Caprine Arthritis Encephalitis(CAE)
Caprine arthritis encephalitis(CAE) is a viral disease that effects goats. The virus infects the white blood cells of the animal thus anything that transmits white blood cells can possibly spread the virus. Infection of the virus mainly occurs thru transmission when feeding colostrum or contaminated milk to the young. Other means of transmission are thru common needles, tattooing equipment and respiratory or saliva secretions.
Many goats with CAE will show no signs of the disease. The signs of the disease associated with this virus are arthritis, pneumonia, mastitis, progressive weight loss and encephalitis in young goats.
Arthritis is the most common form of the disease in adult animals. The arthritis tends to be chronic and progressive with many joints effected. The mastitis caused by this virus tends to manifest itself as a hard udder with no milk around the time of kidding. CAE infections will cause a chronic pneumonia with the goats having a fast respiration rate and sometimes a deep cough. The encephalitic form of the disease occurs mostly in the young between 2-6 months of age. The young kid will initially show signs of incoordination and inappropriate placement of the hind limbs when walking. Eventually paralysis will set in and the animal will be unable to rise. Other neuralgic signs can also be present such as depression, blindness, and head tilts just to name a few.
Testing for CAE is done by testing the blood for antibodies produced against the virus.
Prevention of viral infections should involve keeping a closed herd and aggressive testing starting as early as 6 months of age. Seropostive animals should be segregated and culled. If infected and non- infected animals are kept together in the herd they should be kept segregated. Any kids born to positive mothers should be kept separate from those born to negative mothers until viral status is known. The newborn kid should be segregated from it mother as soon as possible after birth and only fed pasteurized colostrum.