Johne’s Disease (pronounced Yo-knees), is also known as paratuberculosis and shows up as rapid weight loss and diarrhea. It is caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium avium ss. paratuberculosis, often abbreviated to ‘MAP’. There is evidence linking it to Crohn’s Disease in humans. Once an animal has this disease there is no cure, nor currently any vaccine available, and it can spread very quickly in the herd, both from goat to goat and between species (meaning it is zoonotic).
Testing is possible, so always buy from tested and Johne’s-free herds, to avoid bringing it onto your property. If you are bringing an animal under 12 months in, ensure that the dam and sire are both tested. Other species of animals, such as sheep, llamas, alpacas and cows can also bring the disease in, so bear this in mind.
While it is possible, through judicious culling and disinfecting, to eradicate Johne’s from your herd once it is present, it is a protracted and expensive process, and may take several years. This is yet another of those situations where an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!