Esther Collantes-Fernández, DVM, PhD, Dip EVPC

Esther Collantes-Fernández, DVM, PhD, Dip EVPC, SALUVET Group

Faculty of Veterinary Sciences, University Complutense of Madrid, Madrid, Spain

Is bovine trichomonosis a problem in Spanish beef herds?

Bovine trichomonosis, also referred to as trichomoniasis, is an endemic disease in areas where cattle are managed under extensive conditions and where natural breeding programs are used. Spain is experiencing a re-emergence of bovine trichomonosis due to an expansion of extensively managed beef herds promoted by Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) reforms to encourage environmentally friendly land management. In Spain’s extensive operations, communal pastures and natural breeding are common. Both factors significantly increase the risk of bovine trichomonosis.

How do you successfully diagnose bovine trichomoniasis?

As the reference laboratory for bovine trichomonosis in Spain, we diagnose the infection by culture and PCR methods, always in combination. PCR is the best method to detect bovine trichomonosis, however we always culture to compare the performance of the techniques. We provide diagnostic services to bovine veterinary practitioners in Spain. Over the last few years, we have seen a growing demand for bovine trichomonosis diagnosis, elevating veterinarian concern about the disease.

What economic impact does trichomonosis have on a herd?

Next, the relative impact of the disease was studied in Asturiana de la Montaña, which had the higher prevalence (30%). Reproductive data of infected and not infected herds were collected. The results indicated:

  1. Trichomonosis infection increased the calving interval by 80 days
  2. The percentage of cow-in-calf decreased about 17%
  3. Infected herds produced a delay in calving days by 35 days, resulting a shorted weaning period for later born calves

Thus, the economic impact of bovine trichomonosis can result in:

  1. Calf losses of more than 26% due to lower weaning weight and fewer calves
  2. More than 30% loss due to lower calving rates
  3. Bull replacement losses of more than 9%

In total, bovine trichomonosis could reduce income by 68.7%.

Control of bovine trichomonosis relies mainly in implementing a testing and culling policy with regular monitoring and best management practices that reduce your disease risk.

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