The Nebraska Department of Agriculture issued an import order, effective Jan. 1, to help protect the health of Nebraska's livestock as a result of trichomoniasis infections in surrounding states.
"The health of the livestock in our state is of utmost concern to the Nebraska Department of Agriculture," says Greg Ibach, NDA director. "Trichomoniasis is a disease of concern to Nebraska's beef and dairy producers; therefore, it is extremely important to have regulations in place to help safeguard our animals, as well as our livestock production industry."
Dr. Ryan Loseke, veterinarian and Nebraska Cattlemen's Animal Health and Nutrition Committee chairman, says that trichomoniasis, or trich, is a subtle disease that can sneak into a herd without obvious signs, until pregnancy checking time. This venereal disease can be devastating to reproduction rates, often leading to more than 40% of cows in a herd being diagnosed open. It also can cause abortions in cows and heifers.
Trich is caused by a one-celled protozoan that lives in the sheath of bulls and reproductive tracts of cows. The bull herd can quickly become infected and transfer the disease throughout the herd.
"The affected animals are not sick, but the infection kills the developing embryo or fetus within the first four months of gestation," Loseke says. "The cow returns to a reproductive cycle, but generally does not become pregnant until she clears the infection and becomes fertile again after two or three more heat cycles, resulting in many open or late-bred cows. It can be economically devastating to a herd through the culling of cows and replacement of herd bulls."
The import order is in addition to the current Nebraska Animal Importation Act and includes important importation requirements for beef and dairy animals before being imported into Nebraska. Individuals that are planning to import cattle into the state should contact the NDA's Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) at 800-572-2437 for more information.
The complete import order can be found on the NDA Web site at www.agr.ne.gov, under Animal Health.
Dr. Dennis Hughes, Nebraska state veterinarian, says the disease is not new, but there have been more incidences of it in other states, largely due to increased movement of breeding animals. "States to the north and west of us have put in place import programs," Hughes says, "And we are concerned Nebraska could be a dumping ground for infected animals."
He says that Nebraska has had a case or two of trich, but overall "it is a very low level of incidence in the state. But we need to inform producers and shut down the problem so no more infected animals come into Nebraska."