Cattle, sheep and goat producers are eligible for the Johne’s disease surveillance program

Johne’s disease is a contagious and typically fatal infection commonly disturbing the small intestines of livestock.

This contagious and chronic progressive bacterial infection is proficient with destroying the digestive tracts of cattle, sheep, goats, deer, bison, llamas and alpacas.

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Johne’s disease is found worldwide, with the infection first reported in North America in 1908. 

A surveillance program for Saskatchewan producers is being run in the province this year, with 100 per cent of the veterinary fees covered, including blood collection, laboratory testing and sample shipping.

The charges for Johne’s Risk Management and Management planning are also included during the first year of enrolment into the program.

However, producers are responsible for covering 50 per cent of the costs for subsequent years of involvement in this set-up intended to assist them, as they manage the presence of this destructive infection on their rangelands.

Note: the identities of the program’s participants and individual tests will be listed as confidential.

Johne’s disease is caused by Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis (M. avium subspparatuberculosis), a bacterium related to the agents causing leprosy and tuberculosis.  

The name Johne’s (pronounced yo-nees) comes from the German veterinarian, H.A. Johne. Johne discovered the cattle-borne disease in 1894. 

The infection happens in layer of cells within the digestive tract which are in charge of nutrient absorption.

The diseased regions in the body become thickened as the immune system tries to counterattack the infection – this thickening reaction averts the digestive tract from processing nutrients, in turn creating chronic diarrhea and leading to a wasting condition despite a regular appetite. 

There’s no cure for Johne’s. 

Animals developing clinical signs ultimately die from Johne’s. 

Clinical signs don’t develop before two years of age. 

Herds often become infected with Johne’s whenever diseased animals are purchased then introduced into the livestock population.

For information about the program, go to  


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