Sunday, December 29, 2013

Testing for CAE

Caprine Arthritis Encephalitis is a devastating disease in goat herds. Unfortunately, it can lie dormant in goats for years before manifesting as severe arthritis or scar tissue in a doe's udder. In kids who develop the disease, it manifests as the encephalitis form, causing seizures.

In my opinion, testing for CAE is essential, and disposing of CAE positive animals is the easiest option for the goat owner who has a small herd to supply milk and meat for the home.

You will see claims that CAE can be "managed" by separating a diseased goat from the healthy herd and by bottle feeding any kids. This method is time consuming and risky. All births must be witnessed, and the kids must NOT receive colostrum from an infected doe. Also, when you sell goats, the ethical practice is to inform buyers that you have CAE on your farm.

Some goat owners don't mind "managing" CAE positive goats, but due to the nature of the disease and the problems of maintaining separate facilities, I recommend putting down any positive goats. I understand that other goat owners may have different opinions.

How to test for CAE:

Things to have on hand:
Syringes and needles
Alcohol swabs
Vacuum tubes (red top, no coating)
Small Priority Mail box
Bubble Wrap
Paper towels
Zip Lock bags
Permanent Marker

Click on links in steps for more info.

1. Draw blood from each goat into a separate red top vacuum tube.
How to draw blood (with pictures)

How to draw blood (video)

2. Insert needle into red top tube, and the vacuum will draw the blood into the tube.

3. Label each tube with the name of the goat.

4. Fill out the submission form.

5. Package as per instructions on the website. Be sure to include your payment.

NOTE: Check the website for testing dates. I always ship on a Monday before a testing date.