In support of Trich testing

Dec 6, 2013
by WLJ

The Iowa Cattlemen’s Association submitted comments of support on a proposed rule change in Iowa regarding Trichomoniasis testing of bulls entering the state. Trichomoniasis, commonly called Trich, is a sexually transmitted disease that can lead to a 20-30 percent rate of cows aborting pregnancies.

The proposed rules, which will be submitted to the Iowa Legislature’s Administrative Rules Review Committee, would require Trichomoniasis testing of bulls brought into Iowa from out of state. The testing requirement would not apply to rodeo bulls, bulls being sent to slaughter, and virgin bulls under 24 months of age.

“Due to the detrimental impact of this disease on Iowa’s cow herd, the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association is supporting the proposed rule change put forth by the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship,” said Justine Stevenson, ICA’s Director of Government Relations and Public Policy. “It would be in the state’s best interest for these rules to be implemented prior to the 2014 breeding season.” If the rules are accepted, they will be in place February, 2014.

Bulls are the vector for Trich and, unfortunately, show no clinical signs so only a test can reveal the infection. “By providing the exemption for bulls used in rodeo or exhibition, as well as animals intended for slaughter, there should be minimal impact on these events and livestock auction markets,” Stevenson said.

In 2012, the Iowa Veterinary Medical Association conducted a Trichomoniasis survey across the state, in which six positive bulls were discovered. Additionally, the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship had three positive cases reported from producers in 2012 and 2013. Prior to 2012, Iowa had no reported cases of Trich.

“By preventing positive animals from entering the state, Iowa should be able to maintain and perhaps eliminate the current small presence of Trichomoniasis in cow herds,” she said.

Currently 23 states require mandatory testing for bulls to prevent the spread of Trichomoniasis. Cows and heifers are not subject to the testing because they slough the infection, and can successfully be used for breeding stock. There is no treatment for infected bulls.— WLJ