CAE catastrophe : LUSENET : Freedom! self reliance : One Thread

Well, I sent in the blood for a CAE test on all our mature goats about a week ago. I thought they'd all be negative, as I've been really careful about who I buy stock from, and my foundation animals have always been negative. I had a really nasty surprise- two of the top animals in our herd, the keystones of our breeding program, are positive, as well as an additional less important doe, and all the kids who've nursed on the positive does or been bottle fed their milk. It came from a doe who I bought from a very reputable breeder, that was supposed to be CAE negative. She'd been seperated at birth, bottle fed pasteurized milk, the whole nine yards. All the other positive animals are ones that have drunk her milk at some point.

I haven't decided yet whether to sell them or quarantine them from the rest of the herd. I've been praying about it and hoping to do the right thing. It just goes to show that when you buy you need to see the negative test results, in your hand, and even then you might get the occasional shock. Best not to buy from more than one breeder, the more people you buy from the greater chance of having the disease in your herd.

-- Rebekah (, May 03, 2001


I'm sooooo sorry... I know that you'll come up with the right answer - hope your prayers are answered soon. Thanks, too, for the advice - something I will be sure to remember when the time comes -

-- Sue Diederich (, May 03, 2001.

Rebekah, I know exactly how you feel. It really isn't as terrible as it seems right now. I have been dealing with it in mine, and I can tell you for certain that a negative test once is NO guarantee regarding a later test. I'll write you more on this later, just wanted to let you know that you are not the only one. God bless.

-- Doreen (, May 03, 2001.

Sorry to learn of your troubles Rebekah.Don't cull your top breeder before you get a second test.(sometimes labs screw up)Get yourself a real pasteuriser if you don't already own one.Even if your doe IS positive you can still get some nice kids from her.It really sucks to have animals sometimes.I guess I should get mine tested now just to see how lucky or unlucky I have been.

-- greg (, May 03, 2001.

Hey again, now what the general problem with CAE is is that an animal can test neg and then after some kind of stress, ie. moving or kidding, or an injury turn up positive. I have a doe that was from a CAE- herd for at least 5 years, dam raised because of the neg status, kidded, and blew up positive. She is asymptomatic as are all of my goats. I feed them very well, try to make sure they aren't unduly stressed, augment with feed on my does with ID-1, which is an immune system enhancer and they are all just healthy. The vet here told me that at least 85% of the goats in Texas are CAE+. He has moved on to a different clinic, but the guy was really into goats and he had raised them in the past.

The trick is to keep them asymptomatic. There are does who are CAE+ for 10 years or more that are still asymptomatic and healthy. If you want CAE- status, you have NO choice but to bottle raise exclusively. That is the only kind of prevention, and that is even iffy as people have told me their bottle raised goats turned up pos after kidding.

CAE is manageable. It isn't all that tough to deal with. WAY better than CL, to be honest. I had them both in my first doe, and the CL was a bear. But all of mine are CL- now, thank the Lord.

As far as seperating them goes, that's up to you. Probably would be the best thing to do, but it depends on whther you can afford it or not...both time and money. Selling is a double edged sword too. If you sell you have to tell the buyer about the CAE so that they can be sure to pay good attention to the health of the animal, and to take the kids away at birth. Anything less would be just pushing the problem off on someone.

I decided that I would keep all of mine and snatch at birth and bottle raise. I couldn't bear to sell CAE+ goats to some little 4H'r and have the goat go full blown because a lack of feed knowledge. Just my personal take on it. Also, if down the line a goat would come up pos I will take it back providing they are still CL free.

The vets and all don't seem to know as much about CAE as they think. It seems to me that it's like a latent genetic predisposition that gets brought out by stress. How else do you explain bottle raised and all suddenly turning pos after a move?

Rebekah, if you want the feed mix I have just let me know and I will post it here. Vicki helped me work it out. I really like the way it's working and it isn't too expensive either. I can get 500 or 1000+ pounds at a time and the goats love it. Good luck with your decisions, and I will pray for you on this as well. God bless!

-- Doreen (, May 03, 2001.

Doreen, thanks for the info and sympathy! I think the way that bottle raised kids get it is through some overlooked bit of carelessness on the part of the breeder. For example, a shot given using a needle on two different animals. Or tattooing all the kids with the same letters without rinsing them in bleach solution between kids. Simply being housed with a positive animal (who then seroconverts to negative before the next test). Or a positive doe chomps on the ear of a negative doe. If there is one positive animal in the herd, the whole herd then becomes suspect, and especially if the positive doe is milking. Our product here is registered breeding stock, the milk is just a by-product that I have to figure out something to do with it all. Even if I decide to sell or quarantine the positive animals, it'll take me years to be certain that the main herd doesn't have it lurking around, too. It'd be easier just to sell everyone off and start over from scratch... The last thing I want to do is to cause somebody else the kind of heartache that I've just experienced, by selling them an animal that comes up positive, especially if they have had to fly it halfway across the country. There is a homeopathic treatment that supposedly kills not only CAE but AIDS, both the same type of virus. So I'm considering isolating these animals and using them for an experiment to see if it really works. Of course they will be quarantined for the rest of their lives.

-- Rebekah Leaf (, May 04, 2001.

Rebekah, I'm very sorry to heat that your goats were affected. I'm also interested to hear what the results of your experiment might me, although I know that the process may be very long-term. Both Rebekah and Doreen, Is it true that CAE does not affect the milk for human comsumption, and if so, how are the goats affected? I've touched on the subject with a couple of breeders, but I get a sort of "glossed over" version, mainly centering around "ours are negative". Randy and I are looking for a milk goat or two, but we'd like to know more about the effects of CAE for all concerned. We're not planning to show or breed for sale- however, I also don't want to end up with an animal in pain from a disease I don't Know how to deal with. Thanks in advance for any info either of you is able to provide.

-- Kristin, in La. (, May 04, 2001.

Kristin, get a negative animal! Start off on the right foot! :) Buy from a reputable breeder, preferably one with registered animals. (They aren't always expensive). Ask for proof- negative CAE test results on paper, in your hand- for the last few years, before buying anything! If they are relucytant to provide such evidence, shop elsewhere. If they are dishonest about this, they'll be lying about other important stuff as well.

What I have heard is that drinking CAE positive milk can depress the immune system. I can't give proof, and I don't know exactly where I read it, but it does make sense. You need a healthy animal to get health giving milk.

-- Rebekah (, May 04, 2001.

Well Rebekah, I'm going to disagree with you.:) I have read extensively on it, including a bazillion things Bernice from the CS forum sent me when I found out about mine last spring. I DO agree that it is MUCH MUCH more desirable to have neg stock, however, there seems to be proof that the antibodies a CAE+, symptomatic neg, milker helps build up the immune system. There have been some studies done regarding t cells and aids patients. Kind of like the poison ivy innoculation, I guess.

Like I said before, although it gets swept under the rug all the time, herds that have been CAE- for years and years sell a goat that when she is moved to another CAE- for years herd goes pos. People just refuse to be open and honest about it because of the stigma associated with CAE. It doesn't help matters for all the goats that folks do this to preserve a status that exists only the minds of people. I don't mean to say that everyone who moves a goat ends up pos, as that certainly isn't the case, but there is not enough known about it because people keep on hiding the evidence and goats aren't a giant economic ag segemnt. I think full disclosure is the best thing at all times with this, but people want to protect their finances, of course, and since the stigma exists, they hide it.

Are you thinking of the CAE formula from Diana (herbal 7 farms, I think)? I looked into that, but didn't get it. Sounded "too good to be true", but maybe it does work... That would be fabulous! Let me know how it goes, and really, I do wish you the best!!

-- Doreen (, May 05, 2001.

I am hoping I'm not too late to get some info here. We just tested our goats and came up with 2 positives. We were looking for info about how to deal with it & came across this site. We were hoping Doreen wouldn't mind sending us the feed recipe she uses. What is there about it that makes it good for CAE pos. goats?

Thanks Al Vermeer Everson, WA

-- Al Vermeer (, July 03, 2001.

Hi Al, you're not too late. Vicki helped me with this, but I had to use some different ingredients. The thing about most premix feeds is that they usually use some kind of animal protein in it. You will need to still feed minerals free choice. I haven't been able to find any loose minerals that don't have animal fat in them. Also there are some immune system enhancers that you can give. I have used ID-1 and I use pro Bios anytime any goat seems a tic off. The main thing is to try to give them the best nutrition that you possibly can. I recently have started to feed some beet pulp and kelp as a top dressing as well. of course nothing is ever perfect, but you come as close as you can to a 15% digestible protein mix that the girls will actually eat. They don't particularly like a whole bowl of soybean meal :smile:

Here's what I use:

Feed formula for Goats per hundred weight

Soybean Oil Meal................................ 15 lbs x.30= 4.5

Alfalfa pellets (non dyed).................. 20 lbs x.17= 3.4

Crimped Corn.................................... 10 lbs x .067=.67

Crimped oats.................................... 15lbs x.094= 1.41

Calf Kick........................................... 9 lbs x .24= 2.16

Black Sunflower Seed........................ 20 lbs x .139= 2.78

Molasses (no LPS)............................. 10 lbs

Salt.................................................. 1 lb 14.92% digestible protein

You also might want to check out and look for the copper articles. They are really interesting....I'm also having trouble finding a mineral mix with a higher copper content in my area, but I think I can get it about an hour away, so since I don't need tons of the stuff around, it won't be that inconvenient. Best of luck, and if you run into troubles, please feel free to post your questions here. We'll do the best we can!

-- Doreen (, July 03, 2001.

You really can't stress the STRESS quotient and goats with CAE enough. You simply have to treat them with kid gloves or your next bout will be symptoms. They should have a good feed mix that concentrates on minerals, real protein, everything they need so they are not lacking. Like Doreen said, immune inhancers, ID-1 etc, and correct levels of copper are really important. Correct worming procedures so they do not become anemic. And even with all this care they are simply more prone to pnemonia, runny noses, parasites and hoof problems (sounds like another immune difficency problem!)

Once a doe becomes symptomatic you can use the same type of arthritic type herbs with MSM that we use for ourselves. I wouldn't pen a single doe away from the herd, but I would with a group. I would also use maternity pens, since transmission in a group of adult does is more than likely with birth fluids, and placentas.

The reason we are having CAE problems isn't just because of breeders, it is mostly because we do not yet understand the disease. With CAE killed with any contact to air, you would have to trim a bloody hoof and go on to the next one nearly immediatly with blood dripping. You would have to aspirate blood in a syringe and nearly immediatly inject it into the next goat. I think us transmitting this, other than feeding raw products, or letting children have control over the milking, pasturising and feeding of the kids, is not happening. And just like human moms who pass the HIV and German Measles virus to their children in utero, this is plausable as a means for transmission in our goats. I have been around the goat industry for a very long time, and there are very few farms that walk the walk. Untrimmed feet, filthy barnyards, if nobody is taking the time to trim feet, you really think they are pasturising, catching kids at birth?

Having a negative test, like being negative for HIV, is a test for today only. CAE- also does not mean you don't have the disease latent in the body, with no titer in the blood yet. Stress the doe with a sale, or kidding, and the 2 does I have purchased that did convert, did so after purchase and after their first kidding, both does were picked up on our routine tests of colostrum, and this latent disease escalates into full blowen CAE. The real problem with CAE in your milk stock is the devistation it does with the udder. Gone are the days where all the symptoms we saw were swollen knees and hocks.

I simply will not buy stock from somebody who doesn't pasturise (anymore:) I test everything as it comes to our place, quaranteen until they kid and retest after kidding. No matter what anyone says about the reliability of the colostrum test that Pan American uses I will always send in colostrum their, it may not be in the blood, but the virus is in the colostrum, and I have two such tests at my house to prove this! Vicki

-- Vicki McGaugh (, July 03, 2001.

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