When a Conifer man posted an ad on Craigslist after discovering two wayward cows lurking on his property, it highlighted a problem of cows cruising for love: Many local bulls have Trichomoniasis, or “trich,” a bovine venereal disease.
Keith Roehr, the state veterinarian, tells The Associated Press that trich rose in recent years due to a “perfect storm” of factors, including drought, which has spurred cattle re-locations, and low levels of testing. Cow cruising was also a problem after blizzards knocked down fences.
Trich doesn’t affect meat, but it does hit ranchers’ wallets in a state that is ranked fifth for production. One study suggests that infections cost $143 per cow in a 300-cow herd, or nearly $43,000. Last year, 43 Colorado cattle houses in 18 counties were quarantined to prevent bulls from transmitting disease.
But the numbers are finally starting to trend down. This year, just 13 facilities in eight counties were quarantined. Roehr chalks up the change to awareness on the part of ranchers and more testing. Bad news for cruising bulls: Because no vaccines are available to prevent the spread of trich, ranchers are turning to artificial insemination and virgin bulls to control it.