The University of Prince Edward Island Atlantic Veterinary College launched a program to battle Johne's disease in its region this spring.
Dairy health specialists from the college have partnered with the four dairy boards of Atlantic Canada—the Dairy Farmers of Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, and Newfoundland and Labrador—to create the Atlantic Johne's Disease Initiative. The program strategy was developed by the AVC's Maritime Quality Milk in conjunction with a team of veterinarians from around the region. Its goal is to sustainably reduce the prevalence of the disease in infected herds and prevent its spread from herd to herd.
The three-year research program will cost $1.1 million, with the expense shared by the federal government, the four Atlantic Canada dairy boards, and Maritime Quality Milk.
The AJDI has three main activities: herd testing, risk assessment by program-certified veterinarians, and selective cow testing. These procedures are designed to strategically, and in a cost-efficient manner, reduce the impact of Johne's disease on the regional dairy industry by decreasing the number of existing infections and reducing the development of new infections. Laboratory support for the program is provided by the MQM Johne's research laboratory at AVC.
Participation in the program is voluntary. Resources will be made available to assist herds that have the disease to decrease the overall prevalence of infection on the farm and the likelihood of spread to other herds, according to a UPEI press release. Additionally, test-negative herds will be provided with management plans to maintain their status. Details on the program are available at www.atlanticjohnes.ca.