Johnes case prompts biosecurity reminder

Johnes Disease case in NSW sheep prompts biosecurity reminder


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Ill-thrift in sheep is a typical symptom of Ovine Johnes Disease. Photo: LLS

Ill-thrift in sheep is a typical symptom of Ovine Johnes Disease. Photo: LLS

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What you need to know about a recent Johnes case in northern NSW.

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PRODUCERS are bring urged to update and maintain their Farm Biosecurity Plan even during trying seasons after a recent diagnosis of Johnes Disease in sheep in northern NSW.

A local private vet practitioner made the diagnoses last month following the introduction of new sheep to a property.

While Johnes Disease in sheep is a notifiable disease, diagnosis on farm does not lead to quarantines or compulsory eradication.

However, an outbreak can have production and management costs.

Northern Tablelands Local Land Services district vet Andrew Biddle said it was a timely reminder of the importance of Farm Biosecurity Plans, a mandatory feature of the Livestock Production Assurance program almost two years ago.

"On the Tablelands, to the best of our knowledge, there is a very low incidence of Johnes in sheep up here and for sheep producers it's still a handy status to maintain and the best way to do that is by their own actions," he said.

"Whether it be footrot, Johnes or drench resistant worms, if they enter a property they have a significant impact on productivity and the best way to manage those is through a solid farm biosecurity procedure because the plan is just a piece of paper, it's actually what people do with that plan that makes a difference."

When purchasing animals, the National Sheep Health Statement includes information about vaccinations, drenches and diseases such as Johnes disease and footrot.

Mr Biddle said it was important producers kept new stock seperate from their home flock or herd for as long as possible to allow adequate time to observe their health and undertake drenching and vaccination programs.

Producers can also gain assistance from veterinarians to update and review their plans.

"We are trying to preempt and remind people of what should be simple steps," Mr Biddle said.

"But when people have been making decisions around feed and what to feed and how much to feed and where to get it from, I think sometimes those biosecurity messages, they are not lost, they just slip back down the list a little bit."

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