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2017-07-06

THSC scores victory for parents

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The Texas Animal Health Commission (TAHC) is seeking input from all segments of the cattle industry affected by Bovine Trichomoniasis (Trich), a venereal disease of cattle that causes early embryonic death resulting in production losses due to decreased calf crops and repeat breeding. In 2009, the Texas cattle industry requested TAHC establish a regulatory program to address the disease. The TAHC formed the Bovine Trichomoniasis Working Group (Working Group), which meets at least annually to evaluate the program and make recommendations to TAHC for regulatory changes.
Since its formation in 2009, the Working Group has discussed the role female cattle play in the maintenance and transmission of the disease. This year, the Working Group is considering recommendations to TAHC regarding potential regulatory changes to address this risk. This is an important development in the Trich program as Texas' rules to date have focused on bulls only. Due to the significance of this development your feedback regarding female cattle Trich regulations is requested.
While it is commonly stated that most cows and heifers will clear Trich infection with 120 or more days of sexual rest, the Working Group recognized the detrimental impact of females not clearing the infection and potentially spreading the disease. In making its recommendations, the Working Group considered the lack of a reliable Trich test for females, and also recognized the critical role producer and veterinary education and outreach plays in the success of a disease control program.
The 2017 TAHC Bovine Trichomoniasis Working Group recommendations follow:
1. Restrict female cattle in Trich positive herds for the period of time the bulls in the herd are under quarantine. TAHC field staff and epidemiologists shall review individual cases to determine which cows and heifers should be restricted.
2. Development of educational materials focusing on the role cows and heifers play in maintenance of the disease within a herd, and in spreading the disease to bulls in other herds if moved or sold for breeding. 
The Working Group understands that restricting the movement of females only while bulls are quarantined will not prevent infected females from spreading the disease once that quarantine is released. However, the Working Group recognized that limiting female restrictions to the length of the bull's quarantine is a manageable first step that emphasizes the role female cattle play in controlling the disease in Texas.
It is important to note that this Working Group recommendation is not a current rule proposal. TAHC is seeking your valuable input as an individual interested in the health of Texas' cattle herd. Any response will be considered by the Trich Working Group at their next meeting.
To provide feedback, please email comments@tahc.texas.gov and include "Trich and Female Cattle Feedback" in the subject line of your email.  Please submit feedback by Oct. 1, 2017.
The TAHC appreciates your time, consideration and comments regarding the Working Group's female cattle recommendations. Visit the user-friendly website www.tahc.state.tx.us to learn more about the Texas Animal Health Commission.