Basic Procedures For Johne’s Herd Testing

Taking Fecal Samples

Procedures to Prevent Cross Contamination

  1. Use a clean new plastic glove for each sample.
    • Protect gloves and containers from inadvertent fecal or dirt contamination when sampling in barn.
  2. Collect the fecal sample directly from the rectum.
  3. Use CLEAN tap water (NOT from barn water tank) in a squirt bottle (not bucket) for lube.
    • A few drops of "clean" (not old or contaminated) soap can be added (NOT antibacterial soap).
  4. Fill containers no more than 1/2 full with feces. SCREW LIDS DOWN TIGHTLY!
  5. Mark Sample No. and Cow ID on SIDE and LID of cup. Underline Sample No.
  6. Use waterproof pens.
  7. Ship samples fresh to Lab (overnight) for best results (minimizes overgrowth by other bugs in the feces).
  8. If samples must be held until shipping:
    • Hold at 50 degrees F (preferred) or in refrigerator (cooler temps can instigate growth of sporulated organisms).
  9. Samples must arrive at the lab within 4 days maximum after being taken. At this point the risk of contamination by overgrowth of other fecal organisms dramatically increases. Contaminated tubes are discarded yielding no Johne's result.
  10. Samples must arrive on or by the Monday or Tuesday of the week they are scheduled to be processed.
  11. Note that the risk of fecal samples being overgrown (“contaminated”) by other fecal organisms may be greatly increased if animals are being fed spoiled or moldy forages or hay. If this is the case, you may want to consider delaying fecal culture sampling until a change in feed. Contamination of the culture is usually evident at 4-8 weeks.

Taking Blood Samples for Serology

  1. Fill clot tubes (red stopper) ½ full - 2 cc blood (.5cc of serum) is adequate for Johne's ELISA (KELA).
  2. Label tubes with animal ID and Sample No.
  3. Spin and separate serum, or leave at room temp to clot. Refrigerate AFTER clotted if need to hold.
  4. Ship overnight or hold refrigerated no longer than 72 hrs, then ship overnight.
  5. Ice packs are necessary for shipping during the summer months.
  • If using DL Coleman coolers for shipping samples, we ask that you DO NOT take coolers with you into the barn when sampling. Coolers are used for public shipment of samples and must be kept clean.

Using Computer Lists to Submit Samples

We are happy to accept computer generated herd lists with samples to minimize writing and errors. Unfortunately our system cannot currently accept the lists electronically.

  1. Attach a submission form with complete herd and veterinary information as a coversheet.
    • NYSCHAP herds must use their customized form.
  2. Pre-assigning Sample Numbers and submitting computer generated lists – EXAMPLES:
    • Manually pre-assign a Sample No. to a computer-generated list of the cows to be tested.
      • Generate a computer list of animals to be tested, in order by ID.
      • Include BIRTH DATE, (LACT, DIM if possible).
      • Fill in a sequential (Sample No.) number by hand from 1 to …N, for each animal, to the left of the ID.
      • Use this list to cross-reference the Sample No. with animal ID when collecting the samples.
    • Use DairyComp305 or other computer program to pre-assign a Sample No. to a list of cows to be tested.
      • Plan to generate a computer list of cows to be tested, in order by ID.
      • Include ID, BIRTH DATE (DIM, LACT).
      • Tell program (many will do this) to assign a sequential number to the list of IDs, in order, from 1 to … N.
      • To do this in DC 305, put a \N at the end of the command that generates the list.
      • Use this list to cross-reference the Sample No. with the animal ID when collecting the samples.
  3. Pre-assign a Sample No. as described above and use the list to cross-reference and mark the Sample No. on the containers after sampling.
    • Label the container with the animal’s ID when you collect the samples.
    • Afterwards, sort samples by ID.
    • Mark the Sample No. from the list on the containers at that time.
  4. Generate a computer list of animals to be sampled, sorted by ID. Add the Sample No. after collecting the samples.
    • Label the container with the animal’s ID when you collect the samples.
    • Afterwards, sort samples by ID.
    • Assign and mark a Sample No. on the list in order from 1…N. Mark it on the containers.

Shipping Johne's Samples

Ship to: 240 Farrier Road, Ithaca, NY 14853 (courier), or PO Box 5786, Ithaca, NY 14852 (US mail)

  1. Fecal samples
    • Let samples "cool-off" before packing in a mailer.
    • Sort containers by Sample No.
    • Bag in plastic bags in groups of 25-50 samples per bag grouped by sample number.
    • Double bag all samples to prevent leakage during shipment.
    • Use insulated mailers.
    • Use ice packs in warm weather.
  2. Ship fecal samples to arrive at the laboratory on or before Monday or Tuesday of the week they are scheduled to be processed.
    • Overnight or two-day is best
    • Shipping options for getting samples to the lab on or by Monday or Tuesday of the week:
      • Collect Monday and ship overnight
      • Collect Friday, keep cool - 50 degrees is ideal, otherwise refrigerate, DO NOT FREEZE, ship Monday
      • Collect Thursday, ship overnight - DL will preserve at –70C until Monday
  3. Most properly collected and shipped fecal samples are OK for up to 4 days maximum holding and shipping time - See TAKING SAMPLES
  4. Blood samples
    • Put tubes in boxes in order by Sample No.
    • If no blood box, pack securely in order by Sample No.
  5. Insulated Coleman DL coolers (small and large size) are available from the DL for anticipated shipping. They can be assigned to a specific account. They can be requested at scheduling or by calling 607-253-3935.
    • There is a $ 25.00 cooler return deposit posted to the account.


Fed-Ex Pick-Up Courier Service Available for Vet Clients

  1. The lab has contract rates with FED EX courier services that are available to lab accounts.
    • Clients can request the pre-addressed way-bills with their account number, by using the form in the lab account packet, or requesting way-bills by calling 607-253-3935.
    • When the pre-addressed labels are used, the client’s account is billed for the service on the monthly bill.
  2. You will need to compare with your current service for different wt. packages to determine if there is a rate advantage in your area.
  3. You will need to contact couriers directly to arrange service pick-up.

PackBasicProcedures 05/13/13