Johne's disease whole herd testing

Identify and manage high-risk cows to minimise the spread of Johne's disease by using our whole herd Johne's disease test.

Benefits of Johne's disease whole herd testing

Johne's disease is common on New Zealand dairy farms. It costs the industry between $40 million and $90 million every year in lost milk production and poor calving rates.

Our Johne's disease whole herd test identifies high-risk cows so you can make culling and other management decisions to minimise the spread of the disease. Regular testing combined with good management practices can: 

  • increase your herd’s productivity
  • boost calving rates
  • reduce the number of animals dying painfully from the disease.

About Johne's disease

Johne's disease is a chronic gut infection caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium avium paratuberculosis (MAP). Animals are infected in the first few months of life.

Johne's disease may lead to:

  • lower milk production
  • difficulty reproducing
  • rapid weight loss
  • diarrhoea
  • death.

Infected animals stay healthy for several years and many never show the clinical symptoms of the disease — rapid weight loss and diarrhoea.  Animals with clinical Johne's disease eventually die. 

But even infected animals without clinical symptoms can produce less milk and have problems with reproduction. They can also spread the infection.

Some animals become what are known as super-shedders. Super-shedders pose the biggest risk to your herd. They show no clinical signs of the disease but excrete huge amounts of MAP in their faeces, making them extremely infectious. Super-shedders are likely to go on to develop clinical symptoms. 

How Johne's disease whole herd testing works

Our whole herd test uses milk samples from a routine herd test to detect the antibody that shows an animal has been exposed to the disease-causing bacterium, MAP.

Whole herd testing for Johne's disease can identify super-shedders that are excreting large amounts of bacteria and putting your herd at risk. 

When to test

Test towards the end of the milking season, so you can identify and cull high-risk cows before calving. 

We recommend testing at the following times:

  • February to April for North Island herds
  • March  to May for South Island herds.

Test annually for best results

The more regularly you test the more affected animals you detect. Whole herd testing can’t detect animals in the early stages of Johne's disease with great accuracy, but annual testing allows you to detect and cull them in subsequent years as they start to pose a greater risk to your herd. 

Getting the results 

We send the results to your vet, who will work with you to develop a management plan to deal with high-risk animals and help stop the disease from spreading. 

Blood testing for individual animals

We also offer a blood test to identify individual animals with Johne’s disease. You can use blood tests to confirm you have a problem with Johne's disease before going ahead with whole herd testing. 

Your vet can take blood samples from animals showing symptoms of Johne's disease, or from a selection of animals to find out how widespread the problem is. 

We need a 10ml blood sample from each animal being tested. We prefer purple top blood tubes, but will accept red top tubes. 

Send the blood samples to our laboratory, together with a completed Animal Health Sample Submission form

Tick Johne's disease ELISA to indicate the test you want.

Johne's disease testing prices

Johne's disease testing

Test type

Sample type

Price per sample

Test type Whole herd

Sample type milk sample

Price per sample $4.35

Test type Individual animal

Sample type blood

Price per sample $15.80

Book a Johne's disease test

Minimise the spread of Johne's disease with whole herd testing. Talk to your vet to book a test and ask them to download the Animal Health Sample Submission form. 

Download Animal Health form

Your vet can book the test by calling our Animal Advisors Team on 0800 436362. 

Book a Johne's disease test

Minimise the spread of Johne's disease with whole herd testing. Talk to your vet to book a test and ask them to download the Animal Health Sample Submission form. 

Download Animal Health form

Your vet can book the test by calling our Animal Advisors Team on 0800 436362.