Johne's disease is a chronic debilitating disease that affects the intestinal tracts of cattle, sheep and goats.
Many animals in a herd may be affected by the disease, but it is usually less than five per cent of the herd that develop clinical signs. Seemingly unaffected animals can still spread the disease to healthy animals by shedding bacteria.
Parasitism, stress and poor nutrition can cause infected animals to begin to display clinical signs. Once an animal develops clinical disease it will eventually die.
There is currently no treatment available for Johne's disease.
Johne's disease is difficult to detect because of its long incubation period. Many animals in a herd may be infected before any clinical signs emerge.
The purchase of infected animals is the primary way in which herds become infected.
To combat Johne's disease, the Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture has developed the Johne's Disease Surveillance Program.
The purpose of the Johne's Disease Surveillance Program is to provide funding for cattle producers who wish to test their herd(s) to find out if any cattle have been infected with Johne's disease.
Testing costs are covered by the program in order to:
- Detect the disease; and
- Ensure appropriate management strategies are implemented.
If a cattle producer enrols in the Johne's Disease Surveillance Program, an examination of his or her herd(s) will take place.
This examination entails a blood test of every mature cow and bull in the herd. If Johne's disease is discovered, a veterinarian will complete a Johne's disease risk assessment plan and develop a customized management plan.
The identity of program participants and individual test results will be kept confidential.
Costs eligible for reimbursement
The costs covered by the Johne’s Disease Surveillance Program include:
- veterinary fees for blood collection;
- laboratory testing of blood;
- blood sample shipping; and
- veterinary fees for risk assessment and customized management plan development.
Any cattle producer residing in Saskatchewan is encouraged to apply for the Johne's Disease Surveillance Program.
Enrollment is first come, first serve and funding is limited so apply early.
The Saskatchewan Stock Growers Association is the administrator of this program.
To apply for the Johne's Disease Surveillance Program, please contact:
Saskatchewan Stock Growers Association