Objective—To determine sources and amounts of variation in a kinetics ELISA (KELA) and results of culture of fecal samples for Mycobacterium avium subsp paratuberculosis (MAP) in repeated tests of individual cows.
Animals—112 cows on 6 commercial dairy farms in New York.
Procedure—A nonrandom longitudinal study was conducted from January 2001 to March 2002. A KELA was performed monthly, and MAP culture was performed bimonthly. Cow- and herd-level data were collected. The KELA and culture results were analyzed by use of models that corrected for clustering within herds and repeated measures on cows.
Results—Cows of second or higher lactation had increased KELA values, compared with values for first-lactation cows. Cows had lowest KELA values during the first 15 days in milk; KELA values increased until 60 days in milk and then stabilized. Moderate and heavy shedders had significantly higher KELA values than culture-negative cows, and KELA values of shedders progressively increased over time. On average, the KELA value was significantly increased 132 days after a cow was first detected to be a moderate shedder and 236 days after a cow was first detected to be a low shedder.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Analysis suggests that KELA results vary on a cow-level on the basis of lactation number and stage of lactation. High KELA values indicate heavy fecal shedding, but the KELA is not useful in identifying low and moderate shedders that can require up to 236 days to have a significant increase in KELA value. (Am J Vet Res 2003;64:479–484)