Wednesday, August 17, 2011

CAE and Me

The farmer says I have CAE. She says it's a virus that I carry in my body and will never go away. She says it can cause arthritis, encephalitis, paralysis, hard udders, wasting, and death. She's very upset that I have it. The blood test told her so.

What's up with that? I don't feel sick. I don't look sick. I look good this summer... I mean, REALLY good. My coat is nice and shiny. My goatish figure is trim and sleek. My udder is more full of milk than a Dairy Queen. I don't feel sick at all. The farmer says that probably 80% of the goats in the USA have it and don't even know it. Due to CAE being largely asymptomatic or causing symptoms that can be blamed on other goat ailments, people don't realize their goats have it. The only way to know is a blood test.

The farmer says that there are two groups of people with opinions on CAE. One group of people recommend shooting all the goats that are positive and burning down the barn. The farmer says they sound a little alarmist and somewhat crazy. They say that CAE is a dangerous disease that will eventually spread to all goats and then there will never ever be any healthy goats alive in the world ever again. Any positive goats must be shot and butchered or else.

The other group of people doesn't believe that CAE exists. They think it is a conspiracy made up to scare goat people into paying crazy prices for normal old goats just because they were raised on "CAE prevention" and got tested a bunch of times. They think that a disease that is largely asymptomatic is bogus and shouldn't be worried about at all. If it causes no symptoms, does it really exist? The farmer thinks they sound a little paranoid and also somewhat crazy.

The farmer is currently trying to process this all and formulate a plan. She doesn't want to shoot us goats (thank God!) nor does she want to completely ignore the problem. She hopes she can figure out a way for our kids to be CAE negative and for us to continue to live long and healthy lives, even if we are CAE positive.