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"Johne's Disease"

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Johne's Disease
by Gary Pfalzbot
About the Author

Johne's Disease, (pronounced "Yo-nees") is a contagious bacterial disease of the intestinal tract caused by the bacteria Mycobacterium paratuberculosis. There are only two signs of Johne's Disease: diarrhea and rapid weight loss. In goats, diarrhea is less common. The goat will maintain a normal temperature but may appear unthrifty and weak in advanced stages of infection. The only way to confirm a diagnosis of Johne's Disease is through testing. Study and research is being done to determine the link between Johne's Disease in goats and Crohn's Disease in humans - both are characterized by the presence of M. paratuberculosis.

While it is fact that Johne's Disease can easily pass from goat to goat in a herd, some evidence suggests that a balanced mineral diet, with emphasis on copper, will greatly reduce the chance of a goat becoming infected. In the U.S. and many other countries abroad, the most common practice is to cull any animal that appears to be affected. However in Australia, more breeders are finding that goats properly supplemented with minerals have remarkedly improved from poor conditioning. Perhaps the best approach is to "test, supplement, test" and based upon test results, either keep or cull the goat(s) in question.

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About the author: Gary Pfalzbot is a Service Connected Disabled Veteran and the web master of GoatWorld as well as some other web sites. He has raised goats over the years, been involved with 4-H (as a young boy) and currently resides in Colorado where he and his wife Pam raise a few breeds of goats and other animals, and primarily author the GoatWorld web site to continue to inform, educate, and promote the industry.


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