CanWest DHI - Profitable Dairy Herd Management
Johne's & Leukosis Milk Test

Johne's & Leukosis Test

Johne's Disease

Johne's Disease is a bacterial infection that causes abnormal thickening of the lining of the intestinal tract in infected animals, restricting the absorption of nutrients. It is spread through the shedding of the bacteria in manure, which can contaminate feed or water, and also can be transmitted to calves through colostrum from infected cows.

Clinical symptoms include long lasting diarrhea and extreme weight loss despite maintaining some appetite.

The impact on profitability of a herd includes reduced milk production, increased involuntary culling, loss of heifer sales and reduced beef production.

Johne's Disease may also be associated with increased incidence of other diseases, as well as milk and meat safety. It is speculated that Johne's Disease may be linked with Chrohn's disease, an incurable, chronic, intestinal disorder in humans.


Leukosis (Bovine Leukosis Virus), is a blood borne viral infection which can cause tumours in the lymph nodes, uterus, heart, abomasums, spleen, kidneys and brain. The disease is spread by transfer of blood cells from infected animals via such sources as re-use of contaminated equipment, colostrum and waste milk and transmission to the calf before it is born.

Clinical symptoms caused by resulting tumors include weight loss, decreased milk production and immobility.

Impact on profitability of a herd includes reduced milk production in infected cows and condemned meat at slaughter, as well as potential costs associated with lost marketing opportunities such as the sale of replacement stock, bulls to AI or embryos, domestically and to international markets.

There is no suspected link between Leukosis and any human disease.

Benefits of Using the Milk Elisa Tests

  • It is efficient and convenient. The routine DHI milk sample collected for butterfat, protein, SCC and MUN can also be used for testing for Johne's and/or Leukosis.

  • Producers do not incur any additional costs for collection or delivery of fecal or blood samples.

  • Producers can elect to test the whole herd, part of the herd or selected animals.

  • Results are available in two to three days and can be delivered by mail, fax or email.

  • A copy of the test results are also sent to the herd veterinarian.


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