Life on the land in Australia


A landholder’s experience with CAE & GOATS

By Dulcie Richards, Glen Warri Goat Stud, Queensland

Goat affected by CAE (caprone retrovirus)
1980 – This goat is dying from CAE. At this stage she could not sit or lie down because of the pain in her knees. She coughed continuously as her lungs were full of fluid. Courses of antibiotic injections did nothing. She was put down by my vet.

Caprine retrovirus or CRV (formerly known as caprine arthritis encephalitis) should now be part of dairy goat history. Unfortunately CRV is still ruining goats´ and peoples´ lives. CRV directly caused hundreds of goat keepers to leave the then Goat Breeders´ Society of Australia, and an unknown number, possibly thousands of dairy goats to die of the disease. In my opinion the society has never fully recovered.

From the early 1960´s, CRV caused tremendous problems, but we did not know then what it was or how to manage it. Now we do. In my small stud 42 goats died or were put down from 1968 to 1980 because of CRV. Rod Maclure´s remarks, August 2006 Australian Goat World page 8: “Seventeen positive reactions to CRV from four different farms were extremely disappointing. Compared to other diseases, CRV is relatively easy to eradicate. The industry has been battling with this problem for years and it is hard to understand the problem still exists.” This comment is from an exporter.

Will we ever learn?

Those of us who have been through it and out the other side will never forget the torment our goats had to endure when CRV reached the clinical stage. If not put down, they died in agony. I wish to thank sincerely those people who donated diseased goats for research, also the veterinary profession, the State Departments of Primary Industries and Murdoch University, WA, all who conducted so much research into the disease.

The cost issue is sometimes raised about testing for CRV. I can assure breeders the cost of losing your herd and coping with the disease is far greater than the cost of a blood test for each goat. The loss of bloodlines is beyond price.

The success of the EBL control scheme in dairy cattle was due largely to the efforts of the processors in insisting on sourcing milk from clean herds. All farm animals have health requirements to control their diseases and goats are no different.

Since the Australian Goat World issue February 2008 and the interest shown in the CRV articles it contained, I have spoken at length with the Queensland DPI about CRV. Thank goodness I live in Queensland. The CRV Accreditation Scheme advises on attendance at Shows and how to avoid infection from other non-accredited goats at the same show. This gives us confidence in this state, and is a definite boost for the export market to know of these requirements. If members of the DGSA (Dairy Goat Society of Australia) wish to know how to become accredited, your state DPI officers are the people to contact. My own state officers are very supportive and helpful.

After infected milk, goat shows must be the main source of transmission. I had never used pooled milk from outside and I am convinced that my stud contracted CRV at shows during the 1960s. Many of the goats on show in those days had enlarged knees and persistent coughs, which we know now to be symptoms of CRV affecting the joints and lungs. We know that cough vapour travels many metres. At that time there were no health requirements for goats attending shows in Queensland.

My Glen Warri Stud was destroyed by CRV. I lost 42 goats to CRV from 1968 to 1980. I tried separate herds but that failed.

With the help of Dr Sandra Baxendell, my own vets and the Queensland Department of Primary Industries CAE Vet, Robert Morton, I started again. My stud became accredited in 1989.

March 27th, 2011
Topic: ANIMALS & STOCK, Goats, PESTS DISEASES BACTERIA VIRUSES Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

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