This week we got the worst news about our cow ladybug.
In a previous video we shared the news that a routine disease test for our cows showed that Ladybug may be sick with Johnes Disease.
Johnes Disease is devastating. It is a wasting disease, that prevents a cow from absorbing nutrients from the food it is eating. It can infect a calf before it is even born, and yet it will not kill that animal for a few years. It lies, secretly, beyond detection, for years, and when some stressful event happens in the cows life, for example, a calving, like the one ladybug had back in the fall, the disease goes active and quickly can turn a healthy looking cow into a skeleton, killing somewhere around 90% of cows that test positive with it.
Because it can infect a cow for years without killing it, it spreads through cow herds quite easily.
It is believed that all major diary and beef herds have Johnes positive cows. That is specifically why, when we purchased our first dairy cow, we found a herd of cows that was believed to be free of all cow diseases, including Johnes. Sadly this appears not to have been the case.
There was a little glimmer of hope that perhaps our test was a false positive. The Elisa test, as it’s called, is not 100% accurate, and so we, with the littlest bit of hope that we would allow ourselves, did a more accurate test to see if it was true. We had to wait about 3 weeks for the results.
The results are in, and they are not good.
Today we share the results of the test.
More importantly, we talk about the hard questions.
If Ladybug has this disease, has she spread it?
Will we still sell cows and calves?
And the big question on everyones mind. What will happen to Ladybug?
We have been very grateful to our friend and mentor Dr Cody Creelman, DVM.
Cody has been a source of answers and a strong shoulder to cry on.
Tonight you can find the conversation Cody and I had together about the test results and the next steps in the Pioneer’s Live from the Barn Show.
It was obviously a prerecorded conversation, but Pioneers can watch that for tonights live show.
Don’t worry, if you are not a Pioneer, this information is too important to not release to everyone, so later this week the whole unedited version of that conversation will appear on our channel as a podcast episode.
They say the darkest hour comes just before the dawn. It had better be daylight soon, because this is the darkest place our homestead has been in.