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Objective

To use an on-farm recording form to quantify the effect of specific management practices on apparent prevalence of Mycobacterium paratuberculosis in dairy cattle herds.

Design

Epidemiologic survey.

Animals

26 commercial Wisconsin dairy farms.

Procedures

An instrument was developed on the basis of literature review and expert interviews to quantify on-farm management practices associated with increased apparent prevalence of M paratuberculosis. On-farm visits were conducted to assess how specific management practices were conducted. Apparent prevalence of M paratuberculosis infection was measured for all animals > 20 months old on all farms, using a commercial ELISA. Regression analysis was used to identify management variables that were significantly associated with apparent prevalence of M paratuberculosis.

Results

Regression analysis (R2 = 0.90) identified that high scores for environmental conditions, newborn calf care, grower calf care, bred heifer care, and manure handling were significantly associated with M paratuberculosis apparent prevalence in Wisconsin dairy herds.

Clinical Implications

Environmental conditions, newborn calf care, grower calf management, bred heifer management, and manure handling factors may serve as a prioritized checklist for instructing owners and managers where to place emphasis in changing management practices to limit M paratuberculosis prevalence. Likewise, the factors identified as having low association with apparent prevalence may be de-emphasized in control programs, allowing dairy managers to focus time and finances on more effective components of an M paratuberculosis control program. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 1996;208:1877-1881)

Free access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association