What is Johne’s disease and what causes it and why it is important to buy from a tested herd?

Johne’s disease is a serious wasting disease of goats, which can lead to loss of production and death. The disease affects animals by causing thickening of the intestinal wall resulting in a reduction in the normal absorption of food. The disease is caused by a bacterium (Mycobacterium paratuberculosis) that lives mainly in animal intestines, but can also survive in the outside environment for several months. The disease is seen more often in dairy goats than meat or fiber goats, but all breeds may be infected if they come into contact with the bacterium. Goats acquire infection at an early age through eating contaminated pasture or drinking contaminated milk or water. The signs of disease develop slowly and the disease is rarely seen in young animals.