Posts in category Goats & Sheep
Caprine Arthritis Encephalitis (CAE) virus is a disease that affects goats and may cause chronic joint disease in adult animals. CAE may also cause encephalitis in goat kids under 6 months of age. Does infected with CAE may develop a chronic mastitis that causes hardening of the mammary glands. “Hard bag”, as CAE is sometimes called, decreases the lifetime milk production of dairy goats and can cause significant economic loss to dairy producers.
CAE virus is usually transmitted to kids through the colostrum of the doe, but may also be spread horizontally from goat-to-goat through contaminated milking equipment in the parlor. The virus is also spread in blood and can be spread on tattooing equipment and contaminated needles. CAE does not appear to be spread from the pregnant doe to the kid in-utero. The virus is not transmissible to humans, but can infect sheep.
There is no treatment for CAE other than supportive care to control pain for animals suffering from arthritis. Once infected, the animal is permanently infected. Current control measures are based on testing, culling, and isolating infected animals. Controlling CAE is an ethical and welfare decision. Animals infected with CAE often become debilitated by arthritis. Culling these animals decreases the spread of disease, thereby preventing pain and suffering, and improving the productivity and quality of our stock.
- Herds should be tested annually prior to kidding season. Testing can be performed on a blood sample.
- Testing is recommended when purchasing new goats to add to your herd.
- Seropositive and seronegative goats should be separated. Seropositive goats should be culled, when appropriate.
- Seronegative animals should be milked first to prevent contamination in the milking parlor. Good sanitation in the milking parlor will help prevent spread of the virus.
- Kids born to seropositive does can be permanently isolated from the doe and fed colostrum from seronegative does or heat-treated colostrum (133 degrees Fahrenheit for 60 minutes).
- Avoid sharing needles and disinfect tattooing equipment between uses.