(Dan) Hey folks, Dr. Dan here from Doc Talk. Thanks for joining us today. Our guest will be Dr. Mike Sanderson, who is a Professor of Epidemiology in Beef Cattle Production. We’re gonna talk about a disease that continues to surface to the top as being issues in beef and dairy herds and potentially with the food chain-Johne’s. Johne’s disease in beef cattle. Thanks for joining us. More after the break.
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BREAK (Dan) Mike welcome to the show. (Mike) Thanks for having me. (Dan) Folks this is Dr. Mike Sanderson, who is a professor here in the Department of Diagnostic Medicine and Pathobiology at Kansas State University where he is a Professor of Epidemiology in Beef Cattle Production Medicine. And Mike, we’re here to talk about Johne’s. And you’ve done some research on Johne’s in the past, or at least done some survey work with Johne’s. And you’ve seen some herds with Johne’s as well as a practitioner. Let’s just get into it, what is Johne’s, and kind of talk us through what it does. (Mike) Yea, I think it is an important disease Dan and it’s caused by a bacteria with a long name. It’s mycobaterium paratuberculosis. For short we call it MAP. And that causes Johne’s disease. In cattle it causes a chronic diarrhea in adult animals. The animals appear to be still healthy, except that they lose weight, they have very fluid diarrhea, and eventually then go down hill until they die or they’re culled out of the herd. One of the interesting things about it is though, that calves are who is at risk and who gets infected. Almost always they’re infected when they’re less than a year of age. They don’t show any signs until they’re three to four years of age. (Dan) Cool. So, this is something that is a chronic illness. It’s not something that’s real acute. But it’s not gonna show up clinically until generally after they’ve had their first calf, the heifers have had their first calf. Or when they reach that three to four years of age. (Mike) Right. That’s true. (Dan) So, with the long name and that, what are…. of MAP, thanks for shortening that up for us. But let’s talk a little bit about just kind of the… is it a highly infectious agent? Is it… when do calves become infected with it? (Mike) The younger the calf, the higher the risk. So, when they’re very first born is when the risk is the highest and it is fairly infectious. So, at that early stage of life, they’re highly at risk and that’s also right around calving, we’ve got… in dairy herds the calving area is very important and the calf can get inoculated right then if we’re not careful. In beef herds, clean udders and that sort of thing are very important to prevent transmission. So yea, it’s fairly easily transmitted and especially when they’re quite young in life. (Dan) OK. And then the disease in mature animals when they get it is extremely debilitating. (Mike) Absolutely. They will just really go down hill and get very, very thin, eventually if you don’t cull ’em. (Dan) And so, we’ll start to see the diarrhea in those animals, in those more mature animals, followed by extreme weight loss… (Mike) Yea, yea. (Dan) …cause they just don’t digest the nutrients. (Mike) Right. The gut just gets completely… it gets very thickened and it just doesn’t digest anything very well anymore. So, everything pretty much just runs straight through. Comes out the back like a garden hose. (Dan) Yep. And actually they have that sewer pipe gut and they can’t digest. We’re gonna take a break. When we come back, we’re gonna jump into some of the herd level problems or some of the herd level issues that we see with Johne’s disease and what it can do reproductively, what it can do production wise. This is Dr. Mike Sanderson. I’m Dr. Dan Thomson. Thanks for watching Doc Talk from Kansas State University. More right after the break.
(Dan) Folks, welcome back to Doc Talk. Dr. Dan Thomson, here with Dr. Mike Sanderson, who is a Professor of Epidemiology in Beef Production in the Department of Diagnostic Medicine and Pathobiology at Kansas State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine where Dr. Sanderson does research. He does outreach, he does teaching. Many different hats that he wears. Tickled to death to have you here. Talk about Johne’s. And kind of on a herd level what we’re looking at. (Mike) Johne’s definitely is a herd level disease. There isn’t any treatment or cure for individual animals. And so it’s much best managed at the herd level. So if we want to… one, we want to control the risk that we’d introduce it to the herd. Ad then if it is in the herd, we want to control and eventually eradicate it. So, one of the first things maybe to think about is how common is it? And so if we look at surveys that are done in beef herds, it looks like about eight percent or eight out of a hundred beef herds, probably have Johne’s in the herd. If you go to dairies, it’s probably close to two out of three, about 68 percent is the estimate for dairy herds. So, it’s fairly common in dairies, not so common in beef. But in both cases it can be fairly debilitating. For dairy herds that have a high level of Johne’s in the herd, it may cost something on the order of $200 a cow per year in lost milk, decreased reproductive rate and those sort of things. In beef herds it’s probably lower. But it still does cause some economic impact in term of decreased milk production and then decreased weaning weights and those sort of things. (Dan) Sure, it’s gotta have an impact on the calf crop when the cow’s not able to digest the nutrients the way that she’s supposed to and then partition the energy towards lactation. You know, when we start to look at some of these in beef and dairy and the herd level, you know, is there a difference there in the way that we approach these? I mean, I am going to make the assumption that the dairy industry is more attuned to testing and looking for this disease then what we are in the beef industry. (Mike) They are and probably appropriately so, since they have more. In either case, I think it’s a disease that you really want to talk to your veterinarian and make a detailed plan about how you’re gonna deal with it. Cause you can waste a lot of money doing things that don’t really work on it very well. So any testing plan and eradication plan needs to be very well thought out or it will just spend money and not achieve your goals. (Dan) And there is a national Johne’s program, correct? (Mike) There is a national voluntary Johne’s eradication program, yes. (Dan) A voluntary… (Mike) Yes, it’s voluntary in that you don’t have to be involved. There is no federal support in terms of money for it. There was for a while. And then tight budget times brought that to an end. So, there’s no federal support but there is some guidance in what’s a good way to approach eradicating it. (Dan) OK. Well, we’ll get into that after a bit. But when we come back, let’s talk…we’re gonna talk more about prevention of… how we prevent it from coming into the herd. And then we’ll talk in the last segment about how to eradicate it. (Mike) Great. (Dan) Folks, thanks for watching Doc Talk. More with Dr. Mike Sanderson from Kansas State University right here after these messages. Thanks for watching Doc Talk See ya in a minute.
(Dan) Folks, welcome back to Doc Talk. Dr. Dan Thomson and Dr. Mike Sanderson from Kansas University’s College of Veterinary Medicine where Dr. Sanderson is a professor of epidemiology in beef production. And we’re talking about Johne’s disease and we’re gonna jump in to prevention. Because that’s really the key for any disease or any injury is let’s prevent ’em from happening. So, what is… what is the key to preventing Johne’s from entering my herd? (Mike) I think the most important thing, Dan, if you can, this is actually difficult, but is to import from herds that are negative. Course you have to know, have some basis for why you think that herd’s negative and probably the best is that the herd you’re importing from is involved in that voluntary eradication program. So, if they are, then they have tested their herd and you have some assurance that there’s not Johne’s in that herd. And that is by far, the most effective way to keep from importing it into your herd. So, seed stock producers you’d like them to have tested their herds. Dairy replacement heifers, if at all possible, you’d like those to have originated from a test negative herd. (Dan) Absolutely. So, it could increase value for people that are looking for value adds in their bull sales or value adds in their replacement heifer sales is getting that eradication or that Johne’s free status on your herd, or at least the test status. (Mike) Right. Yes. (Dan) And you know with a lot of other diseases, we talk about if you buy an animal to quarantine and test it, or quarantine. It doesn’t necessarily work for Johne’s. (Mike) Because of some things about Johne’s disease and how the disease acts, the test is not very good at identifying individuals that are infected. It’s pretty good at the herd level, identifying herd but not individuals. So, testing animals as you bring them into the herd and even quarantining them, is not very effective at preventing it from being in the herd. Quarantine because they may not break with the disease in a way that you could see for two to three years. (Dan) Cause it’s an intermittent shedding, intermittent disease? (Mike) Right. And then they’re only clinical when they’re three, four years old. (Dan) Yea. And so I think it’s just as important to know things that don’t work, as it is to know the things that do, cause you can go through alot of time, money and effort in quarantine for Johne’s, and it’s not gonna make any difference. (Mike) No, won’t help. (Dan) The other bio security tool that people talk about a lot is vaccination. (Mike) Right. (Dan) And so, you said there is a vaccine? (Mike) There is a vaccine for Johne’s. But because it’s a similar bug to the bug that causes TB in cattle, this is not a risk for humans in terms of tuberculosis, but it’s similar and so the vaccine will interfere with TB testing. So, you have to have permission from your state animal health officer to be able to do the Johne’s vaccine. It’s probably helpful at least in some cases in really high… herds that have a high number of positive cows. But generally we don’t use it much. (Dan) So it would be more of a tool that we would utilize in eradication than probably what we would use in like vaccinating cows. It’s not something we can just buy off the shelf. (Mike) No, no. And only in severely affected herds, would you consider using it. (Dan) Cool. Well let’s take a break. When we come back from break, we’ll talk about eradicating it once we get it in the herd. And we’ll talk about testing removal, and different things that we can do to eradicate Johne’s. You’re watching Doc Talk. Thanks for joining us. More after these messages with Dr. Mike Sanderson from Kansas State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine.
(Dan) Folks, welcome back to Doc Talk. Dr. Dan Thomson and Dr. Mike Sanderson. And we are from Kansas State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine. Dr. Sanderson is professor here of epidemiology in beef production and has a lot of experience as a beef practitioner. A lot of work in the dairy and beef industries as an epidemiology and diagnostician and beef production medicine expert. And we’re talking about Johne’s today. And so what happens once I get it in the herd? (Mike) Once you get it in the herd, it’s actually a long term plan to try and get rid of it. It’s not easy. But it can be done. And the most important things are to prevent transmission to those young calves. So, if you’re in a diary, you want to remove calves from the cow as soon as you can after they calve. You don’t want to allow suckling or any more contact in that calving environment than you have to for those calves. Get ’em away. And then keep them segregated from the adult cow herd. And that includes any feces from the adult cow herd. We want to make sure that we don’t get some feces that contaminates feed. We don’t want to feed colostrum that is not from negative cows. So, we’d like to test cows, cull positives and then keep those calves separate. (Dan) And I think that the one thing that people need to understand too, is that it is a fecal/oral transmission. This is a bug that’s in the feces. So if it’s keeping the environment clean, especially in your beef cow herd. Keep the cows and calves in drier areas if possible. It’s common sense for all etiologies of diarrhea, but when you’re really focused on Johne’s, you’ve got to keep those udders clean and… (Mike) Absolutely. So that calf…for the beef herd… obviously we can’t remove calves from cows but we do want a very clean environment for calving. Clean udders are really important. And as soon as you can, getting those cows and calves dispersed, so they’re not in an environment where the calves have much contact with manure. That’s really important and will not only be valuable for Johne’s and decreasing transmission, but also in every other enteric disease, calf diarrhea. (Dan) Yea. (Mike) That’s just great for calf diarrhea. So, you get paid multiple ways. (Dan) Yep. I think people don’t understand either that you can track it on your boots. If you go move manure with the loader bucket and then go grab a bale of hay with the fork, or you know… and just the cross contamination. Understanding keeping feces away from the baby calves as much as we can. (Mike) And this bug, and most of the other diarrhea bugs of calves can last, can live for a long time in the environment. This MAP bug, nine to 18 months. (Dan) Wow. (Mike) Depending on what sort of… where it is. So you have to maintain that for a long time. (Dan) Work with your veterinarian? (Mike) Absolutely. So, that’s gonna be the greatest source of some technical information that you need to make sure you get it done right. (Dan) Well, thanks for joining us today on the show. (Mike) Thanks, enjoyed it. (Dan) Folks, Dr. Mike Sanderson from Kansas State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine. If you want to know more about what Dr. Sanderson and I do here at Kansas State University, you can find us on the web at www.vet.ksu.edu. Thanks for joining us today on Doc Talk. We appreciate you tuning in and learning more about Johne’s disease, how to prevent it, how to eradicate it once it does get on your farm, I’m Dr. Dan Thomson. Thanks for watching Doc Talk and I’ll see you down the road.
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