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Why should you worry about Johne’s disease?

Johne’s disease is an animal health priority for the Canadian dairy industry. These bacteria affect the gastro-intestinal tract of livestock, slowing down nutrient absorption and bringing about a drop in milk production. These animals also suffer from a reduced conception rate, and the number of culled animals is increasing. In general, Johne’s disease is a silent illness; infected animals do not show any visible signs, although some may have diarrhea in the advanced stages of the illness. The bacteria are mainly propagated by mature cows that infect their calves through their manure, colostrum or milk.

Economic Aspects

Johne’s disease prevention could improve your net profit. Infected cows produce less milk, are more difficult to breed, and have a higher cull rate.
Johne’s disease can also have consequences on market opportunities for heifer sales1. Infected cows eat just as much, but produce between 1 and 4 kg less milk per day than the other cows in the herd, even before any symptoms appear. The calving to conception interval is longer in infected cows. In herds that test positive, the cull rates, replacement costs and veterinarian bills are higher.

 1Réf. : Dr Greg Keefe, Atlantic Veterinary College and University of Prince Edward Island