Recommended Best Management Practices for Control of Johne's Disease
The overall objective of a JD management plan is to reduce the prevalence of JD on the farm by preventing exposure to infected animals and a contaminated environment. The following is a list of optimum management practices from a disease control perspective. These will not be possible or cost-effective on all farms—producers will benefit from implementing procedures based on risks identified on their individual farms.
Prevent infected animals from entering the herd by:
• Maintaining a closed herd:
· introduce genetics by using frozen semen or embryos.
If it is necessary to purchase animals, you should:
• Know the history of the herd you are buying from:
· buyer beware applies to JD as not all herds are aware of their JD status;
· ask about history or suspicion of JD.
• Pre-test mature cow purchases:
· there is the potential for infected animals to test negative but this is better
than testing heifers (who rarely test positive even if infected) or doing
• Buy from test negative herds:
· pick herds that have a JD status the same or better than your own.
• Pre-test 30 animals from the herd of origin to estimate their infection status:
· select second lactation or older animals to test.
Decrease the exposure of newborns to contaminated manure in the maternity area by:
• Having dedicated maternity pens that are separate from hospital pens and
keeping the pens clean, dry and very well-bedded:
· if you kneel on bedding and your knee is wet after 25 seconds, add more
· reduce the rate of manure contamination by keeping cow numbers low in the
· consider all manure infective and remove it as soon as possible.
• Bedding routinely between calvings:
· remove old and/or wet bedding before re-bedding.
• Never allowing animals suspected of having JD (ill, test positive or suspect
animals) in the calving area.
Prevent ingestion of manure by calves in the maternity area by:
• Removing calves from the pen within 30 minutes of birth, moving them to an
area that has never held cows.
• Not letting the calf search for the udder or allowing it to nurse.
• Clipping and cleaning (with soap, water and drying) the cow’s udder and teats
prior to calving.
Feed colostrum unlikely to contain the JD bacteria (MAP) by:
• Feeding only the colostrum from a single cow to a single calf;
do not feed pooled colostrum.
• Feeding colostrum from test-negative cows;
set up a bank of frozen colostrum collected from recent test negative animals.
• Preventing manure contamination of colostrum during collection by utensils, hands and/or during storage.
Feed milk unlikely to contain the JD bacteria by:
• Only feeding calves milk from recent test-negative cows.
• Substituting a good quality milk replacer for whole milk.
• Pasteurizing milk on-farm.
Decrease exposure of calves to manure in calf housing area by:
• Housing calves in a facility or location separate from cows or older heifers.
• Separating calves and cows located in the same facility by distance (buffer
• Not allowing runoff from manure or pens to enter the calf area.
• Not allowing any contact with manure or manure storage.
• Not entering the calf area after walking through cow manure—wear clean boots
and use clean equipment before entering the calf area.
• Preventing manure contamination of feed by splattering from cows or equipment.
Raise uninfected replacements by:
• Not keeping replacement heifers from dams showing clinical signs of JD.
• Aggressively managing replacements born to test-positive cows by removing the
calf within 30 minutes of birth and feeding low-risk colostrum.
• Raising heifers off-site at a heifer raising facility.
• Not raising replacements from a herd with a high prevalence of JD until the level
of disease in the mature cows has declined to a level agreed upon by the owner
and the herd veterinarian.
Prevent exposure to infected animals and manure by:
• Housing replacements in a separate facility or by separating them from the cows
by distance within the same barn.
• Locating replacements upstream of manure runoff.
• Not co-mingling replacements with adults (such as bred heifers with dry cows).
Prevent contamination of feed with JD bacteria by:
• Using separate equipment for feeding and manure handling.
• Not using common mangers/bunks for replacements and mature animals.
• Not walking through feed areas/mangers with dirty boots.
• Cleaning manure out of mangers/bunks.
• Keeping animals out of mangers/bunks.
• Not allowing heifers to graze a pasture the same season after manure application.
Prevent contamination of water with the JD bacteria (MAP) by:
• Not using common waterers for replacements and mature animals.
• Cleaning manure out of waterers.
• Preventing manure build-up around waterers.
• Preventing access to natural water or wet areas that collect manure or runoff
Eliminate high-risk animals by:
• Separating and culling clinical animals as soon as possible:
· sell to slaughter.
Manage JD test-positive animals (infected but not showing signs of illness) by:
• Visibly identifying test positive animals.
• Targeting to cull animals when economically feasible.
• Designating cows as Do Not Breed.
• Grouping cows in high prevalence herds according to test results:
· keep test-positives separate from test-negative or low risk cows.
• Keeping clinical, test positive or suspect animals off pasture.