more effective management and control of this highly contagious venereal cattle disease.
"Trichomoniasis is a nation-wide problem and has the attention of state personnel and practicing beef veterinarians from across the country," said Dr. Carl Heckendorf, Colorado Dept. of Agriculture, and co-chair of the Forum on Trichomoniasis Standards. "Most states either have a trich control program in place, are formulating a program as I speak or are interested in developing a program that can help stop the spread of trich. While we realize a one-size-fits-all program won't work, the consensus is that standardization—or at least harmonization—of state regulations, collection of samples prior to shipping, shipping and handling of samples and laboratory procedures can help eliminate confusion and benefit all involved."
In addition to agreeing that elements of a trich control program must be based on science coupled with practical application, forum attendees pinpointed several areas where harmonization among states could have significant value:
• Test results being valid for 60 days as long as a bull has not been exposed to breeding-age females.
• Using PCR as the defining test, knowing new test methods may broaden accepted test methods.
• Approving the pooling of samples in the laboratory.
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• Defining "virgin status/age," with 24-month-old virgin bulls as a starting point for further discussions.
• Developing standards for the shipping of samples, including acceptable temperature range and maximum time frame parameters from collection to being in the hands of the laboratory.
• Veterinarian certification regarding the collection of samples.
• Management of infected cows—from movement to communication with markets.
• Follow-up with infected herds.
• Increased collaboration among diagnostic laboratories.
Forum co-chair Dr. Bud Dinges, clinical assistant professor at Texas A&M University, College of Veterinary Medicine, stressed that nothing was written in stone at the Forum. Each topic was identified as a starting point for further discussion—and new topics could enter down-the-road discussions.
"That said, areas that have been confusing to individuals were identified, and states showed an overwhelming desire to keep dialogues going," Dinges stated. "And we all recognize that, for any trichomoniasis control program to be successful, it must be stakeholder-friendly and stakeholder-driven and the state must have the infrastructure to carry it out."
–National Institute for Animal Agriculture