(pronounced Yo-Knee's)
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Johne's Disease pronounced YO-knees (or paratuberculosis), is a chronic bacterial disease of the intestinal tract in ruminants.  It is caused by bacteria called Mycobacterium paratuberculosis. This organism is highly resistant to the infected animal's immune defenses and can survive in the environment for over a year. Infected animals harbor the organism for years before they develop clinical signs or test positive for the disease.

The disease typically enters a flock/herd when an infected, but healthy looking animal is brought into a healthy flock/herd. The infection then spreads to non-infected animals when they ingest fecal material from another infected animal. Once outside the animal, the bacteria are quite hardy and may live for months in water, feed, and feces. In the later stages of infection, the bacteria are found in the milk of infected animals. Young animals can become infected by drinking milk from infected ewes/does.

Clinical signs rarely appear until the animals are 1-2 years of age or older. Signs usually first appear following lambing/kidding, a severe stress, or under conditions of poor management. Severe weight loss that progresses to complete emaciation(Loss of flesh resulting in extreme leanness)  is the most common sign.

There is no effective treatment for Johne's disease and attempts at treatment are not warranted. All positive animals should be culled.
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Johne's (pronounced "Yo-nees") disease is a contagious, slowly developing and fatal bacterial disease of the intestinal tract. A German veterinarian first described it in a dairy cow in 1895 and the disease was named after him. The disease is also called paratuberculosis. Johne's disease primarily occurs in domestic and wild ruminant species such as sheep, goats, cattle, bison, deer, llama, etc. It has also infrequently been reported in non-ruminant species e.g. rabbits, primates, fox and stoat.
Information from Johne's Information Center - University of Wisconsin
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