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Caprine Arthritis and Encephalitis (CAE)

Caprine Arthritis and Encephalitis (CAE)

This disease has two forms: the arthritis (visible) and the encephalitis (internal). They both wreak havoc on dairy herds across the world. It causes, among other problems, painful arthritic joints, mastitis and decreased milk production. Once a goat has this disease, there is no cure. The disease will be passed from mother to kid through the milk and colostrum, but can also be passed from goat to goat through blood or milk.


Common ways of controlling the spread of CAE include culling, and pulling kids immediately at birth, not allowing the mother to touch or clean them at all, and then heat treating the colostrum and milk which is fed to the kids.


It is a straightforward process to keep a CAE free herd: only buy tested, clean animals from tested, clean herds. Always ask for current paperwork to show test status, and use your judgement wisely when purchasing stock. It is not possible to accurately test babies, so it is recommended waiting until young stock are a year old before testing. Testing the dam is not always an accurate indicator; a positive dam can give birth to a negative kid. If you wish to purchase from a non-tested herd, it it recommended that you quarantine and test twice at 30 day intervals, although this is not a fool-proof method for detecting CAE.


Merck Veterinary Manual – CAE