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Reproductive problems in the cow herd: trichomoniasis, BVD, and others (Proceedings)

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Aug 01, 2011

Key points

     • Outline basic methods for maintaining reproductive success, including: designing appropriate immunization programs and implementing relevant biosecurity practices.
     • Provide an overview and update on identification and control of important diseases including: Bovine viral diarrhea and Tritrichomonas fetus in beef cow-calf herds.

Preventing reproductive loss

Optimizing reproductive success in cow-calf herds relies on combining appropriate immunization and biosecurity practices with the current production system management techniques in the herd. The goal of the immunization program is to match herd immunity to the risks faced. Modifications to the immunization program include not only selection of appropriate antigens, but also matching the timing of immunizations to the time of greatest disease challenge in the environment.

Importing cattle into a cow-calf operation represents a potential source of disease exposure to the resident herd. This risk can be limited through diagnostic testing and an effective quarantine program. The diagnostic tests selected for the operation depend on goals of management, current on-farm disease status, and other state/federal regulations. Prior to implementing any test as a part of import procedures, the veterinarian and owner should decide how test results will impact future decisions (if tests are positive, what will be done with the animals?) Using diagnostic tests as a screening tool to reduce risk of disease introduction from new imports is most effective in diseases with a carrier state.

Risk of disease transfer from imported cattle to the resident herd can also be reduced by implementing a quarantine period at arrival. This technique is most helpful for pathogens that result in a transient infectious state. The length of the quarantine period is based on the estimated length of the infection, and as a rule of thumb, new arrivals are typically housed separately from the resident herd for 21-35 days.

In addition to general control measures, veterinarians and producers should be aware of preventative and control measures for specific diseases, including trichomoniasis.