I strongly recommend testing your herd for CAE, CL, Johnes and Brucella if you are going to drink raw milk. Raw goat’s milk is the best for you, but it MUST come from healthy animals. CAE is a species specific disease (only spread to other goats), but CL, Johnes, and Brucella cross the species barrier – they ARE transmittable to humans. It is my understanding that Johne’s is NOT killed using normal pasteurization, and many cow herds are infected with this disease. It is also my understanding that Johne’s may be linked to Crohn’s Disease in humans. I recommend testing all new goats BEFORE they enter your herd. It will save you a lot of heartache and grief keeping these diseases OUT of your herd.
Texas A&M – My friend uses this lab, you will need to check their website to see what tests they offer. I plan to use them next time I test for more than CAE. It is my understanding that they offer CAE, CL, Johne’s and Brucella.
DCPAH (Michigan State University) – Does not offer CL tests.
BioTracking – I use this lab the most. They offer testing for CAE ($4.00) and Pregnancy testing ($6.50) services using the same blood sample. They use the ELISA test, the same type that WADDL uses. They are wonderful to deal with, plus they give you the percentage of inhibition on each animal.
The Johne’s Center – This is the lab I use to test for Johne’s Disease.
“What are these diseases??”, you may ask… well, here it is in “Kristie Lingo” the shortened version as I understand it:
CAE (Caprine Arthritis Encephalitis) – In my opinion, this is the “easiest” of the 4 diseases to handle. CAE is a species specific disease – it is only transmitted from goat to goat, mainly through the colostrum and milk. It can be horizontally transmitted between goats as well. To handle it, the CAE positive animal must to be kept separate from your negative animals. You MUST pull (take the kids away from the mother) at birth. You have to heat-treat the colostrum and pasteurize the milk before it is fed to the kids.
CL (Caseus lymphadentis) – This is a disease that shows up in the lymph nodes of the animal – they will be infected, cause the lymph gland swell and eventually burst (abscess). WHEN they burst is when the nightmare begins. The disease is spread then – it contaminates the soil for YEARS, it is transmittable to humans. I would not keep an animal with CL. I have seen herbal treatments to clear this disease, but why buy an animal with it when you can buy a healthy one.
Johne’s Disease – (pronounced “Yo-Knees”) This is an awful disease, the animals basically starve to death. It causes a thickening of the intestines, so the animal does not get the nutrition from it’s food. This disease has been linked to Crohn’s disease in humans. Bluntly stated: It probably IS transmittable through the milk, and they call it Crohn’s disease in humans. A scary fact: a large amount of Michigan’s dairy herds have cows that are POSITIVE for Johne’s. Why is this scary?? Johne’s bacterium IS NOT KILLED by normal pasteurization. If THAT fact alone doesn’t make you want to buy your own goat from a clean herd OR buy a goat share through a herd like that, I don’t know what would.
Brucella – I’ve not looked into this one in a long time. From memory, it causes the animals to miscarry. There must be more to it than just that, as it is one of the diseases that WADDL recommends that you test for if you are drinking raw milk from your animals. Update: According to Dr. Greg Crosley, DVM, “<Brucella> is communicable to humans and causes a chronic intermittent fever and is very difficult to treat. That’s why we don’t want to drink raw milk from brucellosis positive goats or cows.”
So, after reading this “book”, I will give you my recommendation: DO NOT buy animals positive for these diseases. Buy from a clean herd that can show you PAPERWORK to PROVE that the animal (or the animal’s dam, if you are buying a kid) is NEGATIVE for the above diseases. You will thank me in the end. 😉
See our “Links & Discounts” page for a few different Labs that I have personally used and I can recommend them. I know blood testing feels confusing at first, just give the Lab of your choice a call and they can talk you through it.
To view a video to learn how to pull blood for testing, click here.