November 03, 2014

(Dan) Hey there folks, welcome to Doc Talk, Dr. Dan Thomson here at Kansas State University. I am tickled to death that you tuned in this morning. We have Dr. Justin Smith who is the Deputy Animal Health Commissioner in the state of Kansas. And we’re gonna be talking about trich. Stay tuned and enjoy the show.

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(Dan) Welcome to the show. (Justin) Thank you Dan. Appreciate being here. (Dan) Folks, this is Dr. Justin Smith and he is the Deputy Animal Health Commissioner for the Kansas Department of Agriculture here in Kansas. And Justin you see a lot of the state. And what exactly is kind of your role as a Deputy Animal Health Commissioner? (Justin) Presently, basically I’m the support for our Animal Health Commissioner. But honestly what our mission is is that we protect, we develop the regulations, we protect the animal health industry here in the state of Kansas. So, our goal is to try to come up with practices that allow the producer to do what they need to do, but still understand that there is a safety factor and we make sure that we are not putting Kansas’ livestock production in grave nature. (Dan) Yes, sometimes you know when we have the term regulations, we put them in place to protect the individuals, not hurt them. (Justin) Exactly. And honestly it’s a fine line. But yeah, that is why they’re there. (Dan) Yep, yep. Well, we’re glad to get you on the show. And because trich is something in every magazine. We’re seeing it on our extension bulletins and all around you’re right in the middle of it. (Justin) Exactly. No, trich has really been the hot button issue in the state of Kansas in the last couple, three years as well as nationally. (Dan) Let’s just start out. What is it that we’re dealing with here? (Justin) OK. Trich in short is a venereal disease in cattle. It is a protozoan. A lot of folks if you understand what cryptosporidiosis or coccidiosis, it’s the same type of organism, but it is a different organism. But it is a venereal disease that is passed strictly upon sexual contact between our bulls and our cows and it tends to cause usually a mid-term abortion. We can see a late term abortion with it, but usually it’s an infertility and lack of pregnancy. (Dan) OK. And so we’re dealing with this you know, I would assume a bunch of open cows or something of that nature is kind of the… (Justin) Definitely and unfortunately that’s a lot of times the first sign, is guys realize at preg check time is wow, we didn’t get the conception rate we needed to have. And so then they start looking in to. And obviously the bull is the first thing they look at but once they determine that he still is good, that’s when the trich thing starts to rear its head. And so… but yeah, and unfortunately that’s a little late, in that respect. (Dan) Is this something that survives, that has to survive on the bovine can it survive in the environment? (Justin) Sure, sure. No, it is an obligate organism. It has to be on the animal. It doesn’t survive out in the atmosphere or in the environment very well at all. And so it does take an animal to animal contact for it to happen. And when I say that, I should specify animal to animal venereal contact. It isn’t that they’re gonna exchange it nose to nose or they’re not going to breathe it in or whatever. It is a sexually transmitted disease. (Dan) Well, I think it’s some fantastic information. It’s a hot topic. We’re gonna take a break. (Justin) OK. (Dan) We’ll go to commercial. When we come back from commercial, we’re gonna talk a little bit about the impact that trich can have on the cow herd. You’re watching Doc Talk. This is Dr. Justin Smith. We’re sure glad that you joined us.

(Dan) Welcome back to Doc Talk. Dr. Dan Thomson here with Dr. Justin Smith and we’re at Kansas State University where Dr. Smith is the Deputy Animal Health Commissioner for the state of Kansas, works in the Kansas Department of Agriculture. And we got him to break away from his schedule to come down here and visit with us about trich. And you know, we already mentioned a little bit about the abortions. (Justin) Uh huh. (Dan) But just overall, what are some of the examples of what we’re seeing out there in the industry as far as cases or things of that nature. (Justin) Sure, sure. OK. Here in the state of Kansas we do have trich. It is out there. We’ve been monitoring this disease for about the last three to four years pretty hard, looking at positive cases. I will say we don’t have a large, huge problem here in the state of Kansas, but it’s definitely there. And it’s something that guys need to be aware of. We’ve looked at it and we get anywhere between 16-17 cases a year. This year we’re sitting right at 11 right now, but we’ve got a few months yet to go is what it amounts to. It obviously… it can be of various impacts. We’ve seen herds unfortunately folks, it’s been up to 80 percent open rates on some of these cows. Typically the guys will find a 10 to 12 maybe 15 percent open rate that first year, and that’s what kind of really kicks it off. But if you get a bull population, a bull battery that is infected yeah, it can be devastating, and has been devastating to many herds. (Dan) OK, so you know some of the things that we need to focus on is it’s a venereal disease that is passed only through sexual contact between animals, not nose to nose. So, obviously diagnostics
and… (Justin) That is the important thing and that is the key thing to remember that there is no outward sign of this disease. I defy you to go out and tell me that bull was positive or negative. So, you can’t visually look at that animal and see that. A lot of times the abortion is early enough, that you will never see anything other than maybe some blood tinged mucus on the tail, so it tends to be a real insidious type organism, or insidious disease. So, the diagnostic is key, the testing is key. We have to test these bulls on basically an annual basis and a lot of times if you’ve got multiple calving seasons yearly basis, twice a year basis. (Dan) So, let’s jump into, is there any type of bio security or thoughts of cows and heifers. (Justin) Sure, definitely. We know the cows are the ones that spread the disease. (Dan) OK. (Justin) The bulls are the ones that have the infection for life. Once a bull’s infected, always infected. But they got infected from the cow, and so we understand now that the cows are the ones that are kind of propagating this disease within our herds. And so that’s where a lot of the thought processes are now. Unfortunately our diagnostics aren’t very good in cows. The nice thing about it is cows can clean themselves up if they are sexually arrested for a period of time. So, within about 120 days or so they can get themselves cleaned up. (Dan) And so they just form an immune response against it? (Justin) An immune response, yes. Now, the thing is once they clean themselves up, they can be reinfected. So, if you haven’t cleaned your herd up they can be infected. (Dan) OK, gotcha. Let’s take a break and let’s come back. Let’s talk some more about some of the diagnostics and prevention for trich in people’s herds. (Justin) Sure. (Dan) You’re watching Doc Talk. Thanks for joining us we’re gonna take a break and well be right back.

(Dan) Hey folks, welcome back to Doc Talk Dr. Dan Thomson here with Dr. Justin Smith. He is the Deputy Animal Health Commissioner for the state of Kansas which is a big, big job. And we’re talking about something that I think is probably as important as a cow/calf people these days as anything. (Justin) Anything. (Dan) I mean trich and BVD are kind of the two things that we’ve gotta control. (Justin) Right in line with each other. (Dan) And when we left we were talking about how cows carry it. Cows can have an immune response and actually clean themselves up from a trich infection, but they can be reinfected so obviously the bull is the focus. (Justin) The bull is the focus yeah. As far as the testing and the cleaning the herd up completely. So, we do. We go in there and we recommend that they do a test. There again, unfortunately it’s not an easy test. It’s a test that requires a taking a scraping a preputial scraping. And then send it in for culture or a PCR test. When I say that, at Kansas we recognize the PCR test is the valid test in the state of Kansas. But it is a culture test, so it isn’t something you can just go out and draw a blood sample or a tissue sample in that respect. (Dan) OK, so gotta work with your veterinarian. (Justin) Definitely. (Dan) And get ’em out there. Now, when you were talking before the break, you were talking about hey, let’s get these bulls tested annually. So, when? Is it prior to turn out? Do it when we do breeding soundness exams, match it up. (Justin) Sure. The breeding soundness exam is an excellent place to do it. It really is. Now if the thing is that you come in and you’ve got suspicion of it with your preg checks rate, a good time to do it is in the fall. There is no use keeping that bull around. Once he’s infected, he’s always infected. There’s not a treatment for these bulls. (Dan) So, if we don’t have a problem do it when we do breeding soundness exams. (Justin) Breeding soundness exams. (Dan) If we go in we have a decrease in conception rates, then we might want to go back and take a look at that. And you know I’ve gotten some calls from people saying hey, cause the normal from the time we preg check to the time we calf, usually two to three precent of those animals will abort. That’s a normal, just don’t know why, you know, type thing. But that’s kind of normal. But when we start creeping above that three percent and we get up five, seven, ten percent, then we need to start thinking about something infectious. (Justin) Infectious, exactly. And that’s what kind of traps some of these producers the last few years is the fact that they looked at the drought. Well, things were dry so I felt like I could adjust for a little higher pregnancy rate, when in actuality it was trich kind of creeping up on ’em. (Dan) Gotcha. So, we’ve got about a minute til break. On bulls, I’ve heard there’s a difference in yearlings versus three and four year olds. If you’re buying new bulls or buying bulls from different origins, more likely to be in an older bull than a younger bull? But still need to test he younger bulls? (Justin) Yes, most definitely. I mean the only bull out there is if you are assured that he is a virgin bull. But how many people can tell you that they’re a hundred percent sure that it’s a virgin bull. (Dan) Right. (Justin) No, our recommendation is keep your bull battery young but test them bulls no matter what the case may be. Unless you just know that you raised him yourself. (Dan) Cool. Well, we’re gonna take a
break. And folks, with the price of cattle these days I think we can afford to get a trich test, for you and your family insurance and your cow operations, I think it’s something that is vitally important you work with your veterinarian. We’re gonna take a break. We’ll be right back after this.

(Dan) Hey folks, welcome back to Doc Talk. Dr. Dan Thomson, Dr. Justin Smith. We’re both here in the state of Kansas. I’m at Kansas State University and he is the Deputy Animal Health Commissioner who spends a lot of time helping keep our cow herds, swine herds, all of our animal populations healthy and keep us open for commerce here in the state of Kansas. And we really appreciate all that you do. (Justin) Thank you Dan. (Dan) And appreciate you being on the show today. And we’re talking about trich. And we talked about preventing it in our herds. How, you know, if we have a few open cows, getting the bulls tested. Making sure that we test the bulls one a year and if you’re calving twice a year, twice. But let’s talk about from a sell a bull. What are some of the things I need to do if I’m gonna sell a bull to somebody or have a bull sale? (Justin) Sure. If you’re gonna have a bull sale and I’m gonna go by what Kansas’ requirement is, is anything that’s under 18 months of age that you can verify has not had any sexual contact is free to sell in the state of Kansas. (Dan) And you don’t need to test. (Justin) No need to test. (Dan) OK. (Justin) Anything that is over 18 months of age does require a negative test prior to change of ownership. Now, that isn’t the case in all states. If you’re selling bulls out of state, I strongly recommend that you call that state animal health organization to find out the requirements. That is one of our issues across nationally is the discrepancy amongst different requirements amongst different states. And there is an honest effort to try to rectify that. (Dan) Yeah, it’d be nice if we could all be on the same page. You’d think that would be something that wouldn’t take too long. (Justin) Definitely, right, exactly. (Dan) But with that in mind, how long does it take from the time that you do a preputial scraping until I get my results. (Justin) OK. The goal is is we want it in the lab no later than 72 hours. It’s got to be to the lab within 72 hours. They will incubate it for 24 hours and then usually within that next 24 hours they’ve got you a test result. So, the quicker you can get it to the lab, the faster it will be. But once it’s in the lab anywhere from 24 to 36 hours. (Dan) And you guys have been on the road working with veterinarians, working on CE, doing labs on how to take the samples. Most every veterinarian is ready to go on this. (Justin) Ready to go. Exactly. That is something that we have implemented is the fact that we want our veterinarians trained up. And to understand that the shipping and the handling and the collection is as important as the test itself. (Dan) Is there anything to, like, I mean also kind of like the validation that this was taken by a veterinarian? Is there something on a federal regulation that a veterinarian needs to do the testing? (Justin) Not federal. Kansas has implemented though something that our veterinarians are accredited or certified to be trich testers for change of ownership testing. But no, this is not a federally regulated disease. (Dan) And that way it just helps protect people against fraud. It gives us a third party opportunity to do this testing and move things forward. (Justin) Definitely, this is a validation exactly. (Dan) Cool. Well thanks for stopping by and thanks for providing us this information. (Justin) No problem at all. We’re glad to do it. Thank you for having us. (Dan) Folks, Dr. Justin Smith here in the state of Kansas our Deputy Animal Health Commissioner. Thanks for watching Doc Talk today and remember always work with your local practitioner. If you want to know more about what we do here at Kansas State College of Veterinary Medicine you can find us on the web at Thanks for watching Doc Talk. I’m Dr. Dan Thomson here from Kansas State University’s College Veterinary Medicine and I’ll see you down the road.

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