USDA scientists discover how FMD virus begins infection in cattle

U.S. Department of Agriculture scientists have identified the primary site where the virus that causes foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) begins infection in cattle. This discovery could lead to development of new vaccines to control and potentially eradicate FMD, a highly contagious and sometimes fatal viral disease of cloven-hoofed animals that is considered the most economically devastating livestock disease in the world. Read more >>

TAHC adopts revisions to Texas’ cattle trich program

source: Texas Animal Health Commission

The Texas Animal Health Commission (TAHC) adopted revisions to Texas’ cattle trichomoniasis program during the quarterly Commission Meeting on Oct. 5. Bovine trichomoniasis, or trich, is a venereal disease found in cattle, but does not affect humans or other livestock.

Infected bulls carry the organism and transmit it to female cattle through breeding. Cows may abort early in their pregnancy and become temporarily infertile. Infected cows, given sexual rest, may clear the disease, but infected bulls are considered lifetime carriers and transmitters. Cattle producers can lose valuable income from extended breeding seasons and diminished calf crops.

Infected bulls continue to appear and act normal. Only testing by a veterinary practitioner will confirm the presence or absence of the disease.

Revisions to the current regulations are:

  • A negative cattle trichomoniasis test will now be valid for 60 days provided that the bull is kept separate from female cattle during that time. The test may also be transferred within that time frame with the original signature of the consignor.
  • A virgin certificate is now valid for 60 days provided that the bull is kept separate from female cattle. A virgin certificate may also be transferred within that timeframe with the original signature of the consignor.
  • Revised entry requirements now exempt out-of-state breeding bulls from an entry trich test if they come from a Certified Semen Service (CSS) artificial insemination facility where they are isolated from female cattle. The bulls must be accompanied by documents with an original signature by the veterinarian or manager of the facility.
  • Revised regulations now allow untested, non-virgin Texas bulls to be sold and moved to a trich-certified feedlot prior to slaughter. Under previous regulations, untested, non-virgin bulls were allowed to be sold only for direct movement to slaughter. This change does not apply to non-Texas origin bulls. Producers may also still purchase untested bulls for movement under a TAHC-issued hold order /permit to a location away from female cattle, where the bull is to be tested for trich.
  • Commission veterinarians will now notify producers by letter when an infected bull is identified on an adjacent premise. Neighbors will not be required to test. They will only be informed of the situation.

Herd owners are encouraged to contact their veterinarian to discuss management of trich-infected herds. Producers may contact their regional TAHC offices or visit the TAHC website at for more information.

You may also visit TSCRA’s Educational Resources webpage here for more trich information.

Protect your herd from shipping fever

Calves with drooping head or ears, a cough and nasal discharge and refusal to eat or drink—these are just some of the signs to watch for as you wean calves and receive stocker cattle this fall. These symptoms and others could indicate that bovine respiratory disease (BRD), also referred to as shipping fever, has infected a single animal or your entire herd. BRD can be a costly proposition for cattle producers—not only from the perspective of the dollars spent on treatment, but also from its effect on the performance of cattle. The disease often results in lower average daily gains and reduced feed efficiency. read more

Producers urged to participate in updated National Johne’s Disease Control Program


Dairy and beef producers and bovine veterinarians are encouraged to check out the revised Uniform Program Standards for the Voluntary Bovine Johne’s Disease Control Program developed by USDA in conjunction with the U.S. Animal Health Association that went into effect Sept 1.

The good news for producers and veterinarians is that the updated Control Program is less cumbersome, has 3 levels of producer involvement and has an easier-to-understand-and-follow system for classifying herds that have a lower risk of transmitting Mycobacterium avium paratuberculosis (MAP), the bacteria known to cause Johne’s disease.

“All producers participating in the revised Voluntary Bovine Johne’s Disease Control Program will start with the education component, then they can choose whether to proceed to the management component that incorporates best management practices or move on to the classification component that incorporates best management strategies and testing,” said Dr. Michael Carter, National Johne’s Disease Control Program coordinator, National Center for Animal Health Programs, USDA-APHIS-VS.

“This is a progressive program, and producers can determine their level of involvement. The more producers know about and test for Johne’s disease, the better for them and their customers,” he said.

When asked why dairy and beef producers should participate in the Voluntary Bovine Johne’s Disease Control Program,  Carter stressed that the incidence of Johne’s disease in dairy and beef herds can be reduced significantly when producers know about Johne’s disease and implement measures—including testing—to reduce the transmission of MAP. He pointed out that Johne’s disease is estimated to be present in 68 percent of U.S. dairy operations and eight out of 100 U.S. beef herds.

A National Animal Health Monitoring Systems study found that infected dairy herds experience an average loss of $40 per cow in herds with a low Johne’s disease clinical cull rate while herds with a high Johne’s disease clinical cull rate lost on average of $227 per cow. Beef cows clinically infected with Johne’s disease produce less milk, resulting in lighter calves at weaning and infected cows can be slower to breed back.

“The most significant change in the updated Voluntary Bovine Johne’s Disease Control Program is the new 6-level testing classification system,” added Dr. Elisabeth Patton, chairman of U.S. Animal Health Association’s Johne’s Disease Committee. “Producers who participate in the testing component of the Program will find a new 6-level classification system that has specific criteria for different sizes of herds: 1-99 head, 100-199 head, 200-299 head and more than 300 head. A significant amount of thought and work went into the development of this new 6-level classification system to address concerns with the previous system and to improve the accuracy of herd classification.”

To learn more about Johne’s disease or to read the revised Uniform Program Standards for the Voluntary Bovine Johne’s Disease Control Program—September 2010 in full, go to

Producers are also encouraged to contact their state-designated Johne’s Coordinator (DJC). A list of state DJCs is provided at