Ovine Johne's disease and abattoir inspections in WA

Page last updated: Friday, 1 July 2016 - 11:53am

Please note: This content may be out of date and is currently under review.

Inspection of the intestines and associated lymph nodes of adult sheep is one of the most sensitive and cost-effective ways of detecting early ovine Johne's disease (OJD) infection on a property.

Knowing whether the disease is on your property allows you to make informed decisions on management practices to help you minimise the animal health and economic impacts of the disease.

The abattoir monitoring scheme for ovine Johne's disease (OJD) is coordinated by Animal Health Australia on behalf of industry. The Department of Agriculture and Food, Western Australia (DAFWA) plays a role in coordinating the scheme within Western Australia (WA). The scheme is an integral part of WA's ability to monitor this disease, and inspections are provided free of charge to producers.

In order to be eligible for inspection sheep must be two years of age or over, and have been on the property from which they are consigned for at least the preceding two years. It is preferable for homebred sheep to be selected for inspection. Bought-in sheep may have OJD detected at abattoir, but because they may have been infected before purchase, such a finding will not tell you whether the disease has spread to other sheep on your property.

Inspections are conducted by an AHA-funded inspector. The inspector covers three major processors in the South West. The inspector moves between abattoirs, so there is no guarantee that they will be present at a specific abattoir to inspect your sheep, unless you provide relevant details and request an inspection.

To arrange an abattoir inspection contact the state OJD activity leader,
Dr Anna Erickson, on +61 (0)8 9881 0211 or +61 (0) 437 801416.

The more notice you can give the better - please contact us as soon as you have a confirmed collection date for your sheep.

Write 'OJD inspection requested' on the copy of the National Vendor Declaration (NVD) which accompanies the sheep. This will allow abattoir staff to identify sheep which need to be inspected and liaise with the inspector to ensure sheep are processed at the most appropriate time.

Results of inspections will be reported directly to you. Negative results will generally be reported within a few days. Where OJD is suspected, laboratory testing to confirm disease is always performed before a diagnosis is given and reported as positive. This may take several weeks.

If you do not receive a report about your sheep, this does not mean that they were inspected and were negative. All owners of sheep inspected will receive a report.


Contact information

Anna Erickson
+61 (0)8 9881 0211