Ivan Leyva-Baca, DVM, PhD
Animal Health Product Applications at Thermo Fisher Scientific
What can you tell me about the prevalence of bovine trichomoniasis (trich) in Mexico?
The trich prevalence in Mexico was unknown until we performed a collaborative study with the Universidad Autónoma de Chihuahua (UACH). For several years, despite the implementation of proper management strategies, such as proper nutrition, mineral supplementation and breeding soundness examination of bulls, the national and state average calving rate remained as low as 50 percent. Therefore, we hypothesized that the presence of trich in their herds contributes negatively with calving rate. In collaboration with the UACH, Thermo Fisher Scientific conducted a study investigating the presence and prevalence of trich in beef breeding bulls in the state of Chihuahua with our real-time polymerase chain reaction test, the VetMAX™-Gold Trich Detection Kit, which has received a United States Department of Agriculture license.
What were the results of the study?
The first stage of the study revealed that of the 450 beef bulls tested, 113 were positive, which shows a prevalence of 25 percent of breeding bulls. Additional data was collected to understand some of the risk factors associated with trich prevalence in Chihuahua, and age was identified as a risk factor for the disease. Bulls aged 10 years or older showed the highest percentage of trich infection (78 percent).
What have you learned from producers in Chihuahua who already are managing the disease based on the study results of these collaborative efforts?
Knowing the trich status of the herd by diagnostic testing can help producers take the right measures to reduce economic loss. We’ve gained valuable insights from Mexican producers who have already managed the disease utilizing the power of diagnostics after two years of testing. Before trich diagnosis and management, one particular herd with 2,000 cows showed a calving rate of only 33 percent. Of 60 breeding bulls tested, 50 percent were positive for trich. Proper management was implemented, including culling infected bulls, letting cows cycle at least three times (60 days), allowing them to clear out the disease, followed by the implementation of artificial insemination (AI) and using clean bulls that tested negative for three consecutive real-time PCR tests to breed the cows after AI.
A similar case has been reported in Spain, where a trich prevalence study demonstrated that infected herds can reduce income by as much 68.7 percent, and that proper management is fundamental to restore productivity. Ultimately, in the study case from the Chihuahua herd, the implementation of diagnostics for trich and proper management practices increased the calving rate to 72 percent, which helped increase the profitability of the herd substantially.
Find out more about our trich diagnostics on our website.