CAE : LUSENET : Dairygoats : One Thread

Thanks for the replies to the hoof trimming question. The web sites were very helpful. I think that is a chore that I can easily handle. My next question is about CAE. What is it exactly? A virus? How does it affect the health of the goat? Is milk from a positive doe ok to drink? I have read a lot about prevention, but would like to know more about what exactly it is. Thanks, Jan

-- (, January 20, 2002


It's a virus that acts very much like AIDS in that it is a retrovirus. What it does is essentially weakens the immune system and causes the following symptoms when it is active:

1) In kids, it can cause encephalitis. Very sad and you have to put them down.

2) In adults, it can cause swollen knees, arthritis, dull coat, very hard udder after freshening with very little milk, thinness, general unthriftiness, and weakened immune system.

Folks have different opinions on whether or not the milk is safe to drink. I have read several studies that say it actually may be quite beneficial to have a sero positive/ symptomatic negative doe's milk to drink. It seems the antibodies in her milk are winning the battle as she is asymptomatic therefore the milk is lending you the winning antibodies. Some studies have shown benefits to people with aids drinking this milk.

My does are cae+, symptomatic neg and I generally have a very strong immune system. My friend calls me the camel of people! (luckily she's a good friend, or that could be considered a tic insulting;). Anyway, the trick is keeping them asymptomatic if you have it. It is much better to not have it!

Hope that helps!

-- Doreen (, January 20, 2002.

I've always believed that CAE was not in any way contagious to humans until I explored the subject on various internet sites. Now, I to say that internet sites can be just a collection of well passed-on rumors and CAE rumors wouldn't make it onto any of the debunking sites! However, the second doe I ever milked came from a farm that I know had a CAE positive herd. The couple who own this herd have only had their own goat milk to drink all their lives and they both have severe arthritis. I realize that the actions involved in goatkeeping can result in arthritis without even considering anything being passed on in the milk, but it does make you wonder. Has anyone ever heard of any real research done (where you can site the source and it's a reliable one) that offers a valid goat/human link with CAE or am I being paranoid?

-- Sheryl in Me (, January 20, 2002.

If there was a link between CAE and arthritis in humans, Johnnes in cattle/goats and Chrones in humans, it would be on the major sites, and a very large deal. Like scrapie, the government would be all involved since OPP in sheep is very much the same as CAE. But I do think CL will be next. Vicki

-- Vicki McGaugh TX (, January 21, 2002.

Vicki, Would you clarify the part about believing CL will be next?

-- Judy Corwin VA Nubians (, January 21, 2002.

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