Caprine Arthritis Encephalitis Syndrome (CAE)

CAE is a viral disease. In young kids symptoms include a weakness in the rear legs, with no

fever, or loss of appetite, However, the unused legs lose muscle strength and structure and the

infected kids eventually die. In older goats, the same disease is seen as swollen joints,

particularly the knees. The disease develops slowly, and after 2 or more years, the animal has

difficulty using its legs properly. Infected goats have no fever, remain alert, and eat well.

However, they do not recover from the arthritis. An inexpensive blood test can be used to

diagnose CAE. The disease is spread from older infected goats to kids, perhaps by contact or

through the milk from an infected doe to her kid. There are no corrective procedures or

treatments. Isolating kids at birth and raising them on pasteurized goat milk is done to prevent

the spread. It’s a good idea to make sure a goat is CAE free before purchasing. However, the

blood test only checks for antibodies, and it’s possible that an animal is infected and not (yet)

producing antibodies.