Board of livestock adopts new rules for Trichomoniasis

After receiving extensive feedback from livestock producers and veterinarians, the Montana Board of Livestock recently adopted new rules for trichomoniasis.

The new rules shift management of the disease from state-wide testing to testing in two two-county disease management areas (Glacier and Pondera, and Yellowstone and Big Horn) where trichomoniasis has been most commonly reported.

Other components of the new rules include:

•    Trich testing will be required on all bulls sold, loaned or leased within, or from, the management areas.

•    Movement outside of the disease management areas will require a negative trich test. This rule does not apply to animals headed to slaughter channels.

•    Mandatory use of the Montana trich tag, or an alternate form of individual identification at the discretion of the attending veterinarian.

•    An allowable exemption for grazing in common with an approved herd health plan.

Montana Department of Livestock staff veterinarian Dr. Tahnee Syzmanski said producer and industry feedback was instrumental in helping shape the new rules. The department held six public meetings on trich, and also received more than 150 comments via the mail and email during a 60-day public comment period.

“We really appreciate that producers and the industry got involved and provided so many good comments,” Szymanski said.

Based on that input, the board dropped from its original proposal an open cow rule, and also dropped a requirement for only Montana trich tags.

Some portions of the trich rules will remain the same. For example, open cows from positive herds can only be sold to slaughter channels unless the cows are more than 120 days from breeding or bulls.

The new rules become effective Dec. 9.

Trichomoniasis is a venereal disease of cattle caused by a parasitic protozoan. The disease is generally inapparent in bulls, but can cause serious reproductive problems in cows. Trich can be economically devastating to producers due to repeat breeding, extended calving, early and occasional late-term abortion, and a high percentage of open cows at pregnancy check (20-50 percent or more). Economic losses to the U.S. beef industry from reduced conception rates, lower weaning weights and increased culling exceed $100 million annually.