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CAE

 
Thekla McDaniels
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Location: Grand Valley of Colorado's Western Slope
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Could we get a discussion here about the pros and cons of the CAE free herd?

I wanted CAE free because my local mentor has a CAE free herd. I know that some people think CAE positive only an indication that at one time the goat was exposed to the virus. If she tests positive and does not ever develop symptoms of the disease, that particular goat has some immunity, of some kind, or a stronger immune system, or any number of unidentified strengths.

I bought from CAE free closed herds, but not my mentor because she does not have Nubians. I had the two does I bought tested, and they tested negative. I have two doelings out of one of those tested negative does, but the doe herself was "psychogoat" and not an easy hand milker, poorly attatched udder, with teats shaped such that her kids could NOT nurse. I milked her and bottle fed the babies because otherwise they would have starved to death. Nothing worked well with psychogoat, so I sold her with full disclosure of her many challenges. The buyers like her fine, and we are on good terms.

I decided that buying cheap does with poor conformation was a bad idea and would not save me money in the end. I bought two beautiful Nubian doelings from a CAE free herd, a reputable breeder. being new to goat keeping, I did not quarantine, and I could not test the doelings until they were much older. I did not require documentation that the herd was CAE free. I trusted the seller.

Now that it is time to breed, I tested the expensive doelings more because my mentor had said she would teach me how to draw their blood, and I could send the samples directly to the lab. It was not expensive, and I gained new skills. It was more a formality than anything else. I thought negative tests on the two doelings would provide confirmation for the seller that her herd AND her friend's herd were CAE free.

Now you must see where this is heading. Yesterday, I got the results back on these two beautiful and expensive doelings. They're CAE positive. I called my mentor, who told me what to ask the lab to get some idea if these were borderline results, and no, they are double the control number. Both of them.

So, the seller is devastated, because her healthy appearing productive and beautiful goats are NOT CAE free, nor is it likely that the one other herd her goats are regularly exposed to -- and were also believed to be CAE free-- are actually CAE free.

The seller has offered me full buy back price. But I've raised these goats with care, and I love them. I have planned to establish a herd from their descendants, and I don't really want to start all over next spring with new doelings.

I will have to decide in the next few days whether to wipe the herd clean and start again, or to go forward with the animals who've grown up here, grown up together, get along, are healthy and happy and love me, who just happen to be CAE positive.

There is a lot of information out there about reasons to be CAE free, but they seem all to be about what happens to the goat who develops the disease. Pain, neurological deterioration, decreased milk production.

Borrowing an example from small pox/cow pox: long ago, when humanity had recurring small pox epidemics, it was discovered that having had cow pox provided an immunity to small pox. Cow pox was not a dangerous or painful condition, mostly developed by the dairy maids of the era. Once it was discovered, then people saw the value of cow pox. Just because we don't understand it yet, does it really mean that a CAE positive test is an indication of an unhealthy goat?

Psychogoat's babies are not quite old enough to test yet, but I don't have much hope that they will be CAE negative, after having spent 6 months in the rotation enclosures with the expensive goats.

I realize that for many this will be a cautionary tale. Quarantine all new additions. Require recent testing when buying new stock.

I'm considering keeping the girls, but would like to have some awareness about the ramifications of the decision I am going to be making.

So, thanks for reading this far. What I'm hoping I can get from you goat people is your thinking on CAE, and is it really that big a deal.

Who tests for it and WHY, who knowingly keeps CAE positive tested goats and WHY, and who doesn't test at all, and WHY.

Thanks so much.

Thekla
 
R Scott
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Location: Kansas Zone 6a
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Don't test, don't care. As you have seen, it only takes one tiny slip up to ruin it all.

We go for overall strength. We don't vaccinate or medicate and build our herd based on all-around parasite and disease resistance. Not saying they don't carry something or EVERYTHING, just that they have strong enough immunity to deal with it.

There are some diseases that matter, like those hog viruses that will wipe out half your herd in a week. But many don't really matter to the health of the herd. IT'S JUST MARKETING.
 
Mountain Krauss
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Location: Northern California
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We recently got our first goats & didn't know to have them tested. My inclination is not to bother e testing unless they show signs of being ill. Then, I would test in order to figure out why they were ill. Though I don't intend ever to sell any goats, I would disclose that they are untested if I did sell any.

I'm new to raising goats, so there may well be a good reason to cull healthy but CAE-positive goats. But I'm not aware of one. Now that you know your goats are positive, you should keep an especially sharp watch for any symptoms, but until/unless symptoms develop, you have healthy goats. I prefer not to cull healthy animals.
 
Thekla McDaniels
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Thanks, R and Mountain,

My values are more in line with selecting for robust animals who can live healthy sound lives in the conditions of my small farm. I don't want frail weak animals or plants. To me this seems best achieved by culling, rather than medicating. There is just so much hoopla about the testing.

I have a small herdshare cheese and yogurt CSA, and I worry that my share holders will not understand there is no risk to them in having the untested flock, but if there is indeed no danger to humans in consuming the raw dairy products from the goats, then I guess I'm in a leadership position.....

I know TB can be transmitted to humans through milk from a TB cow or goat. i tried to test for TB, but the vet's office said that test is not available in this region because we are considered to be TB free. Are there other diseases that can be transmitted to humans through milk?

Thekla
 
allen lumley
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Thekla McDaniels : The rest of the back-story on cow pox and milk maids. Their clear faces, and close earthy connections to the circle of life
made of them valuable symbols of salacious "Farmers Daughters'' stories for centuries !




when John Greenleaf Whittier wrote of Maud Mullers ''beauty and rustic health'', he was evoking in the minds eye that generations old image
of a culturally perceived meme of Beauty !

As Maude certainly was not part of a a mono-crop culture let us celebrate her as a Permaculture-ist ! Big AL!

 
Kathleen Sanderson
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Location: Near Klamath Falls, Oregon
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I've been raising goats for over thirty-one years. I have never tested for CAE, although I do prefer to buy goats from tested, negative herds. Back when I was first starting out, I'd never heard of CAE, and I'm pretty sure that a couple of Nubian/Saanen cross doe kids I was given had it -- neither one of them had much milk, one didn't have any milk at all. I don't think I've had any goats since then that had symptoms, no matter what their test results might have shown. I'm more concerned about symptoms than about test results. I don't have time to look up the info right now, but IIRC there are nutritional therapies to prevent/help CAE. You might want to look into that.

As far as your situation, if I was in your shoes, I would plan on pulling your babies out of all those does at birth, and bottle-raising them on CAE-free or pasteurized milk. Keep them completely separate from their mothers. (If you can't keep them completely separate, for the rest of their lives, the rest of the protocol will be pointless, unfortunately.) When the new babies are in milk, I would either butcher or sell -- with full disclosure -- the positive goats. The only reason for all this is so that you will get a better price for your future kid sales. I normally keep all my babies -- what I don't need for replacement milkers will go in the freezer, so the test results aren't really important to me. (Though if I started seeing symptomatic goats, I might change things and start testing.)

If you keep the positive does, keep a close eye on them. If they start showing signs of illness, you will want to put them down at that point.

Kathleen
 
Thekla McDaniels
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Thanks to all who've commented. Kathleen, what you've said about keeping them separate, about selling future offspring, about watching for symptoms all contributed to my decision to return the doelings. I'll test everything from now on, keeping new goats quarantined until I get test results back. I hope not to need to purchase goats in the future, but the good dairy bucks in my region are CAE negative, meaning I have to have CAE free does to breed to them. My place is so small, I don't have room to keep my own buck, and though I spent a couple of days considering buying a buck each year, then selling him along, it seemed a bad idea to buy a CAE free buck then expose him to CAE does, then sell him... I'd feel compelled to disclose his status.

I would be making a decision for present convenience, that would create work and expense "forever". The situation would not get easier to address in the future, and my losses and the does losses would be greater.

My two little beauties went home this morning. The sellers have more land and more goats, and they will be the ones to separate the positive from the negative does, they're testing all their goats and sheep (something else for the sheep). They'll keep the great genetics they've built up for years, and they'll sell me a doeling in the future that is CAE free, at a reduced price, in consideration for the care and feeding of the two doelings I returned in great condition.

It's a small community around here, and we have to get along. It's better to work together anyway, IMO. We're all sad about it, and ready to do what it takes to get back to where we thought we were.

Again, thanks for the insights and comments

Thekla


 
Kathleen Sanderson
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Location: Near Klamath Falls, Oregon
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Thekla, I think you've made the best decision in those circumstances. It's too bad, but tough things happen. I hope you'll soon have some goats who can be with you for the long haul!

Kathleen
 
Thekla McDaniels
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Thanks Kathleen.
 
Elizabeth Raven
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We test our herd yearly for CAE and CL. The CAE has a more profound effect on the kids then on the adults, and most kids exposed to CAE positive mothers colostrum will die before adulthood. CAE in adults manifest more as an arthritis and general poor health as they age, which effects milk production and longevity. If you have a CAE positive individual(s) they can transmit the disease to others through shared feed tubs and transmission of pathogens through bodily fluids (like saliva) though the transmission rate is much smaller then via colostrum/ milk to the kids. If you have CAE positive individuals you need to adopt a CAE preventative program, which means attending every single birth and pulling the kids off mom before they ever have a chance to nurse, and giving them powdered colostrum and pasteurized milk until weaning. It is possible to prevent CAE transmission through diligent and scrupulous husbandry but it is a lot of work and requires you to have 2 separated herds who live completely apart (including feed dishes and water sources etc) a lot of work.

I will also not allow my buck to service any does who have not be recently tested negative for CAE, CL and Chlamydia. And those does NEVER go into the general herd, but stay in a visitor pen. All new goats go into a minimum of 30 days quarantine and receive CAE tests (even when coming from a closed CAE preventative herd). We also put our show string into quarantine after the fair season. Prevention is easier they curing lol.

I think you made the right decision to return the does. It sounds like the breeder is on board with your decision as well. Its heart breaking to give back babies you've already grown to love but in the long run it will be less work and heart ache for you.

For a more indepth reading of CAE check out this article http://www.merckmanuals.com/vet/generalized_conditions/caprine_arthritis_and_encephalitis/overview_of_caprine_arthritis_and_encephalitis.html
 
Thekla McDaniels
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Hi Elizabeth,

Thanks for your input. One of the reasons I wanted to get this thread going is that there is no discussion on permies that addresses the issue of CAE.

Sometimes, I see this forum as a work in progress, an assemblage of all the experience we can gather into one place. It can act as a reference to anyone facing a challenge. And on permies, we share some values that don't necessarily get reflected in mainstream literature... but it's coming.

We may not all agree, but the discussion of CAE itself is as important as any other on this site. There may be more information to come re CAE, which may cause us each to see things differently than at present.

For now, I'm for diligent screening, so that I won't have to cull. I'm going to look at some replacement does tomorrow, from a "CAE free" herd. I've asked the owner if I can draw their blood tomorrow, and send it in to a lab. In that way, I can know before hand that they are CAE free,instead of facing the situation AFTER I've paid for and hauled them home... a two hour drive each way.

I haven't heard back from the owner yet, but I can't see why she would object. Her does get tested at my expense. And she is an avid CAE free goat keeper.

Thanks again for your post and your interest in my dilemma.
Thekla
 
Dale Hodgins
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I like R Scott's approach. I had 14 goats at one time. I have no idea whether they had this or another disease.

My dad used to buy sickly animals at auction, seldom paying more than five dollars. He'd put them in a private little building on good pasture and then wait for them to recover. Most did. They received garden scraps, tree trimmings and other supplements. Some were sold and some were milked or eaten. We didn't have a herd to contaminate. I know of no other way to get meat for so little cost.

Dad figured that most had trouble due to excessive grain feeding and over crowding. Some had been bullied by more aggressive cell mates. He sometimes bought goats and sheep from hobby farms that tried to raise herding animals singularly. Once paired up with suitable companions, many thrived and we're sold in pairs. A single goat is usually a loud, lonely creature who will constantly try to escape in order to join a herd.
 
Thekla McDaniels
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Hey Dale,

That's a great idea for frugality, did you put it there too? I'm glad you posted on CAE because someone with the CAE question might wonder if anyone just doesn't care, and if that is a viable option.

I am full of "What if I..... How can I .... What shall I do about ...... Kinds of questions. Before I started this thread I looked to see if it already existed. Others will do the same I'm sure.

But the people who really need to know about low cost food won't ever find your great idea here.

I hope you will help them out!

T
 
R Scott
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I need to clarify that I am raising animals for meat, not market. If I were selling, then I might care about some of the marketing.

And Dale is right, never own a SINGLE goat.
 
Dale Hodgins
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Thekla McDaniels wrote:Hey Dale,

That's a great idea for frugality, did you put it there too? I'm glad you posted on CAE because someone with the CAE question might wonder if anyone just doesn't care, and if that is a viable option.

I am full of "What if I..... How can I .... What shall I do about ...... Kinds of questions. Before I started this thread I looked to see if it already existed. Others will do the same I'm sure.

But the people who really need to know about low cost food won't ever find your great idea here.

I hope you will help them out!

T


Thank you Thekla, I will do that.

R Scott is right. Married goats only. --- Dad successfully paired goats with sheep and cows. Even ducks or a dog help. Some will never accept a dog. Dad's big Siberian Husky liked to sleep with a goat. The young goat would snuggle up close on cool mornings and approach the fence when the dog was outside the enclosure. Cows will hang out with a horse, even if that horse pushes into the manger and hogs all of the choice bits.
 
Thekla McDaniels
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Yeah, so now I am thinking about the fact that CAE considerations might be different based on herd size, whether meat or dairy or weed control or soil building. Seems like part of it is if we keep a resident herd or just have drifters passing through on the way to the dinner table, or if we sell the offspring, or whether we take our doe's to someone else's buck.

And speaking of bucks, do we just want any old buck to get the doe in milk, or are we looking to maintain or improve the dairy production.

So much goes into the decision.

While I've been doing all this thinking and learning, I have discovered that I do not have to pay the cost of a vet visit to get the blood drawn and the test done.

There are labs that do the test for as little as $4.00 per tube. Doesn't have to be refrigerated in the fall, so a simple small size flat rate box from the post office works fine.

I don't know our kind host Paul Wheaton's preferences on posting such a thing as a link to the lab, but I am willing to share the information. And I think there are such labs all over the country. If cost was one of the things keeping a person from testing, it doesn't have to be anymore.

Thekla
 
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