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BDreamy tests for the Three Bio-Security for a

Clean and Tested Herd

What is Bio-Security Testing you may ask?

Well here is a break down of 





Caseous Lymphadenitis (CL) is a chronic contagious disease affecting mainly sheep and goats This disease is also called pseudotuberculosis or often "abscesses," and has been referred to as the curse of the goat industry throughout the world.

CL is an infection of goats, caused by Corynebacterium pseudotuberculosis. It is also referred to as "abscesses", because of the peripheral swelling, rupture, and drainage of pus from affected lymph nodes. The prevalence of CL in the commercial goat herds may be as high as 30%. If abscesses affect more than one lymph node, the carcass will be condemned at slaughter. Decreased body weight and milk production also occurs, and reproductive efficiency is often lower when these animals have developed internal abscesses.

Clinical Signs:

Most commonly, symptoms are palpable enlargements of one or more of the superficial lymph nodes. The morbidity of the infection rate in goat flocks increase with age, and may approach 70%.

The enlarged lymph nodes have a very thick wall and are filled with thick greenish pus. The most common lymph nodes affected are mandibular (A in figure 1), prescapular (B), prefermoral (C), and supramammary (D) lymph nodes. Less common is involvement of lymph nodes internally in the chest and abdomen. As the animal gets older, abscesses often develop around the lungs, heart, liver, kidney, and spinal cord. They may cause weight loss, pneumonia, and neuoligical signs.

C. pseudotuberculosis is spread in the environment by broken and draining external abscesses. The organism survives in the environment for at least one year and can be spread on such items as shearing blades, fences, and feeders. The organism enters the goats body through small breaks in skin or mucous membranes and eventually becomes localized in a regional lymph node. Heavy environmental bacteria contamination occurs in confinement operations and around feeders, goat dairies seem to have a high prevalence of CL. There is some evidence that the organism can penetrate intact skin and mucous membrane.


  • 1. Presence of a firm to slightly soft subcutaneous swelling in the location of a lymph node.

  • 2. Herd history of CL.

  • 3. Culture: aspiration of the swelling and sending it to the diagnostic lab for isolating and identifying the organism.

  • 4. Serology: serologic tests such as bacterial agglutination test and synergistic hemolysis - inhibition test are valuable in identifying goats with early stage of the disease (no abscess yet developing).

Serologic testing may not be accurate due to the presence of antibodies in previously exposed non-diseased or from cross - reactivity of diagnostic antigens with antibodies against other bacteria.


  • 1. Separate and isolate the affective animals.

  • 2. Ripened abscesses lanced and flushed with 7% iodine solution.

  • 3. The pus should be flushed down a drain, or collected and burned.

  • 4. Wear gloves to prevent skin infections in humans.

  • 5. Wash hands well after handling infected animal.

  • 6. Surgical removal of the encapsulated abscess offers the advantages that the treated animals need not be quarantined.

  • 7. antibiotic treatment has not been effective.

Herd eradication requires diligent management.

  • Purchase animals from known non-infected herds.

  • Quarantine and monitor new animals at lease 60 days.

  • Monitor and cull animals with multiple abscessed lymph nodes

  • Housing free of sharp objects

  • Clean and disinfect feeders and pens regularly.

  • Disinfect equipment like de-horners, scalpel blades, tattoo numbers/letters, castrating instruments and other surgical instruments.

  • Use a new hypodermic needle for each animal.

  • Cull animals with chronic respiratory and wasting disease.

  • Bedding cleaned out regularly.

  • Pus should be collected and burned.

A vaccine is available and should be considered in management of CL in infected herds. Vaccine should be considered if you're previously described eradication methods haven't worked or failed. Colorado Serum Company is marketing Caseous-DT, an immunoprophylactic product composed of formalin-killed organisms and toxoided culture supernatant fluid. (Also contains toxoids for clostridium perfringens type D and tentanus toxin.) Which has an efficiency of 70-80% in preventing the clinical manifestations of the disease.

The vaccine may cause severe reactions in infected animals, and also interferes with serologic testing for CL.


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What is Caprine Arthritis Encephalitis (CAE)?

CAE is caused by a retrovirus and is relatively new to the world of goats, having been first diagnosed in 1974. CAE is now considered one of the greatest threats to all breeds of goats in the U.S., especially dairy goats, and is transmitted during the neonatal period from an infected mother to the kid through nursing natural colostrum. It is possible that CAE is also transmitted from goat to goat through saliva, nasal secretions, urine, and feces. Symptoms of Caprine Arthritis Encephalitis (CAE) in goats include:

  • Weakness in rear legs of young goats or kids, causing muscle atrophy and death.

  • Swollen joints, particularly in the knees, of adult goats.

There are two disease syndromes associated with CAE, including the encephalitis form and the arthritic form.

Caprine Encephalitis

The encephalitis form of the CAE virus is usually seen in goat kids 2 - 4 months old. Signs include paralysis, seizures and death.

Caprine Arthritis

The arthritic form of the CAE virus is most common and is seen in adult goats 1 - 2 years old. Signs usually include weight loss, poor hair condition, and enlarged joints, especially in the carpal, hocks, and stifle. Other symptoms during the early onset of the virus include leg lameness. As the disease progresses, goats may show an inability to stand and may walk on their knees.

How to Treat Caprine Arthritis Encephalitis (CAE)


Unfortunately, there is no treatment for Caprine Arthritis Encephalitis (CAE) in goats. When purchasing goats, always make sure they are CAE-free. Inexpensive testing for Caprine Arthritis Encephalitis (CAE) is available, and most goat owners should be able to provide documentation of this when requested.

If you have a goat that is positive for Caprine Arthritis Encephalitis (CAE), keep it separated from the other healthy goats, and never expose baby goat kids to goats that are CAE-positive.

There are ways to reduce discomfort in goats diagnosed with CAE. Provide regular hoof trimming, constant access to clean, fresh water, and consider using an oral non-steroid anti-inflammatory, such as 10 - 20 mg of aspirin every 8 - 12 hours, or as recommended by your veterinarian. Goats with advanced cases of CAE that are obviously in great discomfort should be humanely euthanized.


How to Prevent Caprine Arthritis Encephalitis (CAE)


Here are some steps you can take to prevent the spread of CAE in goats:

  • Do not allow goat kids to nurse from CAE-positive does.

  • Do not collect colostrum from a mother goat that is positive for CAE. Only feed colostrum from a healthy doe to kids, or feed colostrum supplement if no maternal colostrum is available.

  • Keep goats that are infected with CAE separated from the rest of the herd.

  • Do not purchase goats from other sources unless you have tested for CAE first.

  • If your herd has been tested free of CAE, keep a close watch on new genetic introductions to keep your herd clean.

  • Perform periodic testing to ensure possible infection is identified early and quarantined.

What is Johnes?

Johnes (pronounced Yo-nees) is a contagious disease which can infect any ruminant species. Also known as chronic wasting disease in goats, the origin of the disease is unknown. It is found world-wide, and it was first diagnosed in goats in the early 1900's. Johnes is a chronic infection that localizes in the small intestine, causing a thickening of the intestinal wall which prevents the normal absorption of nutrients. In goats, the symptoms do not appear until the last stages of the illness.

Mycobacterium paratuberculosis is the organism which causes Johne's Disease, and this bacteria is passed in the manure of goats from animal to animal via fecal-to-oral contact. Young kids are the most susceptible, and the disease remains unidentifiable for years after the kids have first ingested infected feces. Clinical weight loss in infected adults is the only symptom.

Johne's Disease is unknown to many goat breeders primarily because of the elusive nature of the disease. However, more cases of Johnes are being diagnosed. Goat producers in Ohio and surrounding states are seeing Johnes. Dairy cattle operations have long been fighting Johnes, and people raising goats on land that formerly housed dairy cattle are seeing Johnes appear in their goats. Pygmy goats seem to be more susceptible than other breeds, but no one really knows why.

The symptoms are prolonged weight loss, lack of appetite, and depression, occasionally followed by diarrhea. Goats infected with Johnes frequently are more subject to heavy parasite loads. Any adult goat which is continually parasite-infected should be tested for Johne's Disease.

Clinical signs of this disease do not appear until goats are yearlings and sometimes much later. Kids can contract Johnes in utero (before birth) if their dams are heavily infected. Kids can also become infected through the colostrum and milk of Johnes-carrying mothers. This bacterium is very hardy and heat resistant. However, pasteurization can kill most (if not all) of the organisms, depending upon the concentration of the bacterium in the milk, and is a useful technique for reducing (but not eliminating entirely) the number of organisms the kids receive. The organisms can live for years in the soil and surrounding environment.

The appearance of the disease is affected by the dosage (concentration and amount) of bacteria ingested, the age of the kid, and the genetic make-up of the animal. If a kid receives a high dose at an early age, the kid will most likely begin shedding the disease in its feces and showing clinical signs of infection at an earlier age than a kid who received a low dose of the bacteria. Some goats are carriers and never show clinical signs of the illness. There seems to be an age-related resistance to Johne's Disease, but older goats can become infected, particularly in overcrowded and unsanitary conditions.

Obvious signs of infection usually begin to appear only after many years of shedding the bacteria, particularly if the animals are managed well, with good nutrition, clean conditions, no overcrowding, and minimal stress in their lives. Once it is evident that infection is present, the Johnes-infected goats usually live less than one year and ultimately die from their inability to absorb nutrients from their intestinal tracts.

The timeline roughly runs from birth to age one, no signs whatsoever; from age two to four, goats may begin to show signs of some weight loss but have no decrease in appetite until the disease becomes full-blown; and goats over age four who are heavily-loaded with the bacteria begin to look wasted. The mid-stage, from approximately age two to four, is the really dangerous time, because those goats look reasonably well but are heavily shedding the bacteria.

There are three commonly available tests for diagnosing Johne's Disease. Culturing fecal matter to detect the organism is the most accurate, but the bacteria grows slowly and the test takes six weeks to four months to complete. If the animal being tested is not shedding the organism in its feces, it can test negative even though it may really be infected. Repeat testing on suspect goats is essential.

The AGID (Agar-Gel Immune Diffusion) and the ELISA (Enzyme-Linked Immuosorbent Assay) Tests detect antibodies and are done on blood samples. Each test has its own shortcomings. The AGID Test should be used on individual animals; there are few false positives. The ELISA Test is reasonably accurate but can cross react with the bacteria that causes Caseous Lymphadenitis (CL) and give a false positive. None of these tests are 100% accurate. The ELISA Test works best as a herd-screening tool. Because antibodies appear relatively late in the disease, antibody tests in general have poor sensitivity. The ELISA Test is more sensitive, while the AGID Test is more specific, showing fewer false positives in goats which are truly negative.

The advantage of using the fecal culture method is that false positives rarely occur and you find out which goats are shedding the organism on your premises. It also tells other important information, such as how much of the organism is being shed. The fecal test is 40-45% accurate in light shedders; in heavy shedders, it is 95-98% accurate.

There is no cure for this disease, there is nothing that can be put into the soil and the surrounding environment to kill the bacteria, and the only vaccine available is used in Norway and Iceland. The vaccine is not and will not be available in the United States because it cross-reacts with tuberculosis (TB) tests.

Managing fecal-to-oral transmission is the key to controlling Johne's Disease. Raise all feeders. Use a footbath from pen to pen. Keep manure from contact with kids. When moving feed troughs, pitchforks, water containers, and shovels from pen to pen, wash and bleach them thoroughly first. "All manure is suspect."