What to do with CAE positive goat

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Well, our doe's test came back a "weak positive" and I have no idea what to do. She is very thin and giving less than 2 quarts a day. We do plan to breed Nubians, there is a market for them here, the rest of the goats are very healthy, I have heat treated every drop of colosrom and milk her triplet does have gotten. But....???any opinions? Vicki, I know you had one in the past, what did you do? The gal I bought her from advertised a CAE free herd. She was thin from the time I got her, but I was trusting and well, a dumb new goat breeder. Can I ever sell goats? I just am at a loss. Anyway, thanks for any advice you all may have. Cara

-- Cara Dailey (daileyd@agalis.net), April 12, 2002


Cara, if I were you, I'd return the doe to the herd she came from. All the rest of your does are negative right? If you haven't tested them all, you need to; they can have this and look quite healthy. Anyway, if the rest of the herd tested positive (do you know where the blood was tested?), and there is just this one doe that is positive, and she is not something priceless and irreplaceable, send her on her way. Quarantining a single goat is a lot of expense and hassle, and IMHO not wirth it, unless the doe is very special (genetically). It will also help you sell stock if you can advertise your own herd as having all negative goats, with test results to prove it.

-- Rebekah (daniel1@itss.net), April 12, 2002.

Cara, sorry to hear of your situation. Unfortunately even the best of intentions between buyers and sellers can go wrong, and not always intentionally.

What do you mean by "weak positive?" Was the reading right on the line? From the description of the doe, she is obviously stressed and needs some TLC. The decision to manage a goat with CAE is a tough one to make and only you can make that decision. Many yrs ago folks had to manage the goats in order to perserve the bloodlines. To effectively manage CAE positive does you must seperate them and isolate in seperate facilities or pens. You are on the right track with prevention management by heat treating and pastruizing the milk.

Are her knees swollen or is she experiencing any respiratory troubles? Did you use WADDL or Texas A&M? (think thats it, Vicki will know) These 2 labs are most reliable.

To answer your question about selling goats, yes, you can sell, however make sure you mention the status of your herd upfront. Many folks will advertize and guarentee CAE free, but that is impossible. I would also recommend making a written sales agreement and signing and then notarizing. State in the contract that you make no explicit claims and set the deal in legal terms. Actually to protect yourself I would ask a lawyer to assist you in drawing it up. I would also recommend entering into such an agreement when buying goats. Leave nothing open, spell it all out. That way you are protected, and the buyer or seller. Also, be careful if you sell any goats with the understanding they are for culls, that can come back to bite you too if the individual buys with that intention and then changes his/her mind. Its the questions that are not asked that will haunt you down the road. I would suggest if you decide to sell goats and they may have CAE, or its questionable, to sell for slaughter. As heartless as that sounds its probably the most prudent thing to do with such animals.

As a buyer ask to see proof. And even then its not 100% accurate, there are the stories of folks testing their entire herds from the blood drawn of a neg goat. So even the test results may not be accurate. The endemics of CAE make it hard to actually get a reliable test results, the results can vary from test to test with some. I wish you well. CAE is not the end of the world if you choose to manage it. Its just going to make it spin a little differently for awhile, and hopefully it won't throw you into orbit.

-- Bernice (geminigoats@yahoo.com), April 12, 2002.

The quot-ee weak positive is just because that's what the vet told me. I belive the tests were done by WADDL. They recommended a retest in 4-8 weeks, but I don't really know what to do about quaranteening her. Options are limited! As far as culling her..my first thought was to put her down before she is hurting, but I don't know how long the disease process takes. Anyway, I'm just sad...she's an exceptionally sweet girl...that's why I couldn't change my mind about getting her. Well, such is the life of homesteaders?? Cara

-- Cara Dailey (daileyd@agalis.net), April 12, 2002.

The disease process can take anywheres from a few months to years. Stress, such as moving can trigger the symtoms to come out, such as respiratory, swollen knees and a rock hard udder. Do you know if she currently has a rock hard udder or freshened with one? You mnetion options are limited, what options might you have? If you can have her in a seperate stall and small pasture area that would be a start. Gosh, there is so much controversary about how CAE is transmitted. I recently read that even if you practice strict management that CAE can be transmitted in utero. CAE is usually transmitted via the milk, especially the colestrom. It can also be transmitted from blood to blood contact as in fighting. And some folks even say at shows with careless milk handling or other breeders. Or goats biting other goats in the ring or through pens.

Cara, what makes your situation so sad to me is the fact you read that and probably asked about being CAE free. Did the seller make assurances? Did they claim to be CAE free and you purchase this with that understanding? Was the deal done over the phone, e-mails or in person? Have you had a chance to discuss this in more depth with the seller? As you build your herd and get down the road you will experience both sides as many of us had, as buyers and sellers. There are no easy answers to your situation, however, good communication works best if possible. Have you contacted the seller? Is the seller willing to work this out?

I guess I could write a book called, "Lessons Learned" from both sides, I may one day. I completely understand how its easy to fall in love with a goats and you mentioned she was sweet. She has wormed her way into your heart and its going to mean a tough decision for you. Get all the information you can, make an imformed decision and that way you know in your mind you are doing what is best for you and your individual goals.

Your vet is right about re testing, but I can't for the life of me remember how long to wait before re testing, I think i read that you can get a false positive if you re test too soon. I do know that if you test for TB and then CAE shortly after that can result in a false positive. I don't have that information handy, i'll try to find it for you or maybe Vicki, Rebekah, Dennis or someone else will know.

In the meantime I would suggest minimizing stress, giving her a good healthy diet and TLC. I am also wondering if she may be thin because she is wormy? Has she kidded recently? These factors can play in to it too. If you need information on CAE I will try to find what I ahve and e-mail it to you privately.

-- Bernice (geminigoats@yahoo.com), April 12, 2002.

A suspect or weak positive may account for a kid who has drank pasturised milk from a positive doe, but a suspect or weak positive is positive nonetheless in an adult doe. A doe with a nice udder and no symptoms, which is what the doe I had test positive was, is worth the hassel to keep and glean good kids off of. I gave her to a loving home who had other positive does. Back in the early 90's when nearly my entire younger population, from pooling colostrum and milk to the kids, was positive, I had no choice but to quaranteen them for life together, heat treat and pasturise negative milk, then raised their kids seperatly. We even brought in positive permanant champions purchased for a song, because they knew they would go to a good home who would use them, sorry to say most folks simply destoyed their herds. If it is a younger doe, with very little value to you in your program than yes I would put her down. But not until you have tested everyone, because if you don't test you don't know, and she may end up with some pen mates. Get really good breeding dates, hand breed them only, super glue the ends of the teats over the orifice and glean the kids off of them, let them nurse their bucks for meat, but try to have negative milkers to heat treat and pasturise the milk from to raise the kids. Without controls in place that are obvious to buyers you will not sell stock! I am more concerned with folks management that I buy from, and their attitude about CAE rather than them testing and touting CAE negative for the last 8 years. That is only true if you are testing the goats you are selling, after the stress! Heat treating and pasturising gives you better milkers period! You are heat treating away alot more problems than just CAE. Vicki

-- Vicki McGaugh TX (Nubians) (vickilonesomedoe@hotmail.com), April 12, 2002.

Let's see, I'll try to answer all the questions...Her udder is good. She is giving progressively more milk, but now I'm thinking she needs dried off? To strengthen her as well as not take the chance with the kids getting milk that may be unsafe.

I did buy her understanding she was CAE free...even talked to the lady twice since I brought her home,and it came up (just in conversation)and she said something to the effect of "you'll never have that with her." She advertised as free but I didn't get a health certificate. It's on the list now:) As far as talking to her, I was a little too upset today. I most likely would've blubbered on the phone...girls are silly sometimes:)

She kidded on the 20th of March and she's been wormed twice since. She is back on her feed and kickin around like it's spring!

So....I guess the plan needs to be, either give her to someone who has a positive place for her or pen her separate. And test the kids in 6 months. Darrin says that we can still do this whole breeding thing, we just have to clean up and start over. Damage control. The good thing is that it is starting out as a fun thing for us and if it takes a little longer for the serious side to get going, well, we can only manage the best we can. Tonight, though, the plan needs to be a good night's sleep and get past the emotion of this set back in my big plans. And I'm sure tomorrow, I'll be able to read all your messages with a little less clutter in my brain. Thanks, all.

-- Cara Dailey (daileyd@agalis.net), April 13, 2002.

I think I need more education on CAE. It's my understanding that the test has a "threshold" count that determines whether a goat is negative/positive. Thus, I can understand a "weak" positive. We've accumulated all our does from CAE free herds in the last 5 or 6 months. We practice heat treating/pastuerization with the kids, but no goat will be sold for breeding until all the herd has been tested again. But I will not be at all surprised to find that some negative does we've bought to show positive after the stress of moving, new home, different rations etc. Stress being the factor for their count escalating to a positive designation. If this happens, they'll be isolated, but still milked, separately, since our buyer condenses and cans the milk. Am I wrong in this assumption that there will be "clean up" to do even though all does tested negative before we bought them? I think it'll be a hassle, but not the end of the world.

The worry in the back of my mind is that we'll all end up eliminating all positive goats who have been asymtomatic for years, showing resistance to CAE, and end up with a gene pool that has no resistance. Just as my Cherokee ancestors had no resistance to diseases Europeans, my other ancestors, brought with them when they settled here. Does anyone know if there are studies to breed CAE resistant goats as we develop disease resistant plants? Accelerate natural selection?

It's a difficult and many faceted subject. I'm all ears for more information. I try to learn at least three new things every day.


-- Dennis Enyart (westwoodcaprine@yahoo.com), April 13, 2002.

Cara, how long have you owned this doe? Have all the other goats been tested? There is the possibilty that she really was CAE free when you bought her, and caught it from a goat at your place, for example, by giving two does a shot with the same syringe and needle, or if the doe took a sip of milk from the bucket when your back was turned, or even from fighting or biting. The goat probably was positive when you bought her, but there is no way to know for sure, until the rest of your herd tests negative. I would test them all first before talking with the breeder, because the first thing she will ask is whether your other goats are positive or not.

About resistance to CAE, I thought it was a lentivirus, very closely related to AIDS, and like AIDS, very few have any immunity or resistance to it. The problem I see with selecting based on resistance, is how do we differentiate between goats that have natural resistance, and those who simply haven't been stressed enough to come down with symptoms?

-- Rebekah (daniel1@itss.net), April 13, 2002.

Know what you mean Rebekah, that's why I hope this is studied, and we definitive answers. With AIDS a person can be HIV positive but asymtematic for decades. Not diagnosed with AIDS unless the cell count crosses a theshold. Maybe that's what I'm thinking of. Joe's the goat man, I'm the unpaid help. Anyway, we keep up the CAE free practices unitl further notice!


-- Dennis Enyart (westwoodcaprine@yahoo.com), April 13, 2002.

Hi Dennis, buying from a reputable person with CAE tests in hand is the way to go, but re-testing them at your place would be the best. Have the contract state that you have 60 days to retest and that all animals testing positive are cheerfully refunded! That is how I do it here. A reputable breeder wants a good percentage of their stressed, sold to other farms, goats tested, it is the ONLY reliable way you can find out what exactly is going on at your farm.

And I do agree with you and we have talked about this many times. Many of us started with CAE positive does, who were in their teens, who though being positive never showed any symptoms of CAE. How do we know that we shouldn't have been using their colostrum raw on all the kids, making a herd of CAE positive animals, yet animals that were never going to be symptomatic, because of perhaps an immunity passed from this dam? Problem is we can never know because it would put you out of the goat selling business to even try it! Vicki

-- Vicki McGaugh TX (vickilonesomedoe@hotmail.com), April 15, 2002.

We've had the weekend to contemplate the situation with our Poppy. We are thinking of keeping her, separate of course and wethering our buck kid to be her companion. We weren't sure if we were going to wether him, but since the rest of our plan is to put our breeding program on hold for a year, this will be good. Our son also wanted to train him to be a cart goat, so he's got his goat.

Anyway, we'll test everyone later in the summer before we breed anyone, and see where we stand then. We have only tested her (Rebbekah) and are waiting til everyone has time to come up positive who is, before we make anymore decisions. If we end up with more positives, most likely we'll just plan to breed only for home milk production for at least one more year, then, once again, re-evaluate where we stand on being real breeders then. Basically what this has done is put us back a long ways, but we are still learning. She is a doe of good breeding and has a great disposition and throws kids with good dispositions too. So we would like to have negative kids from her. We'll see if the heat-treating did the job.

Here's my new questions....How far from the rest does she need to be? Should I dry her up now and see if I can get her in shape to breed next fall? Ugh...this is such a bummer. Is it a sign we shouldn't be doing this or a test to see if we're tough enough to hack it???:) Thanks everyone. Cara

-- Cara Dailey (daileyd@agalis.net), April 15, 2002.

It's a test to see if you're tough enough to hack it. :-) A lot of people aren't, they'd just give up and go out of goats, or say 'well, CAE isn't important, it doesn't matter, who cares, we can never get rid of it', and they breed and infect lots of other goats and sell them.

She should be quanrantined by at least 10 feet OR a solid, impervious wall too high for her to look over when standing on hind legs. Water buckets should never be shared, neither should feed pans. I do not even share milking stands. Positive milk should be kept away from where kids could ever get it, do not pasteurize it for the kids- just in case something goes wrong and it doesn't get hot enough-, and other goats should never be allowed anywhere near where the positive animals are milked or where the milk could have spilled. They could lick the milk and get infected, or if it spills while carrying the milk across the pasture, could graze on that grass, etc. Tattoo digits and hoof knives, and anything else that draws blood- especially needles and syringes- should be disinfected with bleach. Use the needles and syringes once and then throw them out. After milking a positive doe, or letting her lick your hands, wash hands well before going to negative animals. Better yet, work with the negative animals first, and then the positive one. I have my negative does about 300 feet from the main barn, this way, even if sopmeone escapes the pen, accidents are less likely to occur. And the pen is near the house so I can watch them closely at kidding time.

-- Rebekah (daniel1@itss.net), April 15, 2002.

Sorry, I meant that my POSITIVE does are a long way from the main barn! ;-)

-- Rebekah (daniel1@itss.net), April 15, 2002.

hi, I was reading about cae.. very informative..is it ok for humans to drink cae pos raw milk? I'm new to goats and have been told ok to drink...

-- joanne wilson (mercyfarms@aol.com), May 21, 2002.

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