Trichomoniasis Testing

Trichomoniasis, commonly referred to as “Trich,” is a highly contagious sexually transmitted disease in cattle, resulting in abortions and infertility. It is caused by a micro¬scopic protozoan parasite Tritrichomonas foetus. In the cow, the organism colonizes the vagina and uterus. In bulls, the organism colonizes or lives in microscopic folds, or crypts, on the skin of the penis and prepuce. As a bull ages, conditions on the surface of the sex organs are more conducive for this protozoa to survive and multiply.

The economic loss to the cattle producer is a reduced calf crop or lower overall weaning weights. For example, in infected herds with a short defined breeding season, the calf crop can be decreased by 50 percent. In herds with longer breeding seasons such as six months or longer, the calv¬ing period can be extended. Thus, weaning weights can be dramatically decreased. In smaller, less intensively managed herds, where the problem is not recognized early in the disease process, cows may produce a calf every 18 months, instead of the normal 12 months. This results in both lower weaning weights and fewer calves produced during the life of the cows in the herd.

The most effective way to control Trichomoniasis is to prevent the introduction of the organism into a herd. This control method is primarily accomplished through testing all new bulls prior to entry into the herd.