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.


  1. Oh, Lucy, that's way to bad! But as long as you feel good, that's what counts. I hope your Farmer doesn't decide to burn the barn down!

  2. I am a farmer some where in-between the 2. CAE can be managed and CAE Negative kids can raised from CAE Positive Does. I would retest at the closest facility possible and let me tell you why... I hav enever personally tested my goats but I have a friend who sold a couple of babies. Babies died in new owners care and new owner said it was CAE even though they were just 3 weeks old and had been in her care for 2 of those 3 weeks. Babies were healthy when they left.
    So my friend tested sending a sample to a local State Facility that has a reputable Vet program and Lab.. Sending a second sample to another reputable LAb.. Local sample got there that day and was tested immediately came back Negative for CAE.. Other Lab it mailed for 3 days plus the weekend Finally delivered on Tuesday to be tested.. It came back Postive but Barely!...
    There are way to many variables to CAE to panic in my opinion. Be sensible and use the brain God gave you to figure it out. I think to many people panic and I am sure CAE was around LONG before we knew about it. And goats Obviously Survived for 4000 years in our care with out Knowing about CAE.
    I am sorry you have to even consider what to do. It has to be tough an done of the hardest things to handle..

  3. Dear Lucy, I am sorry to hear that you have CAE. My Sweetpea has CAE. I rescued her from a wildlife center that had taken her in. She was three months old. I fell in love with her she brings my heart so much JOY. About seven months later I sent one of her goat friends, Peekaboo off to be bred. Sweetpea stressed so badly it caused the CAE to rear it's ugliness. Her brain swelled and down she went. I took her to the Vet and the CAE test came back positive. My Vet suggested I put her down. He wanted me to prepare myself and bring her in the next day and he said he would take care of it. After crying for a whole day I could not do it. I kept Sweetpea in intensive care in the stall for a week giving her pain relief shots, vitamin shots, etc and two Lactiad Ringers a day. On the 5th day my husband gave her a handful of corn knowing how she loves it like candy and shortly after she stood up and has been fine ever since. It has been almost a year.

    It is most important for me to make sure they do not stress for any reason. My goat girls live a stress free happy life, browsing for food, getting treats, all the perennial peanut hay they can eat, coastal hay also and lots of goat kisses and hugs from me. I do not breed my goat girls. I know many do as they want the milk and need to sell the kids for some income. I am lucky enough to not worry about needing a return from my goat friends who fill my heart with goat love and joy. If I want another goat I simply purchase a little doe. I hope your owner does not burn the barn down. Lucy, I wish you good health and sending lots of goat hugs and kisses.

    1. Please write what your plan included: which vitamins, meds, etc.

  4. So sorry to hear the news. You might want to check out "Natural Goat Care" by Pat Coleby... has info about how CAE is due to a mineral deficiency.... keep us posted...

  5. Thanks for all the encouragement. The farmer says she is formulating a plan so that I and the other goats can live long and happy. She hopes we don't get actively sick and is working hard to make sure we stay calm and not stressed out. She's going to breed us this fall and figure out what to do when we get closer to kidding. She would like to produce clean goats for sale and maybe one or two for keeping. Let's hope it all works out. Thanks!

  6. Glad to hear that the farmer is formulating a plan. I haven't had CAE goats but I did have CL (caseous lymphadenitis) goats, and many people think those should be immediately disposed of too, but I didn't do it. I treated their abscesses and managed them carefully and they had very few abscesses after I dealt with the first few. I think a lot of these things can be managed with care and attention.