We started the process of Trich testing all of our bulls a few weeks ago, and we finished it up this week. Where we operate it is mandatory for us to Trich test our bulls every year. We haven’t had any issues with it, but it doesn’t hurt to be sure.
What is Trich?
Trichomoniasis (Trich) is an STD that cattle can carry. Trich is caused by a tiny protozoan parasite. An infected bull can be a carrier for the rest of his life, but cows can usually get rid of it within a few months which is why bulls are considered the main carriers. Infected bulls pass it along to 30% – 90% of the cattle that they breed. This is a problem because when a cow gets Trich it can cause her to abort her calf or leave her unable to carry calves anymore. Since ranchers depend on calves being born to stay in business, you can see why Trich can be such an issue.
How do we test for Trich?
We spend one day on each unit of the ranch testing bulls. The cowboy crew will gather up all of the bulls on their unit and bring them into to the testing site. We have a veterinarian travel out and we will run all of the bulls through a chute one at a time so that the vet can test them. The vet will take a swab off of the bull and send it to a lab for testing. While the vet is working, we will also be collecting data on the bulls. Each bull that is Trich tested gets a new ear tag with a Trich number on it. We will record the Trich number, the bull’s EID, the bull’s ranch tag, and the origin of the bull. This helps us to keep a list of what bulls we have on different areas of the ranch.