With the spring cattle-breeding season approaching, Trichomoniasis is rising to the forefront again for Arkansas’ cattle producers.
Last year, a spike in cases of the bovine venereal disease prompted the Arkansas Livestock and Poultry Commission to implement emergency regulations requiring a testing of all bulls being brought into the state. The regulations also require a negative test for trich for any bull changing ownership. All bulls testing positive for the disease must go to slaughter within two weeks of the positive test. Similar regulations have been adopted by other states.
Once infected, the bull remains infected for life. There is no approved treatment for bulls.
Ninety-seven cases of Trichomoniasis were reported in Arkansas during 2011, said Jeremy Powell, Extension veterinarian for the University of Arkansas.
“That number had been increasing steadily since new regulations were set in place last year,” he said, adding that in January 2012, four cases were reported, one in Howard County and three in Carroll County.
In 2011, Carroll County reported the highest number of cases, with 27. Howard County had the second highest with 21. Other reports:
- Pope County – 15 cases.
- Madison County – 13 cases.
- Benton County – 8 cases.
- White County – 6 cases.
- Lawrence County – 3 cases.
- Hempstead County – 1 case.
- Newton County – 1 case.
- Sevier County – 1 case.
- Washington County – 1 case.
Trichomoniasis is caused by Tritrichomonas foetus, a protozoan found only in the reproductive tract of the bull and cow. The organisms are transmitted from bull to cow bull during breeding and infect the uterus, producing a sticky discharge and causing loss of pregnancy.
Tom Troxel, associate head-animal science for the University of Arkansas, said that even though cows may shed the disease, the ramifications that include extended breeding seasons and decreased pregnancy rates can be costly for cattle producers.
Diagnosis of the disease can be confirmed by three separate culture tests or one polymerase chain reaction test. Bulls must be tested no more than 30 days prior to entry into the state.
Troxel recommends cattle producers:
- Vaccinate their cows.
- Test the current bull battery.
- Send any bull testing positive for Trichomoniasis directly to slaughter.
For additional information contact the Livestock and Poultry Commission, your local veterinarian or your county Extension agent. For more information on cattle production, visit www.uaex.edu.