Wyoming State Veterinarian discusses brucellosis, trich and livestock identificationWritten by Christy Martinez
“The only real changes with brucellosis and trich are where they are this year,” said Logan of the diseases that continue to plague Wyoming livestock.
“Since 2010 we’ve had five cases of brucellosis, one of those being an ‘almost’ case, where one cow out of a couple hundred in Sublette County showed up positive,” said Logan. “All the other cases turned up in Park County in late 2010.”
One of the Park County cases showed up in a group of heifers that were being sold as breeding stock near Meeteetse.
“According to our rules, any sexually intact female sold for breeding has to be tested, but there are many underage heifers that get sold for feeding and circumvent the rule, though we know they’ll end up in a breeding herd,” said Logan. “Our main rule is that any cattle 18 months and older have to be tested, and had this group of heifers not been tested, it would have created a mess someplace, whether in Wyoming or in another state. They would have gone through without being detected, until someone ended up with a case of brucellosis in their cowherd, and it would have been a bigger mess if it had happened to one of our trading partners. That’s when brucellosis testing becomes a trade issue.”
“All of the brucellosis cases we’ve had in Wyoming, going clear back to the Parker Land and Livestock case in 1988, have been shown to come from an elk source,” noted Logan. “We’re still struggling to get anything done to control it in elk, or even in wild bison.”
Logan mentioned that the Brucellosis Designated Surveillance Area (DSA) was expanded somewhat in April 2011 to encompass all of Park County, a small part of Hot Springs County and more land in southern Lincoln County. Although conflict surrounded that decision, Logan said, “We have to protect marketability of all Wyoming’s cattle, not just those in the DSA.”
Interstate ID is coming
“Interstate movement of livestock will affect everyone – cattle, sheep, horses and poultry,” said Logan. “Sometime in spring or summer, USDA will put out a rule that will, in all likelihood, require at least breeding cattle to have an official ID prior to moving across state lines.”
“Horses will not be exempt from the new rule. Brands will work to some extent, but USDA will probably go with something like the L Form for Wyoming’s brand inspection program, which is the lifetime,” said Logan, noting that digital photos or microchips could be used in conjunction.
Trich remains a problem
“The main reason to talk about trich this year is that it continues to be a problem,” said Logan of the disease that continues to plague Uinta and Lincoln counties, in particular.
“Uinta County has had trich in the same area for the last four years, and it’s difficult to get it cleared up,” said Logan. “The people in Uinta County have suggested that the Wyoming Livestock Board should require a test on every bull in that county, and I agree, but I don’t think the Board will do it.”
Logan said he has recommended a couple times to the Board that, since trich is circulating around the state, every bull should be tested one time.
“In the last 10 years we’ve found trich in every county but three, and testing every bull one time would help us find the isolated pockets where it keeps popping up, and maybe we could get it cleaned up,” he said.