Perceptions of Johne’s Disease Control Programs in Ontario

In 2010, Ontario dairy industry implemented the province’s first Johne’s disease control program (OJEMAP). OJEMAP was structured as a voluntary control program that offered participating dairy producers an opportunity to test their whole herd, using the DHI milk ELISA, for paratuberculosis. The program was rolled out starting in 2010, with a regional testing scheme that made ‘testing windows’ available to each region of Ontario at different times over a 4-year period. The cost of testing was fully reimbursed if participants agreed to (a) have a veterinarian-administered Johne’s disease risk assessment (RAMP) completed on the farm, and (b) properly euthanize and render any test-positive animals classified as High Titre (> 1.0 test result).

By the end of the program in 2013, 52% (2153/4158) of eligible dairy herds in Ontario were enrolled in OJEMAP. Test results showed that 26% (563/2153) of herds had at least 1 test-positive cow, while 5% (112/2153) of herds had at least 1 high test-positive cow. Furthermore, given the imperfect sensitivity of the milk ELISA, and that slightly more than half of Ontario’s herds participated, it might be expected that these numbers underestimate the true prevalence in Ontario.

The results of the OJEMAP program clearly show that many dairy herds in the province are dealing with some level of Johne’s disease. As a result, the Dairy Farmers of Ontario (DFO) plan to commit funds to develop and implement Ontario’s second provincial Johne’s disease control program. The aim of this project was to assess Ontario dairy producers’ and veterinarians’ experiences with the previous Johne’s program, to evaluate opportunities for improvement, and to hear opinions and suggestions for the formation of a new control program.


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Dairy Farmers of Ontario

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