Johne's Disease Herd Certification

A systematic process exists for recognizing participation in and testing for Johne's Disease in cattle herds in Pennsylvania.
Johne's Disease Herd Certification - Articles
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Johne's Disease Herd Certification

The PA Johne's Disease Herd Certification Process provides a structured framework which veterinarians, herd owners and herd managers can use to develop a meaningful herd management plan. Herds that develop and implement such a plan can be recognized for their participation by being classified as a “management”, “control” or “status” herd.

Management Level

The Management Level is designed for herds that would like to minimize the risk of Johne's Disease entering or spreading within the herd, but do not yet wish to participate in regular testing of its animals for Johne's Disease. Both infected and uninfected herds may enroll in this level. No claims concerning the level of JD in the herd can be made by herds participating at the Management Level since no structured diagnostic testing is carried out. Herd owners are strongly encouraged to add strategic diagnostic testing to their management protocol and to move from the Management Level to the Control or Status Level.

Control Level

The Control Level is designed to benefit herds that would like to minimize the risk of Johne's Disease entering or spreading within the herd and that utilize at least some diagnostic testing to monitor animal and herd JD infection status. Both infected and uninfected herds may enroll in this level. If an appropriate testing strategy is used, some estimate of the level of JD in the herd may be made, although no official documentation is provided by the Department of Agriculture. Although JD infected and uninfected herds can participate at the Control Level, uninfected herds with no recent history of JD are encouraged to participate at the Status Level.

Status Level

Herds that have not had any recent evidence of Johne's Disease, and have not imported high risk animals into the herd are the most suitable candidates for the Status Level. This level is designed to identify herds that are test-negative for Johne's Disease. Herds may achieve Status Level 1, 2, 3, or 4, with each higher level representing a greater confidence that the herd is free from Johne's Disease. However, due to the nature of Johne's Disease, and the limitations of the currently available diagnostic tests, herds can never be declared to be unequivocally free of Johne's Disease.

In order to participate in the PA Johne's Herd Certification Process, interested herd owners must work with a Johne's Certified Veterinarian to complete the appropriate paperwork and carry out a risk assessment in order to develop a herd management plan. This PA Department of Agriculture website outlines the required procedures. The Cooperative Agreement Form specifies the details of the agreement entered into by the herd owner, veterinarian and PA Department of Agriculture. It must be completed and submitted to the Department along with the Johne's Disease Risk Assessment and Herd Management Plan (Dairy (PDF) / Beef (PDF) ). The scoring guidelines are to be used for the risk assessment in order to provide some standardization and consistency in the scoring between farms and between assessors.

Guidelines for Rating Johne’s Disease Risk Factors in Dairy Herds

Includes guidelines for calves, heifers, cows and bulls. (adapted from “How to Do Risk Assessments and Management Plans for Johne’s Disease”)

Calving Area
Risk FactorsRating GuidelinesRisk
Level
Risk
Score
Is the maternity area used for more than one cow at a time?No, all calvings occur in a single-use pen.Lowest0-2
Yes, there is a general maternity area with a low cow concentration.Moderate4-6
Yes, there is a general maternity area with high cow concentration.Highest8-10
Is there manure in the maternity area that can be ingested by calves?No, the area is always clean and dry, with no manure visible.
Lowest0-2
Yes, there is a minimal amount of manure contamination.Moderate4-6
Yes, there is extensive manure contamination of the maternity area.Highest8-10
Are sick cows kept in, or adjacent to, the maternity area?No, or only very rarely.Lowest0-2
Yes, the hospital/sick pen is adjacent to the maternity area.Moderate4-6
Yes, sick cows are often kept in the maternity area.Highest8-10
Are suspect, clinical or unknown status JD cows allowed in the maternity area?No, or only very rarely.Lowest0-2
Yes, low risk suspects may be kept in or near the maternity area.Moderate4-6
Yes, high risk cases/suspects are permitted in the maternity area.Highest8-10
Are calving cows' udders, legs and flanks soiled with manure?No, 90% or more of the cows are very clean and dry.Lowest0-2
Yes, a moderate amount of manure is visible on 20-40% of the cows.Moderate4-6
Yes, the majority of the cows have manure on udders, legs and flanks.
Highest8-10
Are calves born outside of the designated maternity area?No, or only very rarely.Lowest0-2
Yes, 15%-25% of all calvings occur outside of maternity area.Moderate4-6
Yes, 40% or more of all calvings occur outside of maternity area.Highest8-10
How long do calves remain in the maternity area after birth?Almost all calves remain in maternity for less than 30 minutes.Lowest0-2
Most calves stay in maternity are for 1-4 hours.Moderate4-6
Most calves stay more for more than 6 hours.
Highest8-10
Are calves able to nurse their dams or other cows?
No, calves are never or very rarely able to nurse any cows.
Lowest0-2
Yes, most calves are with their dam or other cows for 1-4 hours.
Moderate4-6
Yes, most calves are with their dam or other cows for 6 hours or more.
Highest8-10

Additional factors which have the potential to result in calves being exposed to adult cow manure, include:

  • Are calves exposed to adult cow manure when they are moved from the maternity to calf housing area?
  • Are people and equipment manure-contaminated when working in maternity area?

While these factors are not actually scored, they must be considered and addressed in the herd plan if necessary.

Pre-weaned Heifers
Risk FactorsRating GuidelinesRisk
Level
Risk
Score
Is colostrum from two or more cows pooled before being fed to calves?
No, or only from cows with several negative JD tests.
Lowest0-2
Yes, but only from know low-risk animals
Moderate4-6
Yes, colostrum is pooled from cows with unknown JD status.Highest8-10
Is colostrum fed from an individual cow to one or more calves?No, on only from a known JD-negative dam to her own calf.Lowest0-2
Yes, from a cow with a single negative JD test to one or more calves.Moderate4-6
Yes, from a cow with unknown JD status to one or more calves.Highest8-10
Is any unpasteurized milk (pooled or from a single cow) fed to calves?
No, or only milk from cows with several negative JD tests.
Lowest0-2
Yes, unpasteurized milk from cows with one negative JD test is fed.
Moderate4-6
Yes, unpasteurized milk from cows of unknown JD status is fed.
Highest8-10
Can colostrum, milk, or milk replacer be contaminated with cow manure?
No, or fecal contamination is very unlikely to occur.
Lowest0-2
Yes, contamination may occur occasionally.
Moderate4-6
Yes, contamination may occur frequently.
Highest8-10
Can calf feed or water become contaminated with cow manure?
No, or fecal contamination is very unlikely to occur.Lowest 0-2
Yes, contamination may occur occasionally and from limited sources.
Moderate4-6
Yes, contamination may occur frequently, or from limited sources.
Highest8-10
Are calves able to come in contact with cows or cow manure?
No, or contact only very rarely occurs.
Lowest0-2
Yes, contact with cows or cow manure may occur occasionally.
Moderate4-6
Yes, contact occurs regularly.
Highest8-10
Post-weaned Heifers
Risk FactorsRating GuidelinesRisk
Level
Risk
Score
Are heifers able to come in contact with cows or cow manure?No, or contact only very rarely occurs.Lowest0-1
Yes, contact with cows or cow manure may occur occasionallyModerate3-4
Yes, contact occurs regularly.Highest6-7
Can heifer feed become contaminated with cow manure?No, or fecal contamination is very unlikely to occur.Lowest0-1
Yes, contamination my occur occasionally and from limited sources.Moderate3-4
Yes, contamination may occur frequently, or from multiple sources.Highest6-7
Can heifer water sources become contaminated with cow manure?No, or fecal contamination is very unlikely to occur.Lowest0-1
Yes, contamination my occur occasionally and from limited sources.Moderate3-4
Yes, contamination may occur frequently, or from multiple sources.Highest6-7
Do heifers share pasture with mature cows?No, or only very rarely.Lowest0-1
Yes, heifers occasionally, or for a short time, share pasture with cows.Moderate3-4
Yes, pastures are shared regularly or for extended periods.Highest6-7
Is manure spread on forage which is grazed or fed in the same year?No, or only very rarely.Lowest0-1
Yes, may occur occasionally.Moderate3-4
Yes, occurs frequently.Highest6-7
Bred Heifers
Risk FactorsRating GuidelinesRisk
Level
Risk
Score
Are bred heifers able to come in contact with cows or cow manure?No, or contact only very rarely occurs.Lowest0-1
Yes, contact with cows or cow manure may occur occasionally.Moderate2-3
Yes, contact occurs regularly.Highest4-5
Can bred heifer feed become contaminated with cow manure?No, or fecal contamination is very unlikely to occur.Lowest0-1
Yes, contamination may occur occasionally and from limited sources.Moderate2-3
Yes, contamination may occur frequently, of from multiple sources.Highest4-5
Can bred heifer water sources be contaminiated with cow manure?No, or fecal contamination is very unlikely to occur.Lowest0-1
Yes, contamination may occur occasionally and from limited sources.Moderate2-3
Yes, contamination may occur frequently, of from multiple sources.Highest4-5
Do bred heifers share pasture with mature cattle?
No, or only very rarely.Lowest0-1
Yes, heifers occasionally, or for a short time, share pasture with cows.Moderate2-3
Yes, pastures are shared regularl or for extended periods.Highest4-5
Is manure spread on forage which grazed or fed in the same year?No, or only very rarely.Lowest0-1
Yes, may occur occasionally.Moderate2-3
Yes, occurs regularly.Highest4-5
Mature Cows and Bulls
Risk FactorsRating GuidelinesRisk
Level
Risk
Score
Cow feed for mature cows and bulls become contaminated with manure?No, or fecal contamination is very unlikely to occur.Lowest0-1
Yes, contamination may occur occasionally and from limited sources.Moderate2
Yes, contamination may occur frequently, or from multiple sources.Highest3-4
Can water sources for cows and bulls become contaminated with manure?No, or fecal contamination is very unlikely to occur.Lowest0-1
Yes, contamination may occur occasionally and from limited sources.Moderate2
Yes, contamination may occur frequently, or from multiple sources.Highest3-4
Do cows and bulls have access to accumulated or stored manure?No, or only very rarely.Lowest0-1
Yes, cows and bulls occasionally have access to stored manure.Moderate2
Yes, cows and bulls regularly have access to stored manure.Highest3-4
Is manure spread on forage which grazed or fed in the same year?No, or only very rarely.Lowest0-1
Yes, may occur occasionally.Moderate2
Yes, occurs regularly.Highest3-4

Additions and Replacements

All animals added to the herd (over at least the last 12 months) should be accounted for, possibly resulting in numerous entries which are summed to arrive at a total risk score for this area. Even though it is not scored, a question should also be asked about planned additions and replacements from outside sources over the next 12 months. If the herd is truly "closed" this area is scored a "0". Do not forget about bulls, ET recipients, and other non-dairy cattle (and small ruminant) additions.