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Goat Diseases


Common goat diseases include:

Caprine arthritis encephalitis (CAE): Similar to AIDS in humans, this is an incurable disease that affects the goat's immune system. It is also highly contagious to other goats.

Caseous lymphadenitis (CL): This is a disease that forms pus pockets called abscesses around the lymph nodes. When they burst they infect other goats, and it is highly contagious.

Coccidiosis: This is a parasite that infects the intestinal tract of goats (and other species) and causes diarrhea and death.
Bladder stones: Similar to humans, calculi (stones) can form within the goat's bladder and get stuck in the urethra. This can block urination and be deadly. These stones are often a result of a dietary imbalance.
Sore mouth (orf): This is a disease that causes blisters in and around the mouth and nose of a goat. It is caused by a virus and can be passed on to humans.
G-6-S: This genetic defect in Nubian goats will cause a Nubian or Nubian cross to die young.

Enterotoxemia: This is a bacterial imbalance in the goat's rumen and it is preventable by vaccination. It can be caused by sudden diet changes or anything else that may cause a digestive upset.

Scrapie: Scrapie is a fatal, degenerative disease affecting the central nervous system of sheep and goats. Scrapie has had a significant impact on the sheep industry and has caused financial losses to sheep producers across the country. It also affects goats.
Test Your Goats: Info. compliments of Hoegger Supply Company (terrific goat supply company-check out their webstore online)
To some goat owners testing your goats may not mean anything, to others they may have heard of it but do not think it pertains to them, but to informed and educated goat owners it means everything! No matter the type of goats you raise.

Reputable breeders and responsible goat owners will try and protect their goats and breeding programs from infiltration of disease, mainly Caprine Arthritis and Encephalitis (CAE); but most breeders go beyond this one type of testing. Most breeders include testing for Tuberculosis (TB), Johne’s, Brucellosis and sometimes Caseous Lymphoma (CL). They all can be done with the same blood sample that you already have drawn, except for TB which is explained below.

Whether you feel competent enough to do your own blood draws is up to you. I personally like to have the vet come and pull my blood so that there is never any question as to my status of maintaining a disease free herd.

So what to test for? Well here is where differences are going to come up, depending on what your goats purpose is, whether you test your goats or not for CAE, Johne’s, TB, Brucellosis and CL. If you raise your goats for dairy purposes you will probably want to test your herd for most of the above diseases. If you show your animals, you will definitely want to test your goats for most if not all of the above. If your goats are pets that you never decide to breed then you may not want the expense of testing and to take your chances with your pets, although I would suggest otherwise. Goats being kept for meat and fiber purposes should also be tested as it is believed that some diseases are zoonotic, which means people can contract a form of the disease. Many studies have found links between Johne’s in livestock and Crohn’s disease in humans. Do you really want to take the risk?

Caprine Arthritis and Encephalitis (CAE): This disease has two forms: the arthritis (visible) and the encephalitis (internal). They both wreak havoc on dairy herds in the world. This disease causes painful arthritic joints, mastitis, decreased milk production. Once a goat has this disease they can never rid themselves of it. The disease will be passed from mother to kid through the milk.

Johne’s Disease: pronounced (Yo-knees)This disease shows up as rapid weight loss and diarrhea and may stay dormant for many years. It has been linked to Crohn’s Disease in humans. Once an animal has this disease there is no cure and it can spread very quickly in the herd. (http://www.johnes.org/goats/diagnosis.html)

Tuberculosis (TB): Although this disease has not been found prevalent in the US, there are still concerns since this disease can be transmitted to humans. There are 2 strains of TB that are tested for, bovine and avian. The veterinarian will inject a tiny bit of fluid into your goat, usually at the base of the tail. They will have to come back out to the farm and read the results of the testing within 3 days. Most goats come back with no reaction, some do. In fact, it is expected that a certain percentage of goats will come back as “suspect”. Don’t fret, it happens to all of us. The USDA veterinarian will come out to your farm and make another two injections, one for bovine TB and the other for avian TB. The USDA Veterinarian will come back and read the results. Most of the time, especially if you have chickens running around, it is the avian strain which causes no harm to your goats.

Brucellosis: This disease can cause abortion of the fetus in late pregnancy, and in male goats can cause infertility and swollen joints.

Caseous Lymphoma (CL): This disease causes abscesses around the lymph glands most often around the jawline which burst open and drain. Once this disease is in your soil it is there forever. There are vaccines available through some drug companies.

What is the best way to ensure my animals we purchase are healthy? Do your homework… but purchase from a reliable breeder or goat owner. You will not get a hundred dollar doe, but will have the peace of mind knowing that she comes from a disease free herd.

The cost of testing is expensive, I will not tell you otherwise, but in the whole scheme of things, worth every penny, dollar, hundred dollars.

WHERE TO TEST: (updating to add Diagnostic Labs constantly)

Important! Please Read The Following Notice!

All information provided in these articles is based either on personal experience or information provided by others whose treatments and practices have been discussed fully with a vet for accuracy and effectiveness before passing them on to readers. Much of my page content is from Veterinary Colleges and Manuals.

In all cases, it is your personal responsibility to obtain veterinary services and advice before using any of the information provided in these articles. Mr. and Mrs. Stewart is not a veterinarian. Neither Mr. or Mrs. Stewart nor justkiddingvillage.com nor any of the contributors to this website will be held responsible for the use of any information contained herein.

Our Nigerian Dwarf Breeder Doe is used for the Picture

January 29, 2023