Trich rules: WLSB adopts trich rules for new year
With a full agenda for their March 11 conference call, the Wyoming Livestock Board (WLSB) adopted a board order concerning the trichonomiasis (trich) special focus area.
Board Order 2013-01B addressed several changes that were necessary in the trichomoniasis special focus area. The order passed, though not unanimously, after much discussion from the board related to seedstock exemptions and more stringent.
“Trichomoniasis is a venereal disease of cattle which causes infertility and early term abortion in infected cows,” the WLSB said. “Infected bulls are considered affected for life and may transmit the disease to every cow they breed. Infected cows will transmit the disease to any bull that breeds them.”
“This disease is economically devastating to the cattle industry and the board’s actions are intended to help clean up the significant problem in Uinta, Lincoln and Sweetwater counties,” they continued.
Because last year’s original order required some updates, the WLSB also tackled several concerns with the order during the meeting.
One area of major controversy was whether or not to allow an exemption for testing for seedstock producers.
“I would like to request the exemption for seedstock producers, understanding that there has been some abuse and some problems,” commented a Fort Bridger seedstock producer.
Logan added that there is no evidence that seedstock virgin bulls perpetuate trich, as the disease is acquired when bulls breed an infected cow.
“I understand not wanting an exemption,” said Wyoming State Veterinarian Jim Logan, “but I think we have to weigh the expense to producers.”
Logan also commented that there is an exemption application that must be completed, and exemptions are granted at the discretion of the State Veterinarian. Additionally, very few exemptions were requested in the original board order related to the special focus area.
However, another area producer noted that those well-run operations that would request the exemption aren’t providing a problem in the first place.
“We understand where producers with well-run operations are coming from in not wanting to test virgin seedstock bulls,” he said, “but not everyone runs cattle that way.”
“We have a major problem in this area, and we have to get a handle on it now,” he added, noting that the exemption has the further likelihood of spreading the disease.
New WLSB member Bob Lucas added, “My experience is that it’s not the good producers that are the problem – it is the irresponsible ones. I’d hate to see good, responsible producers penalized for running a good show.”
After voting, however, the WLSB approved an exemption for seedstock producers, noting that an exemption application must be filled out and would be granted only after Logan’s review of the operation and consultation with the herd veterinarian.
As a result, any bull purchased from a seedstock producer with an exemption would not be required to be tested.
Among concerns for the spread of trichonomiasis, the WLSB identified that herd with year around calving may propagate the disease further. As a result, the amended board order required additional testing for those herds.
“Owners of herds without a single six month or less calving season must gather all bulls and have them tested at six month intervals,” Logan explained. “We all know producers who calve all year long, and that is one way trich is perpetuated.”
In order to attempt to control trich in those herds, the WLSB order requires a test every six months for those bulls.
Three tests will also be required for exposed bulls, as described in the WLSB Chapter 15 rules.
“Chapter 15 defines exposed bulls as any bovine that has had commingling or fence line contact with an infected herd,” explained Logan.
One producer commented, “I think we are missing some of these bulls with the error percentage of the test. If the test isn’t as accurate, we ought to require more testing.”
Logan explained that, if done properly, both the culture and PCR tests are between 70 and 75 percent accurate. A second test would increase the likelihood of finding positive bulls to 80 to 85 percent, and a third test increases the chances that all bulls with trich are found to 90 to 95 percent.
The board order requires, as a results, that any bull exposed to a herd in which trichomoniasis has been diagnosed be required to test negative by three culture tests; one culture and one PCR test; or two PCR tests before being turned in with female cattle.
The WLSB directed Logan to develop a more stringent application for the exemption for seedstock producers.
Any producer with questions related to the Trichomoniasis Board Order should contact State Veterinarian Jim Logan at 307-857-4140 or Assistant State Veterinarian Bob Meyer at 307-777-6440.
Saige Albert is managing editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.