ABOUT: Johne’s disease (pronounced “yo-knees”) is a contagious, chronic and usually fatal infection that affects primarily the small intestine of the ruminants. Large (cattle) and small (sheep and goats) ruminants are susceptible to Johne’s disease. Johne’s disease is caused by Mycobacterium Avium Subspecies Paratuberculosis.
SYMPTOMS: Signs are rarely evident until two or more years after the initial infection, which usually occurs shortly after birth. The signs are long-lasting diarrhea and weight loss despite a good appetite. In goats, diarrhea is less common. Because the symptoms are common with other diseases, the only way to confirm Johne’s disease is through lab testing.
PREVENTION: Since there is no cure for Johne’s disease, control of the infection is crucial. Control of Johne’s disease takes time and a strong commitment to management practices focused on keeping young animals away from contaminated manure, milk, feed, and water.
GETTING TESTED: Cattle, sheep, and goats blood can be tested for this disease. At least 3mL of whole blood should be collected in a “red top” vacuum tube. Samples should be refrigerated after collection and be shipped with an ice pack and tested within 2 weeks of the collection date.
Johne’s samples are processed and results reported on Thursdays.