Economic impact of trichomoniasis on reproductive health: A worldwide concern for bovine veterinarians and their clients

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Esther Collantes Fernández, DVM, PhD, Dip EVPC
Animal Health Department
Faculty of Veterinary Sciences
University Complutense of Madrid , Madrid Spain

Spain perspective: Reproductive and economic effects of bovine trichomonosis in Spanish beef cattle

Bovine trichomonosis (BT) is a sexually transmitted disease that is prevalent in extensive beef production systems where natural breeding is widely practiced. Effective control of BT has been achieved in many areas of Europe, but the disease is still reported sporadically. In recent years, the Spanish beef cattle population managed in extensive outdoor grazing systems has increased significantly. The concomitant increase in the use of natural mating and shared grazing in these systems, combined with the absence of effective control measures, has led to the re-emergence of BT in some areas of Spain. We demonstrated the presence of Tritrichomonas foetus in 32% of bulls from one representative Spanish beef cattle breed reared in traditional mountain systems. In other areas, the infection is also detected in breed bulls routinely tested for BT in our laboratory (SALUVET, Veterinary Faculty, Madrid, Spain). BT is considered a cause of early reproductive failure in cattle; thus, the presence of T. foetus means that infection could have a significant deleterious effect on reproductive efficiency and sustainability of suckler beef herds. An economic analysis showed that BT could reduce income by 68.7% in Spanish infected herds, primarily as a result of prolonged calving intervals and calf crop reduction. On average, the infected herds required 79 days longer to engender a live calf. Elongation of the calving interval translates into an excess of days open, which causes losses from the cost of maintaining open cows. Overall, calf production was reduced by 17.7% by failure or delay in conception. Considering the consequences of infection, we also study the effect of a ‘test and cull’ control plan in infected herds. Following elimination of the infected bulls, an improvement in reproductive performance was observed. However, complete elimination of T. foetus using the ‘test and cull’ approach without substantial changes in management in Spanish suckler beef herds seems unlikely because putative risk factors associated with BT are present. In view of these results, more studies should be accomplished to presence of BT in areas where natural breeding of beef cattle is common.

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Dr. Ivan Leyva-Baca, DVM, PhD
Veterinary Diagnostics Support
Thermo Fisher Scientific
Austin, Texas, USA

Mexico perspective: Prevalence of Tritrichomonas foetus in breeding bulls from the state of Chihuahua, Mexico—a real field working experience

Bovine trichomoniasis is a sexually transmitted infection caused by Tritrichomonas foetus and resulting in significant monetary losses to the cattle industry in countries where open range management and natural breeding are practiced. T. foetus is a flagellated protozoan, found in bovines, that colonizes the vaginal, uterine, oviduct, and preputial epithelium, resulting in embryonic death, abortion, and infertility in the female. Although bulls are the main carriers of T. foetus, they remain asymptomatic for their entire life. Rapid and accurate detection of bulls infected with T. foetus is essential for trichomoniasis control programs because no approved or effective treatment is currently available. Molecular diagnostics has proven to be an efficacious tool in understanding the prevalence of the disease in the state of Chihuahua, Mexico, allowing the implementation of proper management strategies in infected herds to consistently increase the calving rate and profitability.

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Jeff Baxter
Global Senior Product Manager
Thermo Fisher Scientific
Austin, Texas, USA


USA perspective: Harmonization of trichomoniasis laboratory testing and regulation requirements for interstate movement of bulls

Reproductive diseases causing economic loss in cattle operations in the United States are still a challenging undertaking to manage. Bovine trichomoniasis (Trich) is a sexually transmitted infection caused by Tritrichomonas foetus that impacts reproductive efficiency in the US cowherd. While there is no national regulatory program for Trich, multiple states have importation regulations regarding movement of bulls and the appropriate testing accepted to declare a bull negative. Recently, states have moved to harmonize regulations in an effort to establish a consistent approach to manage this disease. Molecular diagnostic testing has proven to be an efficacious tool in detecting T. foetus. This is one of the criteria the states have agreed upon as the only acceptable testing methodology.

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Development and Evaluation of an Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA) for the Detection of Bovine Tuberculosis

Lausterer R, Hardegger R, Mossi P, Raeber AJ R&D, Thermo Fisher Scientific, Schlieren, Switzerland

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