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Atlantic Johne's News
May 26, 2011
Regional Program to Combat Johne's Disease Launched

Johne’s disease is among the top animal health priorities of the Canadian dairy industry. The disease affects the gastrointestinal tract of cattle and can result in significant milk production losses, increased risk of culling and reduced breeding success.

In an effort to combat this disease, dairy health specialists from the Atlantic Veterinary College (AVC) have partnered with the four dairy boards of Atlantic Canada: Dairy Farmers of Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, and Newfoundland and Labrador to create the Atlantic Johne’s Disease Initiative (AJDI). The program strategy was developed by AVC's Maritime Quality Milk (MQM), in conjunction with a team of veterinarians from around the region.

"The cost of Johne's to individually affected dairy farmers can be substantial, and there are considerable consequences for our overall industry," says Reint Jan Dykstra, a dairy producer from Salisbury, New Brunswick, and Chair of the Steering Committee for the program.

"In developing the AJDI, we examined other similar programs from across Canada and internationally," says Dr. Greg Keefe, Innovation PEI Dairy Industry Chair, and Director of MQM, at AVC. "The AJDI takes the best from each of these programs, and develops a sustainable model to reduce the disease in infected herds and prevent spread from herd to herd."

Funding support is provided by the four dairy boards of Atlantic Canada, the four provincial Canadian Agricultural Adaptation Program (CAAP) councils, and Maritime Quality Milk. In total, the funding partners have committed $1.1 million over three years to the Atlantic Johne's Disease Initiative (AJDI).
 
The AJDI has three main activities: herd testing, risk assessment by program-certified veterinarians and selective cow testing. These procedures are designed to strategically, and in a cost-efficient manner, reduce the impact of Johne's disease on the regional dairy industry by decreasing existing infections and reducing new infections. Laboratory support for the program is provided by the MQM Johne's research laboratory at AVC. The MQM laboratory is the only facility in eastern Canada that is proficiency-tested by the USDA for five Johne's diagnostic methods.

Participation in the program is fully voluntary. Substantial resources are available to assist herds that have the disease to decrease spread and overall prevalence on the farm. Additionally, test-negative herds are provided with management plans to maintain their status. Details on the program, including an online form to request enrolment, are available at www.atlanticjohnes.ca or by calling (902) 566-0725.

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Johne's Initiative reaches Goal
The Atlantic Johnes Disease Initiative has reached, and exceeded, its first... Read More