Trichomoniasis

By Barry Whitworth

The sexually transmitted cattle disease Trichomoniasis or Trich continues to be a problem in Oklahoma. The disease, which is known to cause infertility and abortions in cattle, is occurring at a slightly higher rate in 2016 when compared to 2015, according to Dr. Rod Hall, Oklahoma State veterinarian. The disease has appeared in several counties state wide.

Trich is caused by a protozoan called Tritrichomonas foetus. This organism lives in the reproductive organs of cows and bulls. In bulls the organism survives and multiplies in the folds or crypts of the penis and prepuce. As bulls age, these crypts increase in depth, which is why older bulls are more at risk of having the disease. In cows, the organism resides in the vagina and uterus.

The infection in cows results in abortions which normally occur in the first four months of pregnancy. Infertility in cows is another common problem with Trich infections. Once a cow is infected, she will have an immune response and eliminate the organism. This process takes about four to five months. The immunity cows get from exposure to the protozoa is short lived and most are susceptible to re-infection the next breeding season. On rare occasions, the organism may remain in a cow, which then may be a source of infection for non-infected bulls.

To learn more about trichomoniasis, pick up the November issue of OKFR!