We have a new member, plus some good guidance for upcoming equine events

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board of animal health

Animal Bytes

May 2021

Bovine Trichomoniasis found in Southwest Minnesota


Trichomoniasis (Trich) is a venereal disease of cattle caused by a protozoal infection with Tritrichomonas foetus. Trich can result in production losses and should be a differential in cattle herds using natural service breeding with infertility and abortion problems.

Bulls are asymptomatic carriers. Older bulls are higher risk of being chronic carriers and can introduce Trich to your herd; younger bulls can transmit infection between cows once introduced. Consider purchasing / introducing virgin bulls for breeding. If purchasing / introducing non-virgin bulls to your herd for breeding, request your veterinarian test each individually 3-4 weeks before the breeding season and only use test negative bulls. Sharing or leasing bulls may be a risk if the bulls have not been tested negative for Trich.

Keeping fences in good repair can prevent bulls from visiting your cow herd and your bulls from visiting other cow herds. There is no treatment for this disease. Bulls testing positive should be culled, along with any open cows from herds where infection is found. Work with your herd veterinarian if you have questions about Trich risks or if you are having fertility issues in your herd.

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Help your horses live up to the old saying, "Healthy as a horse!"

Spring has sprung and as summer approaches we are entering one of the favorite seasons in the equine world. Warmer weather welcomes the foaling and breeding seasons for most breeds, trails are opening for exploring, and the show season is upon us.

COVID-19 restrictions are being lifted steadily and we can expect equestrian gatherings to once again approach pre-pandemic levels. As with any time animals or people congregate in large groups, we should anticipate the potential for spread of equine diseases to be on the rise. With limited exposure to outside horses over the previous year, we have created a somewhat naïve equine population with regards to communal diseases normally exchanged in the activities and events that bring horses together.

With that in mind, the Minnesota Board of Animal Health would like to encourage horse owners to develop proactive strategies, with their veterinarians, to combat and prevent the spread of disease in our Minnesota horses and keep them healthy all season.  Considerations to discuss with your veterinarian include:

  • Vaccinations
    • Which ones are appropriate for my horses?
    • When were they last done?
    • When is the best time to booster?
  • Deworming
    • Is it necessary?
    • What testing might help determine the need?
    • What products work best for my situation?
  • Hoof care
    • How often do I need my horses trimmed?
    • Do my horses need shoes?
    • Can lameness be corrected with trimming/shoeing?
  • Nutrition
    • How much forage do I need to provide for my horse?
    • Does diet affect overall health and immune response in horses?
    • Has my horse’s diet changed since the last time we discussed it?

With adventures and competitions expanding beyond our borders, review horse travel requirements for states of destination as well as for returning to Minnesota. In general, the following minimum import requirements apply to most states, but you need to verify with them to determine if additional restrictions apply:

  • Negative Coggin’s Test dated within the previous 12 months.
  • Certificate of Veterinary Inspection dated within the previous 30 days.

Keep Canine Brucellosis on your radar

Canine Brucellosis (B. canis) is considered to be a lifelong infection with potential health and welfare impacts to the animal. Long courses of antibiotics are not curative and are expensive. Because of this, many dogs that are diagnosed post-adoption are euthanized at the decision of the new owner.

The zoonotic risk of B. canis is not fully understood and diagnosis of B. canis in humans is difficult. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates the disease is therefore likely underdiagnosed. For these reasons, consideration must be given to the management of disease risk to humans.

This bacterium is mainly transmitted by nose/mouth contact with vaginal discharge or birthing fluids from an infected female. Semen, urine, feces, and nasal/ocular secretions can also be risks for transmission and puppies can become infected from their mother during pregnancy.

Similar to the disease in humans and other brucella species, B. canis in dogs is difficult to diagnose. Multiple serological (antibody) testing options are available with different diagnostic limitations. Culture (attempting to grow the bacteria in a lab) is also available but variation in bacterial shedding by an individual dog makes a negative culture result difficult to interpret. As a result, several factors must be considered when interpreting test results including compatible clinical signs, sterility, sex, history of exposure to other positive animals/history of residence in a high-risk area.

Client education about the zoonotic risk is of high importance. While human infections are not common, people who have a compromised immune systems, young children, pregnant women, or persons with artificial heart valves are at risk of severe disease if they acquire the infection.

New member appointed to the Board

Dr. Jessica Koppien-Fox was appointed to the Board of Animal Health on May 5, 2021. She has been appointed to the position formerly held by Dr. Matt Anderson as a veterinarian member of the Board. Dr. Koppien-Fox received her veterinary degree from the University of Minnesota and she resides in Marshall, Minnesota.