About DeerPRO

DeerPRO is a national animal health and productivity programme with a primary focus on the control of Johne’s disease in farmed deer. We are a branded unit of Deer Industry New Zealand. We recieve expert guidance from an advisory group representing deer farmers, venison processors, and the veterinary sector. 

DeerPRO has the following mission statement:

‘To provide services and assistance to the New Zealand deer industry for the control of Johne's disease based on monitoring and maintenance of a national database’

The DeerPRO national database

DeerPRO maintains a strictly confidential national database of all processed farm raised deer. The data includes the presence of lesions indicative of Johne's disease, termed JD-suspect lesions, identified in deer at processing during routine carcass inspection by AsureQuality meat inspectors. Over 99% of farmed deer processed since the start of 2007 are in this database and linked to their farm of origin.  Regular analyses monitor the disease in space and time. This data enters an algorithm that evaluates a series of health and productivity metrics to prioritise farms likely to have a high or growing issue with this disease.

We notify and encourage the owners to complete a Deer Health Review with their veterinarians.

Guidelines for implementing control

A comprehensive Technical Manual for veterinarians to assist them in the Deer Health Review process for Johne's disease has been created by the Johne's Research Group 2. DeerPRO promotes this document as a key resource for veterinary understanding of the disease. For more information on the Technical Manual click here

A Farmer Manual is also available which approaches the control of this disease from an on-farm perspective.

Copies of both manuals are available on request.

Programme activity on-farm
Every six months DeerPRO contacts two groups of farmers who have sent deer with JD-suspect lesions for processing during this period, via a notification letter. These groups are farmers that have had a high rate of JD-suspect lesions indentified in their deer and farmers that have had the very first or second lesion detected in their deer. The letter describes the disease, the implications of the lesions and urges the farmer to seek veterinary support with a Deer Health Review to control the disease and review other aspects of herd health. 
DeerPRO plays an active role in promoting the on-farm control of JD both at the group and individual farm level.  We participates in field days organised by the Deer Farmers Association, the P2P productivity improvement programme, and Deer Industry New Zealand to promote herd health and the use of benchmarked information in understanding herd performance.  

The focus of DeerPRO is technology transfer to the farm level, rather than research into the disease. However we do undertake research in-house for monitoring and self review. We support and assist research providers in Johne's disease including Crown Research Institutes, Universities. Strict protocols around data confidentiality regulate the contract conditions under which data is provided to these parties.