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Cow Management

Dairy cows eating

Your herd management strategy centres around three important concepts:

1. This is not a short term project; controlling Johne's will take time - usually years - and effort.

2. Always act to prevent the opportunity for new infections to occur.

3. Whenever possible, eliminate sources of infection.

Cattle with Johne's disease are likely to be producing very large numbers of MAP bacteria - exposing other animals within the herd to infection.   

Adult animals infected with MAP must be identified and managed to ensure no young animals are exposed to their milk or manure.

Testing is the only means by which you can identify animals infected with MAP.  If you take the decision to test, you are effectively buying information so prior to receiving your test results, you must have a plan in place to be able to react to the information you receive.  You may be able to afford to cull one or two animals that have tested positive but what if you get a dozen?   And how will you manage animals that have returned an "inconclusive" or "suspicious" result?   

Isolating test positives gives you the opportunity to allow a test positive animal to rear a  calf or complete a lactation whilst reducing the risk of spreading infection through the main herd. The isolation field or shed - and the manure associated with the latter - will carry a high Johne's risk. 

Culling offspring of test positive cows. The highest risk of infection follows family lines: daughters of infected cows have a greater likelihood of being infected than do daughters of non-infected cows.  If culling offspring of test positive cows is not an option, then at the very least don't retain them for future breeding.