The association between Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis fecal shedding or clinical Johne's disease and lactation performance on two Minnesota, USA dairy farms

Eran A. Raizman, John Fetrow, Scott J. Wells, Sandra M. Godden, Michael J. Oakes, Gabriela Vazquez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

55 Scopus citations


Lactation performance of cows infected with Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis (Map) was previously studied using only serum ELISA as a diagnostic method. This study evaluated on two dairy farms in Minnesota, USA the lactation performance (measures of health, production, reproduction, and survival) of cows shedding Map in feces before calving and of cows culled with clinical signs consistent with Johne's disease (JD) during the subsequent lactation. Fecal samples were collected from 1052 cows within 21 day before calving and tested for Map with bacterial culture. Producers' observed signs of clinical disease (milk fever, retained placenta, metritis, ketosis, displaced abomasum, lameness, mastitis, pneumonia, and JD) and production and reproduction data were recorded for each cow. The association between fecal shedding or clinical JD and lactation performance was evaluated. Logistic regression was used to evaluate the association with any clinical and subclinical diseases as the outcome. General linear model was used to evaluate the association with milk production, and survival analysis techniques were used to evaluate the association with days in the study before culling and days from calving to conception. In 84 cows (8% of 1052 cows) fecal samples were positive for Map (46% light, 26% moderate, and 28% heavy shedders). In multivariable analysis, light, moderate, and heavy fecal shedding cows produced on average 537, 1403, and 1534 kg, respectively, less milk per lactation and 1.4, 5.2, and 7.5 kg, respectively, less milk per day than fecal negative cows. Fecal culture positive cows were less likely to be bred and conceive. In the multivariable analysis the 56 cows culled with presumed JD produced approximately 1500 kg/lactation or 5 kg/day less than all other cows. The negative economic impact implied by decreased lactation performance in cows shedding Map or with clinical JD may motivate producers to implement programs to control Map infection and subsequent JD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)179-195
Number of pages17
JournalPreventive Veterinary Medicine
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - Mar 17 2007



  • Culling
  • Dairy cows
  • Fecal shedding
  • Johne's disease
  • Milk production
  • Paratuberculosis
  • Reproduction

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