Paratuberculosis, Wasting Disease
- The disease caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium johnei is thought to spread through feed contaminated with the organism and must occur before the goat is 6 months old. There is some evidence that kids can be born with the disease or pick it up from the doe’s milk or fecal contamination on the udder.
Johne’s disease is usually seen in animals 3 to 5 years old.
- Loss of weight
- Rough hair coat
- Decrease of milk production
- Decreased appetite
- Progressive depression
- A diarrhea will develop within the last few days before death. Stress seems to trigger the disease or make it progress faster. The organism affects the area where the small and large intestine join together and interferes with the ability of the goat to absorb nutrients from the intestine. Usually only a few goats in the herd are involved.
- Johne’s disease typically enters a herd or flock of animals when an infected, but healthy-looking, animal is purchased. This infected animal then sheds the organism onto the premises – perhaps onto pasture or into water shared by its new herdmates.
- There is no effective treatment/ Diagnosis can be made in a laboratory by finding and growing the organism. The IV Johnin test can be run in the field but requires some knowledge of the procedure and how to make white blood cell counts.
- As preventative measures, you should buy healthy animals and remove infected goats from the herd. Spread can be reduced by avoiding stress on the animals. An experimental vaccine has been used in Iceland with good results. All imported goats should be tested and found negative before allowing entry into any country.
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