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BACKGROUND: Tritrichomonas foetus is a sexually transmitted protozoon that causes reproductive failure, among cattle, so disruptive that many western US states have initiated control programs. Current control programs are based on the testing and exclusion of individual bulls. Unfortunately, these programs are utilizing screening tests that are lacking in sensitivity. Blanket treatment of all the exposed bulls and adequate sexual rest for the exposed cows could provide a more viable disease control option. The objectives of this study were twofold. The first objective was to demonstrate effectiveness for metronidazole treatment of a bull under ideal conditions and with an optimized treatment regime. This type of study with a single subject is often referred to as an n-of-1 or single subject clinical trial. The second objective of the current study was to review the scientific basis for the banning of metronidazole for use in Food Animals by the Animal Medicinal Drug Use Clarification Act of 1994 (AMDUCA). RESULTS: Results from an antimicrobial assay indicated that metronidazole at a concentration of 0.5g/mL successfully eliminated in vitro protozoal growth of bovine Tritrichomonas foetus. The estimated effective intravenous dose was two treatments with 60mg/kg metronidazole, 24h apart. A bull that had tested positive for Tritrichomonas foetus culture at weekly intervals for 5 weeks prior to treatment was negative for Tritrichomonas foetus culture at weekly intervals for five consecutive weeks following this treatment regimen. An objective evaluation of the published evidence on the potential public health significance of using metronidazole to treat Tritrichomonas foetus in bulls provides encouragement for veterinarians and regulators to consider approaches that might lead to permitting the legal use of metronidazole in bulls. CONCLUSION: The study demonstrated successful inhibition of Tritrichomonas foetus both in vitro and in vivo with metronidazole. The current status of metronidazole is that the Animal Medicinal Drug Use Clarification Act of 1994 prohibits its extra-label use in food-producing animals. Veterinarians and regulators should consider approaches that might lead to permitting the legal use of metronidazole in bulls.
author list (cited authors)
Love, D., Fajt, V. R., Hairgrove, T., Jones, M., & Thompson, J. A