Though most welcome the notion of increased harmonization, it can only help so much.

For one thing, Dr. Dinges explains, “We’re not going to get any further than we are now until we do something about the cows.”    

Dr. Dinges is ouchier than some when it comes to trich. His own cowherd has been infected twice costing hundreds of thousands of dollars, even though he was doing everything right.

For another, of course, no regulation can prevent or control trich.

“Speaking as a practicing veterinarian rather than a regulator, I think trich is a management disease, not a regulatory one,” Dr. Heckendorf says.

While increased harmonization between state regulations can make it easier for producers and veterinarians to comply with specific regulations, Dr. Heckendorf stresses that producers and their veterinarians are responsible for controlling disease issues.

Though Dr. Heckendorf emphasizes that every situation is different, he suggests veterinarians work closely with their clients to establish a prescribed calving interval that fits that unique operation.

“Remove the bulls after breeding if possible and preg check the cows,” Dr. Heckendorf says. “When the veterinarian and producer are working closely together, with a prescribed calving interval and good herd history, you have a pretty good idea of whether or not there is a trich problem by the time you’re done preg checking.”

Culling cows that calve beyond the prescribed interval, along with the opens, gets at potential trich problems in the herd. Along with testing herd bulls for trich before turnout each year, Dr. Heckendorf explains, “If you manage cows that way, whether you’re a large producer or a small one, there’s a good chance of not getting trich, and if you do, you’ll be on top of it immediately.”

Dr. Heckendorf tells producers, “If you buy open cows or bulls at the stockyard, understand that they come with a higher risk of trich infection. If you lease bulls, make sure you have them tested.”

“Without a doubt the way we view and handle trich has changed,” Dr. VanBoening explains. “Our practice is just seven miles from the Kansas border and we work with cattle movements all the time. Increased import requirements by both Nebraska and Kansas require more client education and communication on our part.

“Ten years ago trich discussions were with only our seedstock clients sending bulls to states that required testing. We continue to have those discussions with seedstock clients today, but also with commercial cow-calf clients moving cattle interstate, clients with poor reproductive rates, clients who lease bulls, and clients marketing cows through the auction market. Our testing methods have certainly changed over the years, too. We moved away from the old model of three preputial scrapings and cultures at week intervals to one preputial scraping and PCR testing.”

Dr. Heckendorf points out that veterinarians discussing trich prevention with clients also opens up the door to visit with clients about other management opportunities where the veterinarian may be able to help. 

“We make our recommendations based on the herd’s reproductive history, biosecurity concerns, virgin bull status, etc.,” Dr. VanBoening explains. “Because of the recent drought and subsequent cattle movements, we have been much more vigilant in recommending testing in recent years. We do not make this as a blanket recommendation but we’ve erred on the side of caution in the last three years as positive diagnoses have been made in and around our trade area.”

“A good history, a good veterinarian and a producer willing to work with the veterinarian and you can stay on top of it without needing all these regulations,” Dr. Heckendorf says.


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