Johnnes Disease

Discussion in 'Sheep' started by MichaelK, May 6, 2004.

  1. MichaelK

    MichaelK Active Member

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    I have posted this as an unregistered user under the Barbados sheep thread and am doing it here again as I now understand the system:

    Can anyone describe the symptoms of Johnes Disease.
    We have a Katahdin flock with only one ewe (1 year old) that has had chronic diarrhea for 5-6 days, eats as usual, appeared a bit listless at first but now seems fine except for the scours.
    Treated her with pepto bismol, fastrak, and finally with and antibiotic,
    Only parasites found in the stool sample were a few coccidia (normal).
    Should she be cultured for Johnnes?
    What if it is Johnnes?
    What then?

    Next post:

    Thanks for the reply..Being in VT/upstate NY our winter was extremely cold this year and all 19 ewes (1year old in April -May 2004) were fed whole grain mix as well as alfalfa hay. Only 5, the largest were bred, and this was done late (Jan -Feb 04) as this is our first lambing we wanted to do it on pasture and in warmer weather.
    The sheep are registered Katahdins.
    There was no real change of feed, possibly a different mix of hay but nothing substantial.
    I have stopped the grain to see if this helps. The stool is not runny but more like you stated soft like cow's with no formed pellets.
    The entire flock was wormed in the late fall when they were taken off pasture. She is the only one with any problems.
    Any ideas?
    I believe she is too young for it to be Johnnes but they are running the culture anyway at Cornell.
    Thanks
     
  2. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    It will be interesting to see if it is Johnes. I was thinking (barring a major feed change) is that fecal samples are not infalable, and she may well have a tape worm problem. Double dosed Safeguard (Fenbendasol) is what I use.
     

  3. bearkiller

    bearkiller Well-Known Member

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    Ross,

    Johne's Disease is also known as paratuberculosis and is caused by Mycobacterium avium.

    Clinical picture is long term weight loss and diarrhea. Individual animal clinical signs are highly variable and vague. The diarrhea is usually thick and without blood, mucus, or epithelial debris.

    If you are seeing the diarrhea only over a very short term look to other causes. Johne's infected animals are sick a long time and look like they are wasting away. In sheep and goats the diarrhea is not a common picture.

    Only way to know for sure is to do a culture.

    From the description you gave of diarrhea over only a week, this does NOT sound like Johne's to me. If it went on for months, then more likely. Do let us know the outcome.

    bearkiller
     
  4. bergere

    bergere Just living Life

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    Have you checked your pastures for poisonous plants? Many of these types of plants can cause this.

    Also,, the grain you fed, I have known a few folks that ended up having tainted feed.. and there is no way to tell other than to have your Vet test it.

    Last,, could someone be throwing stuff over the fence thinking they are being kind to your sheep,, but feeding them stuff that will make them sick?
     
  5. MichaelK

    MichaelK Active Member

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    Thanks for all the replies...
    Actually this condition in omne out of 19 started before I put them on pasture and has been consistant for 6 days now. She is only a little bit out of sorts, lagging a bit behind the flock, but is eating the alfalfa hay thayt they had all winter and is on pasture during the day. (All grass and no poisonous plants).
    The diarrhea still persists as a brownish green fairly loose patty, not watery but as Katahdins have tails it is all over hers.
    I am picking up some Panacur to double dose her tonight but other than that
    I have no other ideas.

    Any ideas?
     
  6. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    They start to get pretty remote like salmonella, or over eating minerals......
     
  7. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    Oh and thanks for the detailed answer Bear, I am running on a pretty tight schedule these days. Lambing crops to get in, the farmers market (and its short staffed.), and I just picked up a little MF35 gasser to shine up and sell.
     
  8. What kind of grain ration was she on and how much are you feeding per head? Is she the last one left cleaning out the grain trough? High grain rations of feeds such as barley can burn out there stomach and cause problems such as that. Most cattle guys will tell you to be very careful feeding barley. And, good high quality alfalpha even if baled can contribute for sheep. I was at a show once and the owner thought she would treat her animal at the show - brought her some really good alfalfa hay and she wasn't on that hay at home and that poor ewe was an absolute mess by the next morning! I have even had a ewe pig out on a bale of alfalfa hay and bloat - had a post mortum done to verify that.

    As for Johne's - it usually isn't eveident until the animal is over 2 years of age and then is a chronic wasting and as they have stated above they don't always even scour from it and it takes time. Also, unless the test for Johne's have improved, you can get false postives and false negatives espcially if you are testing a live animal. If I remember what I read correctly anyway. There is a really good site on this topic, and if I can find it again, I will post if for you...

    Keep us posted.
     
  9. shepmom

    shepmom Well-Known Member

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    http://www.gov.on.ca/OMAFRA/english/livestock/sheep/facts/johnsdis.htm

    "Johne's and Humans?
    In recent years there has also been speculation that M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis may also be implicated in Crohne's disease in humans. This is a disease characterized by ulceration of the intestine causing extreme pain and debilitation. While it may be an autoimmune disease, special tests that detect DNA (Polymerase Chain Reaction tests) have detected evidence of the organism in some Crohne's patients. However, to date this research has not been confirmed and the organism has not been cultured from human cases. In addition, Crohne's disease has been reported in parts of the world that do not have Johne's disease (e.g. Western Australia). The jury is still out on this one."

    http://www.aphis.usda.gov/vs/nahps/johnes/
    "Signs of Johne's disease include weight loss and diarrhea with a normal appetite. Several weeks after the onset of diarrhea, a soft swelling may occur under the jaw (bottle jaw). Bottle jaw or intermandibular edema is due to protein loss from the bloodstream into the digestive tract. Animals at this stage of the disease will not live very long, perhaps a few weeks at most.
    Signs are rarely evident until two or more years after the initial infection, which usually occurs shortly after birth. Animals are most susceptible to the infection in the first year of life. Newborns most often become infected by swallowing small amounts of infected manure from the birthing environment or udder of the mother. In addition, newborns may become infected while in the uterus or by swallowing bacteria passed in milk and colostrum. Animals exposed at an older age, or exposed to a very small dose of bacteria at a young age, are not likely to develop clinical disease until they are much older than two years."

    "Some basic prevention strategies are:

    Calves, lambs, kids, etc. should be born in a clean environment.
    Reduce the newborns exposure to manure from adult animals by separation when possible.
    Avoid manure contamination of feed by using feed bunks and not using the same equipment to handle feed and move manure.
    Avoid manure contamination of water sources were animals drink.
    For natural colostrum needs of newborn animals, use colostrum from Johne's negative animals.
    Do not pool colostrum.
    Avoid natural nursing and milk feeding whenever possible. Feed an artificial milk replacer or pasteurized milk instead of raw milk to supply the needs of newborns. Never feed pooled milk or waste milk.
    Thoroughly clean the udder and teats before collection of the colostrum to avoid manure contamination.
    M. paratuberculosis can survive up to a year in the environment so if possible, for pastures that have become contaminated, till the ground or graze using non replacement feeder cattle.
    Identify all females in the herd. Identify and remove, or keep separate all test positive animals.
    Prevent infection from spreading by culling, or separating offspring of infected mothers as soon as possible.
    If purchasing herd additions, try to buy from low risk herds. Some herds are enrolled in the Voluntary Bovine Johne’s Disease Control Program to help identify their herd as low risk. "
     
  10. kabri

    kabri Almst livin the good life

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    We had Johnnes in a small group of barbadoes boarded at our place. They were used to train herding dogs, so they got a lot of excercise. They were under 2 years of age, and 1/2 of them wasted away and had to be put down. They continued to eat though. The flock they came from did many many tests for the disease before they actually got a positive result.... Very difficult to get a definate diagnosis. Of course, by the time they got a positive result from the test, those sheep had already been on our ground for 6 months. Our flock is cheviot and in the 4 years since, none of our woolies has ever shown the slightest sign of this illness. 6 of our ewes are 8 or 9 years old so they should be susceptable. However, our 1 cross bred ewe, cheviot x barbado, contracted it and we had to put her down when it became obvious she was also wasting away. Her daughter, born the year she died, is only 1/4 barbado, has successfully lambed for 2 years now and is fine. :waa: It is heartbreaking to have this in your flock, you try everything to help them :no: and they still just waste away. I'm convinced from our experience that the barbado are very highly susceptable and the wool sheep are not, at least not our particular breed.
     
  11. MichaelK

    MichaelK Active Member

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    So you think the hair breeds are more susceptible to Johnnes?
    It sure woud beheartbreaking to have to put down any of our breeding ewes!!

    There was barley in the grain, it was an organic mix of whole corn, roasted soy beans barley and or wheat .
    Also the flock was on alfalfa bales all winter as well. I still have 6 that are lambing in June and they 'should ' be getting grain but siince they are on pasture maybe I'll stop feeding altogether and see what happens. Any thoughts?

    The strange thing is that only one out of 19 is having the problem. And wouldn't you know it, (if anyone knows Katahdins they are not very easy to handle), this one is one of the few, (there are three) that like to be scratched and handled!

    I really hope that it's not Johnnes!
     
  12. shepmom

    shepmom Well-Known Member

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    "**All** breeds of sheep are susceptible, although there are anecdotal reports that merinos are more susceptible than British breeds."

    http://www.csiro.au/index.asp?type=faq&id=OJD&stylesheet=divisionFaq

    From what I've read it doesn't sound like 1 in 19 would be the only one with the disease. Your land would be contaminated or the one lamb came from a contaminated flock.
     
  13. kit

    kit Well-Known Member

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    I have had Katahdins for a little over 7 years now and have yet to see it in my flock. Prior to that there hadn't been livestock on our farm for about 15 years. I have heard of Katahdins that have had it and other wool breeds as well. But, I don't think they are any more susceptable than any other breed. If you keep your flock of whatever breed of sheep in an enclosed confined space and one of them was brought in with it - it will spread. So when you purchase your sheep I really believe in inspecting the entire flock of a breeder! Look for symptoms at the owners farm! And, I read this in an article by Peter Schroder (sp) and his thoughts are if you purchase at an auction barn you are very likely purchasing another breeders problems, that is why they are there. We run a closed flock with the occasional new ram and really try to avoid any such diseases.

    The diet of those sheep sounds pretty rich - do some research on Katahdins and you find that they were orginally useto getting by on poor quality feed. Also, lush green pastures will loosen the stools up somewhat. Put that ewe on some poor quality dry hay and I bet she clears up!! Once she is cleared up then ease her back onto the pasture.

    These are just my thought though - and I'm not a vet - so take it for what it is worth.
     
  14. kit

    kit Well-Known Member

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    THis website has some good information about johne's

    www.johnes.org
     
  15. MichaelK

    MichaelK Active Member

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    We've isolated her with another unbred ewe for company and have been giving her electrolytes as well as pepto bismol; three times/day, since Saturday
    The diahrrea (sp?) has gotten a bit less runny but not great. I have noticed some whole barley in the stool from over 10 days ago!
    She has a little coccidia and some one has suggested treating with Albon, Sulfadimethoxine.
    My vet says stop treating altogether and lets see what happens.

    She is a bit anxious being confined while all the others are on pasture.

    Maybe the stress isn't helping either.

    Any ideas?

    Help!!!!!
     
  16. kit

    kit Well-Known Member

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    Just wondering how your ewe is doing? Has she cleared up? Also, here is another thought. What did they feeder her before you bought her? I really think that if they are on a high grain diet it can burn out their stomachs. We push the grain to our feeder lambs, but they are all going to slaughter - breeding ewe lambs aren't on the same diet. Sure hope she has cleared up and the tests come back good for you....
     
  17. The existence of Johne's Disease is unknown to many goat breeders in the meat-goat industry. The reason for this lack of knowledge is primarily due to the elusive nature of the disease.

    Johne's (pronounced Yo-nees) is a contagious disease which can infect any ruminant species. The origin of the disease is unknown, it is world-wide, and it was first diagnosed in goats in the early 1900's. Johne's is a chronic infection that localizes in the small intestine, causing a thickening of the intestinal wall which prevents the normal absorption of nutrients. In goats, the symptoms do not appear until the last stages of the illness.

    Mycobacterium paratuberclosis is the organism which causes Johne's Disease, and this bacteria is passed in the manure of goats from animal to animal via fecal-to-oral contact. Young kids are the most susceptible, and the disease remains unidentifiable for years after the kids have first ingested infected feces. Clinical weight loss in infected adults is the only symptom.

    The symptoms are prolonged weight loss, lack of appetite, and depression, occasionally followed by diarrhea. Goats infected with Johne's frequently are more subject to heavy parasite loads. Any adult goat which is continually parasite-infected should be tested for Johne's Disease.

    Clinical signs of this disease do not appear until goats are yearlings and sometimes much later. Kids can contract Johne's in utero (before birth) if their dams are heavily infected. Kids can also become infected through the colustrum and milk of Johne's-carrying mothers. Neither heat-treating colustrum or pasteurizing milk kills this bacteria; it is quite heat resistant, and like Caseous Lymphadinitis (CL), the organism can live for years in the soil and surrounding environment.

    The appearance of the disease is affected by the dosage (concentration and amount) of bacteria ingested, the age of the kid, and the genetic make-up of the animal. If a kid receives a high dose at an early age, the kid will most likely begin shedding the disease in its feces and showing clinical signs of infection at an earlier age than a kid who received a low dose of the bacteria. Some goats are carriers and never show clinical signs of the illness. There seems to be an age-related resistance to Johne's Disease, but older goats can become infected, particularly in overcrowded and unsanitary conditions.

    Generally speaking, overt signs of infection begin to show after many years of shedding the bacteria, particularly if the animals are managed well, with good nutrition, clean conditions, no overcrowding, and minimal stress in their lives. Once it is evident that infection is present, the Johne's-infected goats usually live less than one year and ultimately die from their inability to absorb nutrients from their intestinal tracts.

    The timeline runs from birth to age one, no signs whatsoever; from age two to four, goats may begin to show signs of some weight loss but have no decrease in appetite until the disease becomes full-blown; and goats over age four who are heavily-loaded with the bacteria begin to look wasted. The mid-stage, from age two to four, is the really dangerous time, because those goats look reasonably well but are shedding the bacteria like crazy. Johne's is rarely seen in goats over seven years old.

    There are three commonly available tests for diagnosing Johne's Disease. Culturing fecal matter to detect the organism is the most accurate, but the bacteria grows slowly and the test takes six weeks to four months to complete. If the animal being tested is not shedding the organism in its feces, it can test negative even though it may really be infected. Repeat testing on suspect goats is essential.

    The AGID (Agar-Gel Immune Diffusion) and the ELISA (Enzyme-Linked Immuosorbent Assay) Tests detect antibodies and are done on blood samples. Each test has its own shortcomings. The AGID Test should be used on individual animals; there are few to no false positives. The ELIZA Test is reasonably accurate but can cross-react with the bacteria that causes Caseous Lymphadinitis (CL) and give a false positive. None of these tests are 100% accurate. The ELISA Test works best as a herd-screening tool. Because antibodies appear relatively late in the disease, antibody tests in general have poor sensitivity. The ELISA Test is more sensitive, while the AGID Test is more specific, showing fewer false positives in goats which are truly negative.

    The advantage of using the fecal culture positive test is that no other organism looks like Mycobacterium paratuberculosis, so false positives do not occur. It also tells other important information, such as how much of the organism is being shed. The fecal test is 40-45% accurate in light shedders; in heavy shedders, it is 95-98% accurate. Interestingly, the organism cannot be cultured in the feces of sheep.

    Think of the disease as a pyramid. For every animal which tests positive, there are probably 10 animals who are infected, actively shedding, and not showing symptoms. This does not apply if an infected animal is brought into a clean, closed herd, unless the circumstance is not discovered and properly managed. Then it takes some time for this pyramid to build up, but it will occur.

    There is no cure for this disease, there is nothing that can be put into the soil and the surrounding environment to kill the bacteria, and the only vaccine available is used in Norway and Iceland. The vaccine is not available in the United States because it cross-reacts with tuberculosis (TB) tests.
     
  18. MichaelK

    MichaelK Active Member

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    Well. it has been two months and she still has diarreah (sp?). Odly enough while on pasture during the day she remanins clean around her tail, but in the morning after a night in the barn she is filthy!
    We've given her antibiotics, panacur, and now corrid for 5 days.
    The Johne's culture has not come back yet but we hope and believe it should be negative. We did bloodwork on Monday and are waiting for the results of the CBC and AGID teste. The vet says that she might just be this way and we willhave to dwealwith it. She is not loosing any condition and eats well. Anyone else have any ideas?
    Thanks
     
  19. You know, years back, I used to have one ewe that always scoured when she was on green grass or getting grain. When on dry hay she would clear right up. But, I found that if we kept her ewe lambs they seemed prone to do the same thing. Finally just got sick of her and the mess and culled her and anything here that was related to her. No problems now that they are all gone.... Might be something you may want to consider. I am a firm believe in not messing around with problem animals.
     
  20. MichaelK

    MichaelK Active Member

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    :waa: Well, it has been almost three months and the trouble ewe still has the scours!.
    Still eating OK and her body condition is still good.

    We have given the blood test for Johnes and it was negative; also done complete blood workup (CBC), and all systems appear fine.

    So we treated her with Corid for her small amount of coccidia that was fgound and them wormed her with Ivomec,(we also tried Panacur in the beginning).... Diarreah appears worse!!!.
    Next week, after speaking, ( in final desperation), to the vets at Pipestone we will try a dose of Albon, (sulfadimethoxine).

    After that I just do not know what to do. We are still waiting for the Johne's culture to come back from Cornell, sometime in August, negative so far.


    Any other suggestions?

    We really do not want to cull her. She was an expensive registered Katahdin and a very friendly one at that. Every morning we clean her off before putting her out with the rest of the flock so that we avoid flystrike, so she doesn't mind being handled like the others!