At the National Institute for Animal Agriculture and the U.S. Animal Health Association's Trichomoniasis Standards Forum held earlier this month in Omaha, Neb., veterinarians, beef industry leaders and research personnel gathered to discuss best options for disease management.
More than 140 industry stakeholders attended the forum, where they discussed ways to improve harmonization of trich control methods among states. Trichomoniasis is a venereal cattle disease.
Dr. Carl Heckendorf, co-chair of the forum, said most states have a trich control program in place, are formulating a program or are interested in developing a program.
"While we realize a one-size-fits-all program won't work, the consensus is that standardization—or at least harmonization—of state regulations, collection of samples prior to shipping, shipping and handling of samples and laboratory procedures can help eliminate confusion and benefit all involved."
In addition to agreeing that elements of a trich control program must be based on science coupled with practical application, Forum attendees pinpointed several areas where harmonization among states could have significant value:
• Test results being valid for 60 days as long as a bull has not been exposed to breeding-age females.
• Using PCR as the defining test, knowing new test methods may broaden accepted test method.
• Approving the pooling of samples in the laboratory.
• Defining "virgin status/age," with 24-month-old virgin bulls as a starting point for further discussions.
• Developing standards for the shipping of samples, including acceptable temperature range and maximum time frame parameters from collection to in the hands of the laboratory.
• Veterinarian certification regarding the collection of samples.
• Management of infected cows—from movement to communication with markets.
• Follow-up with infected herds.
• Increased collaboration among diagnostic laboratories.
Forum co-chair Dr. Bud Dinges, clinical assistant professor at Texas A&M University, stressed that items discussed at the forum represent starting points for further discussion—and new topics could be yet introduced.
"That said, areas that have been confusing to individuals were identified, and states showed an overwhelming desire to keep dialogues going," Dinges said. "And we all recognize that, for any trichomoniasis control program to be successful, it must be stakeholder friendly and stakeholder driven and the state must have the infrastructure to carry it out."
Trich forum presentations are available online at www.animalagriculture.org.