A dairy herd in the state of Washington recently received some unwelcome news during its investigation into the causes of some pyometras in cows (cows with a pus-filled uterus and a corpus luteum on an ovary). Samples were sent by the veterinarian to the diagnostic lab and came back positive for trichomoniasis.

“Although we know that there have been infected beef bulls in the state, this is the first that we know of infected dairy animals in Washington,” says Dale Moore, director of veterinary medicine extension at Washington State University.
 
Trichomoniasis is a venereal disease of cattle and is transmitted to cows by infected bulls. Bulls do not show any signs of disease and carry the single-celled organisms in deep crypts in the prepuce. Infected cows will be infertile or abort and can serve as a reservoir for uninfected bulls to become infected. Although infected cows can be identified by laboratory testing, most will clear the trichomonas infection over a number of months.

Thus, prevention and eradication of the disease is primarily focused upon laboratory testing and culling of infected bulls. All bulls entering the herd should be tested. Samples from bulls should be taken in a very specific way so as to not miss any infected bulls, says Moore. 

Veterinarians in Washington must be certified by training from state department of agriculture veterinarians or by participating in Washington State University’s on-line course on trichomonas testing. Check with your state department of agriculture to learn of any specific requirements in your state.

Access the course for veterinarians and additional information on trichomoniaisis. 
 
If you are a dairy or beef cattle producer and have any cows with pyometra or suspect a fertility problem in your cows, contact your veterinarian, recommends Moore.

Veterinarians can send uterine fluid samples and preputial scrapings to Washington State University’s Washington Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory.

Source: Washington State University