CAE Facts? : LUSENET : Dairygoats : One Thread

Let me see if I have the facts straight on CAE.It is a viral disease passed through colostrum and milk.Causes crippling artheritis and hard udders so little milk.The afflicted animal usually must be put down.The virus does not cross the placenta to the unborn fetus. Now some questions.Can an infected buck pass this on?Can a goat have the disease for any length of time without showing any symptoms? I have read in The Complete Herbal Handbook For Farm and Stable that the author has successfully used herbs to treat this disease.Don't take it as absolute truth, but is interesting.Has anybody any experiance with this?

-- VickiP. (, December 31, 2001


Everyone will have their own way with dealing with the CAE. I did some reaserch on it (lots) and came to the conclusion that this will allways be present in goats no matter what we do.

Some of the facts that I found I'm not sure if I believe because it seems that there would be more information out there if it was true. There are 7 or 8 different kinds of cae. One paper stated that goats raised on pasturized milk have a higher chance of catching it as an older goat since they won't have any natural antibodies and it can be transfered by blood. (shared needles in your herd, wounds etc.)

Not all goats that test positive will show symptoms. They just are showing that sometime, either thru their mother or other source that they were exposed to CAE and that they have it in their immune system.

A neighbor had a positive doe who's kids were left on her. Kidding was 4 years ago and this doe has shown no signs of active CAE. Both her kids are CAE neg. also. (Tests were run up in WA) Other goats that test positive have later test neg. if fed a good diet that boosts their immune system. Studies on this are still too new to see if these does will test positive again or not.

As for me I haven't had any positive does on the property and I don't take chances with getting it. It's up to everyone to decide what they want to do with their animals. In our area people just don't want to test their herd since it costs so much. Their attitude is so what if they loose a goat or two out of a hundred. Cheaper then having the tests done. This is not my attitude and it's hard to digest this type of thinking but then I only have 9 goats.

I feel that it's best to purchase neg. animals and try to keep your herd neg. by proper animal husbandry and testing.

I must have been up on a soap box since I usually don't get this worked up about a post!!! :) Have a great day everyone.

-- shari (, December 31, 2001.

I look at CAE like HIV and AIDS. A CAE positive or HIV positive animal/person does not automatically go on to have full blowen symptoms or disease. Yes I think most animals with the E Encephilitic form of the disease are put down (part of the disease we have never seen), and with a hard udder (which ironically is a very new change to CAE never seen in the past) it ruins the usefullness of the animal so they are put down, but we maintained our CAE positive does years back, for years with the A- arthritic form of CAE. Many many of our positive does never had any symptoms. And there is the rub, why not use the colostrum raw from the CAE positive does who have NO symptoms and even at 14 years still had no symptoms? Well besides running you out of business ;), perhaps it would have given us goats with, Yes antibodies which would show positive on test, but perhaps they are antibodies that keep the doe well. Lots of us feel that just like HIV and German Measles pass the placental barrier, so does CAE, in some cases. No I don't think a buck passes CAE during breeding, but then I wouldn't pen breed him anyway, I would only hand breed him and only let him breed the doe once. This would limit the spread of white blood cells if the first penetration of the buck broke the skin of the doe. We fed our does Glucosomine and Chondroiton for years to help them stay mobile, and perhaps with the new herbs you could have a complete remission of the symptoms, and maybe the disease like they do with AIDS, but it isn't a cure, stop the drugs and it comes right back, just like with CL. She may not have any abscess that you can see but it is right there to pop up again if you stress her! Vicki

-- Vicki McGaugh TX (, December 31, 2001.

Vicki, what herbs specifically does this author say can treat CAE? And by treating, does the author maintain it can be cured, that is, produce CAE negative results from a previous positive? I'm sure a lot of us would be most interested in this approach. BTW, what year was this book written? Thanks for this great info, as always.

-- Lynn (, December 31, 2001.

Hi, VickiP.with the herbal info here. The book I am refering to was first written in 1952. my copy is the 4th edition written in 1991. The author states she used;garlic,rue,wormwood or southernwood,sage,rosemary,and cloves.However as I said this should not be taken as a proven treatment.Also rue can cause sensitivity to sunlight and wormwood or southernwood are uterine stimulents so may cause abortion.The author also claimed this treated rabies and foot and mouth.Sage, rosemary and garic are safe but may flavor milk so should be fed at milking. They will clear the system by the next milking.

-- VickiP. (, January 01, 2002.

There is also a gal Diana M (Mauseau or something like that) that has a herbal goat list over on she also has mixtures which cure CAE and CL and Johnees. No comment ;) Bernice should know that name of the list. Vicki

-- Vicki McGaugh TX (, January 01, 2002.

Good points from Vicki and i agree with her on this. CAE is not cureable, it can however be managed and the doe can live a long life if not heavily stressed, you can also preserve the bloodlines through heat treating colestrum and pasturizing the milk.

I beg to differ thought with the information about it not crossing over in uteru, it can be and many of my freidns who strictly manage CAE with their positive does said that despite their best efforts it can be trasnmitted. it can aslo be from milking goats with CAE and negs with the same milking machine if not properly cleaned. A dear friend who practices strict CAE says it just takes one drop of not only blood but milk as well. Her biggest concern is the handling of the positive does in the ring by judgesa nd then the judge touching the next doe without cleaning, but most jusdges use the hand sanitizers.

I have read in an recetn Dairy Goat Journal that CAE can be transmitted via semen from a + buck, but then the flip side is the research hasn't been proven to fact yet. But I am wary.

The herbal treatments for CAE/CL and Johnnes are available at 7M farm which halso ahs a talk list at yahoogroups. Their addy is or farms, forgot which. the information on their formulas are there as well on the site. If memory serves me rith Diana points out its not a cure but puts CAE in remission. Now she wrote an interesting article on how CAE/Cl begins, she says its in the rumen and in many cases from too much molasses in the feed. She claims that no molasses works better for all the goats. I tried to find the article in my files but I can't find it now. But if you go to and look in the messafge archives and type in on search CAE/CL it sould come up or e-mail the list and ask Diana for her article.

-- Bernice (, January 01, 2002.

I've been surfing all different goat websites, from all over. I remember reading about CAE on one site (don't recall which one) that the breeders do not remove kids from the dams at birth because it is against their "religion". It did expand on this.

Hmmm.... Any ideas what religion that might be? Could it be the "It's too much work for me to do-religion"?

-- Charleen with Obies in WNY (, January 03, 2002.

Oh, that darn keyboard again,

Should have said "It did NOT expand on this."


-- Charleen in WNY (, January 03, 2002.

Might have been me, on Countryside. There is a verse in the bible that commands not to remove kids, lambs, etc, from their mother until they are eight days old. Has _nothing_ to do with being too much work!

-- Rebekah (, January 03, 2002.

Charleen, or she will not bottle the kids unless an emergency because it is against her religion. She doesn't expound on it, but maybe she would if you asked her. I would love to know also! Vicki

-- Vicki McGaugh TX (, January 04, 2002.

Rebekah and Vicki McG-

I had absolutely no idea that this really was biblically based. I realize now that my comment was out of line. Please forgive my assumption.

Certainly, if a breeder is absolutely sure that the dam is cae negative, the kids may safely nurse. But, I know of many breeders that do not practice ANY cae preventative practices (for reasons known only to them) and it is quite frustrating to see their animals suffer because of the owner's neglect or carelessness.

Yes, I have some cae+ goats in my herd that have come from others. For those that are born here, I am present at every birth and remove kids immediately. They are given heat treated colostrum, and pastuerized milk (very careful about temps). Hard decisions are made regarding the fate of the positive mothers.

When any new goat owners or potential goat owners have come to our farm, (usually 4H kids) I am always sure to show Kelsey to them. She's a cae+ obie that is about 2 years old. She freshened last spring with a nicely attached udder, but congested. I took her to her first show last summer and it stressed her so badly that I feel guilty. She now walks hunch-backed and her front knees have swollen. We give her glucosamine/chondroiten daily and I have seen her pain lessen with it. I use her as an example to (hopefully) teach the importance of cae management.

-- Charleen in WNY (, January 04, 2002.

Now your Kelsey is exactly the reason I KEEP my cae+ does. Praise God, none of my does are symptomatic, however last year when Slinky freshened,it was rough. It was a tough delivery of 5-7 pound triplet bucklings, and afterwards one of her knees became a bit swollen and she had a slightly hard udder. After about two weeks of a bit of nursing on my part and lots of probios she returned to her normal snotty self ;). As long as they are not symptomatic and in lots of pain I will keep them. I should give them to someone, and start myself off right, but I fear for their health because of stress, and also lack of knowledge about the disease on the part of both myself and a new owner.

I have learned soooo much about goats because of this unpleasant beginning. Probably much more than I would have had I not had to deal with these illnesses and their contingent issues. The paramount thing is to minimize stress and keep the nutrition as good as possible and they can live happy and productive albeit shorter lives.

From all of the reading I have done, I don't think that there is ANY way to make certain that a doe will always be negative. A massive stress and blammo- you have a positive. Nor is there as much certainty that CL will not be an issue to deal with. It's all over, and it just needs the right circumstances to proliferate. Of course if you keep your herd clean of the outright disease it is a great minimizer, but the bacterium are present virtually everywhere.

So I guess I agree with whomever said that it will always be an issue for goatkeepers. There are things to do to stop the unmitigated spread of the disease, but to eradicate completely is nigh impossible. Even in England where they killed so many goats to stop the disease it is still present in 3% of the goat populace.

My philosophy is to err on the side of caution and treat all goats as if they are positive. I even bottle fed these bucklings last year and found them a home as pets for brush clearing and entertainment value. Had I not bottle fed them I wouldn't have let them go for pets.

-- Doreen (, January 04, 2002.

Charleen it's pretty tough to offend me! Well perhaps talk ugly about my goats or children :) Vicki

-- Vicki McGaugh TX (, January 04, 2002.

Charleen, that's OK, I am not offended. All I can say about CAE is that I dam raised for years on negative does that had been born into negative herds, and didn't have CAE from that. Then I bought a doe that had been bottle fed with pasteurized milk but run with positive does, she tested positive, so we butchered her. The rest of the herd stayed negative. We bought a kid for my son, from a 'guaranteed negative herd' and she was positive, my son was certainly upset when we got rid of her. The rest of the herd was still all negative. Then I bought a large group of does from a good breeder who pasteurized, etc, and all these does were negative except one, this doe had been born to a positive doe but pulled at birth and raised pasteurized, she was positive nonetheless. All my original herd was still negative, some of that year's kids had been fed milk from this positive doe and her daughter (dam raised here, and also positive). I've now quarantined the positive does, it just wasn't feasible to destroy them. I am getting ready to do another CAE test on the rest of the herd, but from what I can see, if the kids were REALLY negative and raised carefully in a negative herd, they can dam raise for generations without getting CAE. It seems to me that keeping a herd CAE free is much easier than getting rid of it for certain, because even the extensive labor or all that heat treating and pasteurizing can be in vain, but may not be detected for years- by which time it can have infected many other goats. Just my 2 cents.

-- Rebekah (, January 05, 2002.

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