Trich (Tritrichomonas foetus) in cattle


(Tritrichomonas foetus)

   Trich is, as it is commonly referred to, a sexually transmitted disease of cattle. Bulls are carriers of this disease and do not show signs of being infected. At the time of breeding, infected bulls will infect cows. These cows will then infect other bulls that breed her, and the vicious cycle continues. Older bulls (3 years and older) are more prone to becoming persistently infected and a source of infection for the herd. It is very important to test breeding bulls for this disease prior to the breeding season. The infected cows will lose their pregnancy early on and will come back into heat. These cows are often referred to as “repeat breeders”. Producers are advised to never loan or borrow a bull, and never by open, mature cows. Following this recommendation decreases the likelihood of bringing Trich onto a farm. Keeping good records and having a veterinarian, who is experienced at analyzing records, review the breeding and calving records will be able to detect evidence that Trich is in your herd.

-What is Trich?

“Trich” is the name used to describe Trichomoniasis. It is a sexually transmitted disease caused by the protozoan Tritrichomonas foetus. It is an economically damaging disease because it causes early pregnancy loss and poor conception rates in a cow herd.


-How does Trich get into a herd?

An infected bull or cow is introduced into the herd. It is spread from bull to cow during mating. The bull initially gets infected by breeding an infected animal then becomes persistently infected. Borrowing bulls is another way to introduce Trich into your herd.


-What are early warning signs of Trich?

Cows come back into heat shortly after breeding .


-Symptoms of Trich in cows:

1. A small percentage of infected cows will develop pyometra (a pus filled uterus)

2. Cows become repeat breeders

3. Herd conception rates are low and the calving interval is prolonged.

-Is Tritrichomonas foetus contagious?

Yes. Infected bulls can quickly spread the disease to many cows.


-Risk factors of Trich:

1. Buying open cows

2. Buying mature bulls

3. Borrowing or loaning out bulls

4. Poorly maintained fences adjacent to neighboring cows

5. Not pregnancy testing cows soon after the breeding season

6. Poor reproductive record keeping


-How serious is Trich?

Trich is a serious disease. Due to its negative economic impacts, many states have strict bull transportation regulations

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