Dairy and beef producers and their veterinarians who want to help prevent or control Johne’s disease in their herds often ask where they should start with the process. The answer: Begin by conducting an on-farm risk assessment, then develop and follow a management plan specific to the farm.
Three recently updated handbooks—“Handbook for Veterinarians and Dairy Producers,” “Handbook for Veterinarians and Beef Producers” and “How to do Risk Assessments and Develop Management Plans for Johne’s Disease”—are available for dairy and beef producers and their veterinarians who are serious about addressing Johne’s disease and stopping the financial drain of this devastating disease. This fourth edition of the handbooks reflect the USDA’s updated Program Standards for the Voluntary Bovine Johne’s Disease Control Program and are significantly more user friendly.
“The team in charge of developing the 2011 edition of the handbooks brainstormed long and hard to develop easy-to-comprehend and easy-to-complete information and forms, and I think all three handbooks are homeruns,” said Elisabeth Patton, chairman of U.S. Animal Health Association’s Johne’s Disease Committee.
Patton explains that the handbooks are for use by veterinarians with dairy and beef clients to improve biosecurity and reduce pathogens, particularly Mycobacterium avium paratuberculosis or MAP, the bacteria known to cause Johne’s disease. The “how to do risk assessments and develop management plans” handbook is a companion piece to the other two.
“Together the three handbooks are a veterinarian’s manual to help dairy and beef producers reduce or prevent Johne’s disease in their herds,” Patton said. “That said, many of the management practices developed to address Johne’s disease should help reduce the presence of other pathogens as well.”
The “Handbook for Veterinarians and Dairy Producers” is short and to the point: one page is devoted to “current herd health status and concerns” while the remaining six pages address risk assessment and management recommendations related to calving area, pre-weaned heifer calves, post-weaned heifers, bred heifers, cows and bulls, and replacements and additions. The “Handbook for Veterinarians and Beef Producers” has just eight pages: one page for recording “current herd health status and concerns” and six pages dedicated to risk assessment and management recommendations related to calving area, nursing calves, weaned heifers and bulls, bred heifers and yearling bulls, cows and bulls, and replacements and additions.
The 23-page “How to do Risk Assessments and Develop Management Plans for Johne’s Disease” goes more in depth and covers seven key steps to helps reduce or prevent Johne’s disease. Step 1–collect information on current herd health status and production; Step 2—Collect history, owner goals and biosecurity data and estimate Johne’s disease prevalence; Step 3—Assess risks for transmitting Johne’s disease among specific animal groups, with descriptive guidelines for scoring risk factors for dairy herds or beef herds; Step 4—Consider Johne’s disease management efforts will benefit and integrate with other health and performance issues; Step 5—Select critical management practices to include in the management plan; Step 6—Build the elements of a testing strategy; and Step 7—Do a reality check. Will the plan work? Plan to monitor it.
The Fourth Edition. 2011, of the three handbooks were developed by National Johne’s Disease Education Initiative and approved for distribution by the Johne’s Disease Committee of the United States Animal Health Association (USAHA), the National Johne’s Working Group and the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), Veterinary Services (VS).
PDF’s of the dairy and beef veterinarian handbooks and the “How to do Risk Assessments and Develop Management Plans for Johne’s Disease” are online at www.johnesdisease.org. Please contact your State Designated Johne’s Disease Coordinator for specific information related to your state.