Small Ruminants

Johne’s disease is primarily a health problem for ruminant species (ruminants are hoofed mammals that chew their cud and have a 3-4 chambered stomach) and occurs most frequently in domestic agriculture herds. Some of the more common ruminants are cattle, sheep, goats and deer.

What are the signs of the disease?
Although not all affected animals will show signs of the disease, they become the carriers, shedding low numbers of bacteria through their life without necessarily showing any signs of Johnes. However, a sudden stress, like transporting, unpacking or a change of diet, may precipitate the clinical signs.

It cannot be stressed enough that this infection is contagious, which means it can spread from one animal to another. Practical management and testing is the only way to control the disease.

Close contact or co-grazing may lead to cross-species transmission of Johne’s bacteria.


Alpaca are in fact a natural host for Johne’s disease. Find out more about how this disease could affect your Alpaca call DRL 03 489 4832.