Beautiful does at the Franklin County Fair 2018.
As we wrote in our first two blogs, CAE is a devastating disease. It is one that once in your herd needs to be removed before each animal is infected. There are a few ways to help out with keeping your herd clean of Caprine Arthritis Encephalitis. It includes testing, pulling kids from CAE positive does at birth, keeping a closed herd, and culling infected animals from your herd.
Each one of those precautions are pretty self explanatory, but we will go over them anyways. It is always nice for have information at our finger tips. Not to mention never being afraid to ask questions.
Little Liberty, born on July 4, 2017. Gone a month later. Momma was Lucky.
The very first thing that can help keep CAE out of your herd is if you only buy from breeders who have a clean herd and papers to say that they are clean by testing for Caprine Arthritis Encephalitis. A lot of people say that they have a clean herd and in truth be told they have never tested and don't know themselves. Hence, how we ended up in our situation in part 1 of this series.
A good breeder will have no problems with showing you this paperwork. They will either test bi-yearly (half herd fall, other half spring), yearly, or every two years. Every two years would be more for someone who has a closed herd. Personally, we are buying from breeders who only test and are willing to show us the papers saying who was tested, the results and when. This lesson is one we don't want to repeat.
Another part of the judging at the Franklin County Fair 2018.
Quarantine any new goats that you buy and bring into your herd. This way you can watch them and see how they react to the stress of the move. If there is any issues that might arise in the two weeks after arriving. In the case that you did happen to purchase a goat that wasn't from a tested herd, keep them in quarantine and either have the vet come out or draw the blood yourself to test. I will post some labs down at the bottom if you choice to do your own testing. The vet used Cornell University when she did ours last year, and we used WADDL this year. After you receive a negative result the goat can then be introduced to the herd. Make sure that the animal is over six months of age or the results might not be accurate.
Ivy Creek's T Lil' Cavan Aug. 2018
If your animal is sick and needs shots, do not share needles. That is another way to pass CAE from animal to animal. Though it can be passed through all types of bodily fluids. If your doe is CAE positive and she is bred, the babies must be pulled at freshening. It is important to get them as soon as they hit the ground. Take them inside and wash them with Dawn dish detergent. Afterwards, you need to feed them colostrum from an uninfected goat or colostrum replacer. The same goes for the milk. You could take mom's milk and pasteurize it if she is milk-able and her utter hasn't gone hard. However, you take the chance of not killing all the living organisms of Caprine Arthritis Encephalitis and passing it to the kid that way. We used the replacer option for both colostrum and milk replacer as we didn't have a doe to feed the kids from. Then the infected doe needs to be kept from the other does while she cleans up. I know some people run their animals together but at this time with blood and milk that isn't a chance we would take.
Jazlyn hugging her favorite girl, Siggie. This is every night.
Again as stated that taking your animals off the farm or bringing new animals in increases the risk of CAE each time. Some goat owners have decided to have closed herds and do their breeding by having enough lines to keep relations not so close. This can be done. Just takes a little time to get there. However, closed herds do not participate in shows or LA Scorings.
Taking your animal to shows, etc. is putting them in possible contact with CAE goats. Shows do not make testing a requirement. This is a shame due to the fact that it keeps the disease circulating around. There are some precautions that different shows take, like putting solid wall spacers between animals and a walk through area on the other end of your pen. Having areas all set up away from each other and goats are only in contact briefly in the show ring. Separate milking areas at the shows. The goats are vet checked before going and checked at the door for any visual signs of sickness or abscesses.
We still want to show as there are five little ones in our home that are excited about showing their goats. It will happen for them. Just leery of leaving our four legged family members for a week at an exhibit. It will be alright, we know. First time jitters.
If you do have a goat infected with CAE and you don't want to take a chance with it there are some options. You could give it to someone who doesn't have a breeding program or uninfected goats. This we believe is still a chance that they will either change their mind and breed or they will give the CAE goat to someone else and that person will breed it. All the while being completely unaware of the deadly death sentence that is carried within that animal. We know that there are some CAE goats that have made it to live long and healthy lives. Is that a chance we should take for the percentage that don't? We know that our hearts can't take watching one of our goats waste away, and the tears in our children's eyes.
In our case we decided to cull them from our herd. It isn't an easy decision to take a life that is still active. None the less it was a decision we felt was best for our farm and herd. Now that we have learned so much about this disease and learning more each time we read up on it. It is our hope that this little series can help others see that this disease should be taken seriously. The effect on the quality of the animal should be enough to make breeders strive for better.
If there is anything that we left, please feel free to leave us a comment or send us an email. Thank you. Have a blessed day.