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For over 30 years, Dr. Robert Carson and Dr. Dwight Wolfe have conducted research in reproduction of farm animals. Together they have mentored over 40 graduate students and clinical residents who earned advanced degrees and specialty board status. Today those graduates hold leadership positions in private veterinary practice, academic institutions, government agencies, and veterinary pharmaceutical industries. Food animal research at Auburn has global implications on food animal health and production.
The research of Drs. Carson and Wolfe focuses on traits that are economically important to livestock producers while ensuring animal well-being and productivity.
Their current research targets trichomoniasis, a venereal disease of cattle. Caused by the protozoon Tritrichomonas foetus, trichomoniasis is economically devastating to the U. S. cattle industry with losses estimated to exceed $650 million annually. Since 1999 at least 17 states have enacted rules requiring testing and slaughter of bulls infected with the disease and banning entry of bulls that are not virgin or test negative. Numerous foreign countries ban importation of semen from infected bulls.
Recent studies evaluated the prevalence of trichomoniasis in Alabama as well as the microscopic anatomy of reproductive tissues of bulls as they relate to survival of the organism in infected bulls.
There are no legal drugs available for treatment of this infection in cattle in the United States. Additional studies are assessing novel compounds as well as a commercially available vaccine for treatment of infected bulls. Studies continue on the pathophysiology of this disease.