Dairy producers who have culled one or more animals for unresponsive chronic diarrhea combined with reduced milk production and thin condition might want to learn more about Johne’s disease — and find out if their herds are infected with Johne’s disease. A good source of information about Johne’s disease is a recently released 16-page brochure that is free to dairy and beef producers and veterinarians.

The new brochure describes how animals become infected with the organism that causes Johne’s disease, details measures producers can take to help prevent and control Johne’s disease and explains herd testing strategies. The brochure, which is underwritten by USDA-APHIS-VS and produced by the National Johne’s Education Initiative overseen by the National Institute for Animal Agriculture, is science based and written in producer language.

“Johne’s disease is a slow and progressive bacterial disease of the intestinal tract that affects ruminants and is caused by the bacterium Mycobaterium avium paratuberculosis,” says Micheal Carter, National Johne’s Disease Control program coordinator, National Center for Animal Health Programs, USDA-APHIS-VS. “It causes significant economic loss for producers whose animals have the disease, and the goal of every producer should be to prevent getting it on their farm if they don’t have it or control the disease to reduce the economic impact in herds with the disease.”

Johne’s disease is estimated to be present in 68 percent of U.S. dairy operations. A National Animal Health Monitoring Systems study found that infected dairy herds experience an average loss of $40 per cow in herds with a low Johne’s disease clinical cull rate while herds with a high Johne’s disease clinical cull rate lost on average of $227 per cow. This loss was due to reduced milk production, early culling and poor body condition at culling.

Johne’s experts agree that the incidence of Johne’s in dairy herds can be reduced significantly when producers know about Johne’s disease and implement measures — including testing — to control the disease-causing organism.

More information.

Or call the National Institute for Animal Agriculture at (719) 538-8843.

Source: National Institute for Animal Agriculture