Johnes Information

Discussion in 'Health & Wellness' started by RunAround, Jan 28, 2010.

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  1. RunAround

    RunAround New Member

    Feb 17, 2008
    Massachusetts
    What is it?
    Johnes is also known as Wasting disease. It is a Mycobacterium known as Mycobacterium paratuberculosis that stops the body from absorbing nutrients from the intestinal tract, so the goat slowly starves to death and dies. This disease is actually very similar to a disease in people called Crohns disease, and research is currently being done to see if there is a link to the two.

    How is it spread?
    Through the feces. It can be spread from water, grain, soil, hay, or anything contaminated with feces from a Johnes infected animal. Johnes can actually survive a long time outside of the host itself, but the mycobacterium cannot multiply while outside of the host.

    Johnes may also be spread via milk.

    Can I test for it?
    Yes there are several different options for testing.

    ELISA testing
    This is a simple blood test that tests for antibodies against the disease. Elisa testing isn't incrediby accurate. There can be false positives and false negatives.

    AGID Testing
    This is another test much like the Elisa test. It has a higher chance of coming back with a False Negative, but there are NO false positives. If your goat test Positive for the disease then they have definitely been exposed to it.

    Drawbacks of ELISA and AGID testing
    One very negative thing about doing an ELISA or AGID test for Johnes is that it is ONLY testing for Antibodies, not the disease itself. So it is possible for a goat to test positive for the disease but not actually have it. Much like Tuberculosis in people. There are a large amount of people who will test positive either because they have been vaccinated against TB or have had TB, but do not actually HAVE TB.

    Also, if the goat has antibodies to another disease known as CL it can throw off these two tests because the antibodies are similar to that of the Johnes ones. So you could get a false positive and should test for CL as well to know if it is throwing off your results.

    Fecal Culture and Fecal PCR
    This is the most accurate way to test for Johnes in my opinion. These tests actually test the stool itself for the Johnes Mycobacterium. If Johnes is found in the stool then the animal may be shedding johnes and infecting others. Still there is the issue of did the animal in question eat or drink contaminated grain or water that day and was the mycobacterium just passing through the intestinal tract? Most likely though if Johnes is found in the stool than the animal is indeed infected, and another stool sample should be taken to confirm the diagnoses.

    There is also tissue sample testing.
    This is usually done once the animal is dead because it requires a tissue sample of the intestines. The sample is then looked at under a microscope to see if there are cellular changes associated with johnes disease.

    Is there a cure for Johnes?
    No

    Where can I find more information?
    http://johnes.org/goats/faqs.html

    What labs can I test for Johnes through?
    I would recommend using: http://www.johnes.org/testserv/index.html#tests
    They can test for Johnes via ELISA, AGID, Fecal Culture and Fecal PCR.
    They will take owner Samples

    There is also WADDL:http://www.vetmed.wsu.edu/
    They can do ELISA, Fecal Culture and Fecal PCR
    They will take owner samples

    There is also: http://www.vet.cornell.edu/
    They do AGID testing and Fecal Cultures. They do not take owner samples so you need to have a vet send things through them.
     
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