UNDATED (KTHV) -- Livestock officials are testing cattle for a sexually-transmitted disease that can cause heifers to abort.
A new statewide standard within Arkansas' cattle industry has placed new mandates on those hoping to sell cattle. It will require that all bulls being sold be tested for Trichomoniasis which is a sexually transmitted disease, that attacks the uterus of a female cow.
"Once a positive Trichomoniasis bull is to breed cow, within about 40 days she would abort," says Adam McClung of the Arkansas Cattleman's Association.
As McClung mentioned, the STD is passed from the bull to a cow, but unlike the female, the male has no way of removing it from its body.
Which is why officials say should a bull test positive, they will be slaughtered immediately.
"It is not a new disease in the cattle industry, but it is a new disease to Arkansas," says Dr. Tom Troxel, an animal scientist with the University of Arkansas.
Troxel says the disease spreads west to east, "Next thing you know when it comes calfing time, instead of having a 90 percent calf crop you have a 50 percent calf crop and that would be an economic disaster for the cattle producer," says Troxel.
Both industry officials and experts say the disease will not affect the products that consumers buy, but say if the issue is addressed immediately could cost producers thousands.
"You can rest assure that that product is safe, holsom and it's going to be a quality product," says McClung.
While the testing will only be required for the next four months, industry officials hope to create a permanent fix, including drawing up legislation for state lawmakers to consider.