March 09, 2015

(Dan) Hi folks, Dr. Dan here from Doc Talk. I’m glad that you joined us today. We have a very special guest, Dr. Bob Larson from the Veterinary School at Kansas State University. We’re gonna talk about trichomoniasis in cattle and we’re gonna talk about a new tool that’s available that was developed by Dr. Larson and his colleagues called the Trich Consult on how to control it within your herd. Thanks for watching and stay tuned.

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(Dan) Hey folks, welcome to Doc Talk. Bob welcome to the show. (Bob) It’s good to be here. (Dan) Folks this is Dr. Bob Larson and Bob is a professor here. He’s the Coleman Chair in Production Medicine at Kansas State University and is one of those people that when we get him on the show, I always enjoy it cause I’m gonna learn something and I’m sure that you all will as well. And so thanks for being here. (Bob) It’s good to be here. (Dan) Alright. Bob we’re gonna talk about trich and what it is, why it’s important. And thanks for all the work that you’re doing on it. (Bob) Alright. Trichomoniasis or it’s easier to just say trich… (Dan) Yep. (Bob) …is a very important disease for cattle because it causes probably some of the greatest losses that we will see. And in a herd that has trichomoniasis, you can have up to 50 percent fewer calves born than you would have. And we don’t have many diseases that has that large of an effect. Now, it’s not all that common. The best estimates that are about seven or eight percent of U.S. beef herds have trichomoniasis. But that is just common enough that you know in a any one area, a number of herds can be affected. And so it is an extremely important disease It’s passed in active mating, it’s a venereal disease. So, an infected cow can pass it to a bull in the act of mating. Or an infected bull can pass it to an infected cow or a non-infected cow and cause her to become infected and then she will lose that calf subsequently. Now, the cow and the bull themselves are not sick. It is not a disease that makes the adults sick. It’s only going to cause that pregnancy loss in those cows that become infected. (Dan) Makes us sick. (Bob) Yea, because I lost half my calves before they even had a chance to be born. (Dan) Yes, exactly. (Bob) So, it is an important disease and because you can’t just look at the cattle and say, well they’re sick so let’s get the doc out and let’s do something with them. You really don’t know that you’re having a problem until low and behold, you’ve got a bunch of open cows at preg check time. (Dan) Yea. So it can be just financially devastating to a herd, to come up at preg check time and not have any… or 50 percent of your calf crop not be there. And so when we start to think about trich and that, that’s what’s pretty much caused all these regulations and things going across the country. (Bob) Yes there’s a lot of interest in… because the cattle aren’t sick, I can’t see it very easily we have to find this disease through some diagnostic testing, so you have to take samples from the
penis of the bull, send it to a diagnostic lab and because of that necessity, a lot of states are saying, we want to try to keep this out of our states. Or if we can’t keep it out of the state, at least limit how much of this disease is being moved in the purchase and movement of breeding animals both cows and bulls. (Dan) And yea, I think it’s smart. We’re sitting here trying to figure out, you know, not only do we have a big investment for ourselves but we don’t understand the overall economic value of the beef industry on our state’s economies. (Bob) It’s really important in many parts of the country. (Dan) Yep. And so we need these calves to hit the ground not only so we can keep main street open in rural communities but also in some of our urban and suburban communities as well. We’re gonna take a break Bob. When we come back we’re gonna talk about a tool that Dr. Larson and his colleagues here at Kansas State have developed called the Trich Consult. Stay tuned and enjoy the show.

(Dan) Hey folks, welcome back to Doc Talk, it’s Dan Thomson with Dr. Bob Larson. And we’re here at the College of Veterinary Medicine at Kansas State University where Dr. Larson is a professor and he is boarded in numerous areas associated with beef cattle production, health and well being. And he and his colleagues have developed a new tool called the Trich Consult that’s an online tool, right? (Bob) That’s right. One of the things that we wanted to develop was a tool that producers and veterinarians from anywhere could have access to and easy access to and so it is online. and you can find the Trich Consult tool. (Dan) And it’s trich with a “ch” on the end not a “ck.” (Bob) That’s right. T-R-I-C-H. (Dan) You go to the other one you might not get the same results. (Bob) Take any responsibility for what you might find on the internet. (Dan) Alright, well let’s talk a little bit about this. And talk about how it’s set up. I mean, you’ve developed it to help provide 24 hour access (Bob) Well the reason that we started this conversation, and there were a number of us… there were several us from Kansas State University, as well as a couple from the University of Nebraska some experts from the University of Florida, even from Canada that all got together to come up with a way… because this is a disease that has tremendous impact and we know quite a bit about it and quite a bit about how to control it. But honestly the best control is different for different herds. And so it’s difficult to…in a relatively short period of time train a producer and veterinarian what is the best way to control it for their herd? You know it’s the size of the herd, the number of bulls they have, how often they buy bulls, what their neighbors are doing. All of those kinds of situations or questions impact the best control program for a specific herd. And so like many complex production or health questions, we know the answers, it’s hard to teach it in a compact enough time frame that it’s really valuable to people. And so what we wanted to do was kind of to mimic a phone call with an expert about trichomoniasis. And so it’s a series of questions that a producer and veterinarian can sit down and ask together online. And the very first question is, do you have trich in your herd? In other words, are you asking this question because, gosh we’ve found it and now we need to know what to do? Or no, I just listened to Doc Talk and I want to find out more about it? And so then you would answer, no. And that’s really important because a herd that is currently dealing with the disease is very different than a herd that isn’t. And so the herd that is dealing with it, we’re gonna immediately start talking about what are the testing and removal strategies we’re going to do to eliminate this disease from their herd? (Dan) Yea and so we start out and we got about 30 seconds till we gotta go to a break but once you say yes or no, then the thing starts tumbling. (Bob) That’s right, there’s about six to ten questions. And the questions you will get and the answers that you receive depend on the previous questions that you’ve had. In other words, a second question might be, what are you going to do on bio security for bulls? But the way that’s asked and answers you’re going to get are going to depend on whether you answered yes, I have trich or no I don’t. So there’s six to ten questions that the producer and veterinarian answer together. And the questions are phrased in a way basically, are you able to implement some strategy? And it’s yes or no and you go from there. (Dan) Cool. After the break, more with Dr. Bob Larson.

(Dan) Hey folks, welcome back to Doc Talk. I’m here with my friend and colleague Dr. Bob Larson and it’s always a joy to have Dr. Larson on the show and get to talk about some things with cow/calf and feedlot and that. You know, I’ve been in the feedlot industry, but my heart has always been on the cow/calf. (Bob) Cows and calves and bulls. (Dan) Yep. My Dad and I, my family having cows and so, it’s always good to spend time with you Bob and I appreciate all you do for our industry. When we talked about the Trich Consult. And again it’s Trich Consult on the Google or if you’re looking for this tool. Bob you say that besides these six to ten questions that you have after the yes, no do you have trich in your herd, yes or no. These six to ten questions there’s further information within this program. (Bob) That’s right. We tried to make the questions pretty straight forward and direct. Will you be able to check or date cows? You know, just direct questions. But a lot of times you need more information to know exactly how to answer that question, whether to answer it yes or no or what do you mean by certain things. And so on each step of the Trich Consult there’s a little blue icon that you can click to get more information. And that more information is basically arelatively short summary of the research information that’s available on that particular subject. We did a really thorough literature review of all the research that’s been done on trichomoniasis so that we’ve got the most up-to-date information that’s available on everything from how we use testing, how we use segregation, the best economic outcomes. All of those have been researched and we summarize those into those “more information” tabs. The nice thing about that is, there’s a lot to learn, there’s experts that spend their whole career looking at trichomoniasis but a producer and veterinarian trying to establish a program for themselves, they’re not going to take the time to learn 30 years worth of information but with those more information buttons that you can push you can learn just the things that you really need to know to answer the question. What kind of a control program do I need for my range? And so it allows you to learn as much as you need to learn but not a lot extra. (Dan) And I think that it’s so important as a practitioner you know, our job is to gather the information, get it to our producers, sit down in an advisement capacity and work forward. And leaning on people like you and myself out of a land grant institution, you know it is our job and our duty not only to the state but the country to distill this information, get it to a usable form. You’ve been in practice, I’ve been in practice, we have a good understanding of what people on the front line are dealing with. (Bob) Right. (Dan) And that’s what you’ve done is put this in a sense, that hey, you want to know about trich? Do you want to know more about the positives and negatives of trich in your herd? And then here’s the things you can do to make sure you don’t have it. (Bob) Right. We think it’s a pretty user friendly tool. Again, the questions are pretty specific and the questions basically are directed at the rancher. Will you be able to implement this in your herd? And whether they say yes or no, the tool continues on down and then at the end it kind of gives them a printed out report that says- it’s gonna work really well. You’re still gonna have some risk in this area, so you’re gonna wanna watch it more closely and that’s very customized for each ranch because we know each ranch is different, the things that they’re able to implement and they’re not and it allows a well informed decision. (Dan) Cool. Trich Consult folks, that you better get on the radar. We’re gonna come back with a wrap up here with Dr. Larson after the break. BREAK(Dan) Hey folks, welcome back to Doc Talk. I’m here with my friend and colleague from the College of Veterinary Medicine at Kansas State University, Dr. Bob Larson who is a professor and he’s the Coleman Chair here at Kansas State University in Production Medicine and teaches epidemiology, teaches nutrition, therio, all different types of subjects to our veterinary students and graduate students. And aside from that has this role in extension and outreach that he and his colleagues have developed, the Trich Consult, which Bob, we’ve gone through what trich is, how the program works, how it’s directed towards the veterinarians and producer, now let’s get to that result. What do I have? When I get done going through this, what am I gonna have to step outside and start fighting trich? (Bob) Exactly, so the veterinarian and producer have walked through six to ten questions that pretty much describes their current situation and what they’re able to do to control trichomoniasis and then you end up with basically a three to four page report that’s how you answered each one of those questions and then a summary at the end. And those are going to be different depending on how you answered the questions. And so each ranch gets the program that’s going to work best for them. And so the report then can be emailed to yourself, you can print it off, you can… I’m not as technologically savvy as the people that help us, but basically you collect it in any format, save it for future use, print it off, put it on your smart phone and you’ll have the report right there for use. And again, what I think is the beauty versus just, you know, so much of our education often times is the best practices. This is what you should do but there’s enough difference from ranch to ranch you know if I was interacting with someone directly we would make a more specific program just for them and that’s what this tool allows you to do. (Dan) It never amazes me that it seems as though people that are further away from production, or further away from the trenches want to write these best management practices thinking that one size fits all. Heck, one size doesn’t fit all on just how I’m just going to get to work this morning. (Bob) That’s right. (Dan) So, when you start to think about the expertise and the facilities and the size of the herd and the remoteness. I mean all of the different things that… we go into geographical region, buying practices, all of these things go into your consult, or goes into us working one on one. (Bob) So, what we think we’ve developed is something that is very complex on the back side, in other words, it’s done a complete literature review, tried to learn as much as we can about trich and think about how it would work in so many different situations. So it’s complex on the back side. But on the front side what the producer and veterinarian see is a pretty simple, six to ten questions, three to four page report that summarizes everything you need. (Dan) Well, thanks for the tool. Thanks for what you do. (Bob) You bet. Good to be here Dan. (Dan) Thanks for being here on the show. Folks if you want to know more about what Dr. Larson and I do here at Kansas State University you can find us on the web at Remember always work with your local veterinarian. Use Trich Consult. Pull it up, pull your veterinarian in and take a look. Thanks for watching Doc Talk, I’m Dr. Dan Thomson and I’ll see you down the road.

Closed Captioning brought to you by AgriLabs, the Perfect Pairing of Performance and Value.

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