Assistant state veterinarian Dr. Nick Striegel said the rulemaking process for Colorado’s Trichomoniasis Rule is complete and the new regulations are now in effect.
“It was a comprehensive and collaborative effort of many different groups and individuals,” Striegel said. “It included the livestock industry associations, livestock producers, veterinary medical groups, the veterinary scientific community, and regulatory personnel from the Colorado Department of Agriculture.
“The driving force for making revisions to the Trichomoniasis Rule was our common goal of enhancing Colorado’s animal health and disease control activities.”
The new Trichomoniasis Rule took effect April 30. Information can be found at www.colorado.gov/ag. Scroll down and click on “Rules & Regulations,” and then on the “Livestock Disease Control” rules under “Division of Animal Industry.”
Just what is Trichomoniasis (commonly known as “trich”) anyway? Trich in cattle is caused by a small protozoan parasite that lives in the prepuce or sheath around the penis.
Bulls spread the disease at breeding so it’s best to have them tested before turning them out with the cows. The test involves having a veterinarian collect a sample, which is submitted for a culture or PCR test at an approved laboratory.
The organism causes cows to abort, have stillbirths, and become infertile, and is a reason behind delayed calving seasons.
The result may be open cows in the fall and reduced calf crops in the spring. Cows may eventually clear the infection, but some may carry the organism and spread it to other bulls.
There is no treatment for bulls that are infected. They must go to slaughter.
So, when are bulls required to be tested?
All non-virgin bulls changing ownership or possession must be tested for trich unless the animal is going to slaughter.
Bulls on public grazing permits or grazing permits must also be tested before turnout. All non-virgin bulls sold at auction must only go to slaughter if they are trich tested. And bulls are to have 30 days of sexual rest before trich testing.
As of April 30, these are the main changes in the “Trichomoniasis Rule”:
• Imported bulls: All bulls 12 months and older that are entering Colorado must have a negative T.fetus test within 30 days before entry. There is no virgin bull affidavit for imported bulls.
• Intra-state bulls: All non-virgin bulls changing ownership or possession must be trich tested unless the animal is going to slaughter. A negative T. fetus test will be required for all intra-state bulls 18 months or older. All virgin intra-state bulls between 12 and 18 months must be accompanied by a virgin bull affidavit or a negative T. fetus test.
• Bulls are to have 30 days of sexual rest before being trich tested; this does not apply to the interval between consecutive trich tests when a herd is quarantined.
For herds that are quarantined due to a trich diagnosis, if a T. fetus PCR test is being used, only two consecutive negative tests would be needed to remove the quarantine. If T. fetus culture tests are used, the requirement is still three negative tests on the remaining herd bulls to remove the quarantine. The minimum interval between the tests remains at seven days.
All non-virgin bulls which have not been trich tested shall be identified at the livestock markets with a trich back-tag or another reasonable method to identify them as non-trich tested, “slaughter only” bulls.
The state veterinarian’s office wants to emphasize the following important points:
• Testing and monitoring herds for trich is important in controlling infection.
• Trich is a “silent rustler” of cattle — undetected trich will “steal” calves and profits.
• Every herd is unique and cattle producers need to plan their bull management with a veterinarian.
If you have questions or comments, call the state veterinarian’s office at (303) 239-4161.