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Strain initiates emergency rules for cattle industry

March 19, 2009

Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner Mike Strain, D.V.M., said he is initiating emergency rules to prevent the spread of bovine trichomoniasis in state cattle herds.

Trichomoniasis or “trich” in layman’s terms, is a bovine venereal disease that can cause substantial reproductive and economic losses in cow-calf operations.

Strain said the emergency rules went into effect March 18.  State Veterinarian Henry Moreau said bovine trichomoniasis has been found in at least four herds in Louisiana.  Cattle trichomoniasis is not a human health issue.

State cattlemen have already lost more than $1 million during the last 12 months due to the disease
Moreau said bulls can become chronic carriers of the disease and pass the Tritrichomonas foetus (T. foetus) protozoan to heifers or cows during natural breeding.

Generally, the disease is asymptomatic in bulls.
Infections in female cattle can result in early embryonic death, abortion, pyometra (pus-filled uterus) or infertility.

Tritrichomonas foetus is transmitted when an infected bull breeds a susceptible cow or heifer, or when a susceptible bull breeds an infected cow or heifer. Very rarely is T. foetus ever transmitted by contaminated semen or artificial insemination (AI) equipment, especially if semen is purchased from reputable AI studs and used with hygienic AI techniques. 

Moreau said the emergency rules require all non-virgin out of state bulls to be tested and disease-free before entry to Louisiana is allowed.

The emergency rules also stipulate that all Louisiana veterinarians must report the diagnosis of bovine trichomoniasis to the state veterinarian. Bulls diagnosed with the infection are to be taken out of breeding service and sold for slaughter.

Moreau said trichomoniasis has been reported in Texas and other states but it’s the first time he has encountered verified reports of the disease in Louisiana.

Texas will institute emergency rules on April 1, Moreau said.
A special training seminar to teach state and private veterinarians how to recognize trichomoniasis symptoms in herds and develop sampling techniques will be held at the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine on March 27.

The Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry and LSU AgCenter will be co-hosting the event.

The emergency rules are in effect for four months and will be renewed until they can be put into the permanent rules governing cattle operations in the state, Strain said.

“The cattle industry is very important to Louisiana’s agricultural and overall economy,” Strain said. “I will do everything I can to make sure our herds are kept safe.”

More information about bovine trichomoniasis may be found at the LDAF website at