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Johnes Disease Voluntary Dairy Herd Pilot





A technical working group (TWG) established by Animal Health Ireland has developed a framework for a voluntary national programme for the control of Johne’s Disease and has produced an information leaflet on the disease. The Johne’s Disease Implementation Group (also established by AHI) has recently launched a Voluntary Dairy Pilot programme for 2014. The information leaflet and details of the national pilot programme are available from the AHI website here       

Opportunity to get Johne’s Disease serology carried out on herd Brucellosis test samples

It is envisaged that testing will typically be provided by private testing laboratories.  To support this initiative and assist in the roll-out of the herd screening component of Johne’s Disease control programmes on Irish farms, the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) is offering all herdowners, whose herds are listed for Brucellosis scheme testing, the opportunity to have their herd screened for antibodies to the cause of Johne’s Disease using the samples taken for the Brucellosis test.

Where a TB test is carried out at the same time as the Johne’s test, it is important for the veterinary practitioner to take the blood samples on the first day of the test, rather than on the second day when the test is read, as tuberculin may interfere with the blood test for Johne’s Disease.

It is important to emphasise that blood testing is only one element of an integrated programme to control of Johne’s Disease in herds.  Please  refer to the  Animal Health Ireland website here for further information.

How to avail of this option:

If a herdowner choses to avail of this option, an additional test (for antibodies to MAP, the causative agent of Johne’s Disease) will be applied to all of the blood samples sent for Brucellosis testing at a charge of €3.50 per sample. The herdowner must complete and sign a consent form Johnes Pilot Consent Form V2 (pdf 520Kb) , nominating a veterinary practice, and provide a cheque for the total amount (number of animals tested x €3.50) made payable to “The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine”. This consent form and cheque are to be enclosed with the ER16 form and blood samples sent from the veterinary practice. 

Result reporting and data sharing with veterinary practitioner:

The herdowner must consent to pay for the testing, to allow DAFM Laboratories to transfer the test results to the ICBF database and to allow ICBF in turn to provide the veterinary practice nominated on the form with access to test data from the herd.   Results of herd screening for Johne’s Disease will be reported directly to the veterinary practice nominated on the form and will also be transferred to the national database of the Irish Cattle Breeding Federation (ICBF).

Instructions for veterinary practitioners:

A colour coded label (available on request from Cork BTL) must be affixed to the upper right hand corner of each green blood sample box and each copy of the ER16 form; all should be sent to the Blood Testing Laboratory, Model Farm Road, Cork.

Further replacement stocks of labels are available from the Blood Testing Laboratory at the address above.

Veterinary practitioners are advised to familiarise themselves with the need for an holistic approach to the control of Johne’s Disease by participating in an AHI training day to become an approved PVP in relation to the pilot programme.  In particular there is a need to be aware of the limitations of currently available diagnostic tests when offering an interpretation of the results of herd screening.

Enquiries and further details:

A comprehensive guide to Johne’s Disease for farmer’s and veterinary practitioners is available on the Animal Health Ireland website here

If you have specific queries on getting your herd Brucellosis test samples screened for Johne’s Disease, or on samples already submitted, please contact the officer in charge at Cork BTL:  Dr Karina Wrigley  021 4543931