Risk of Lameness in Dairy Cows with Paratuberculosis Infection

Smith, J and Van Winden, S C L (2019) Risk of Lameness in Dairy Cows with Paratuberculosis Infection. Animals, 9 (6). p. 339.

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Johne’s disease (JD) is an important disease affecting the UK dairy industry, as is cattle lameness. An association between JD and lameness has been suggested; however, little evidence exists to support this. The purpose of this study was to determine if cows affected by JD were more likely to be lame and if so, what the temporal association is. Retrospective dairy cow mobility and JD status (based on milk ELISA) data were obtained from two farms of 98 JD cows (49 high and 49 medium positive) and their matched controls. We evaluated the timing and the proportion of (chronic) lameness in JD-positive cows versus controls and proportion of lameness before and after the first ELISA positive test. Compared to their controls, JD cows are lame more often (Odds Ratio = 2.7 (95% Confidence Interval = 1.2–6.0) p = 0.017) and became lame on average three months earlier (p = 0.010). High positive cows were more likely to develop lameness after seroconversion (OR = 2.8 (95% CI = 1.1–7.5), p = 0.038) versus medium positive cows. Results of this study suggest that there is a link between JD and lameness and that JD precedes lameness. The underlying mechanisms for this association remain unknown and were not the scope of this study.

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