Caprine Arthritis Encephalitis (CAE) Caprine Arthritis Encephalitis (CAE) is a disease of goats caused by a retrovirus which is closely related to the OPP virus of sheep. As in sheep, there is no known cure. Clinically infected goats often develop arthritis of the knees resulting in swollen, painful joints. Young goats may also exhibit a neurological syndrome consisting of progressive paralysis and other symptoms of brain involvement. It is important to note that many infected goats never show significant symptoms. Although these "carrier" animals remain asymptomatic, they are a source of infection for other goats in the herd. The economic effects of CAE in goat herds are loss of up to 25-30% in milk production, early culling, a shorter life span and reduced growth of offspring The primary source of infection is through the colostrum and milk. Rarely direct transmission can occur through animal contact. In utero infection (i.e. doe to unborn kid) is not common. Since a vaccine is not available, identification of positive animals followed by isolation and/or culling is the most effective method to control spread of the disease. Additionally, heat treatment of colostrum and milk to kill virus has been used extensively to break the cycle of doe to kid infection. Control programs should include testing the entire herd every six months until 2 consecutive negative tests are achieved. Subsequently, annual herd testing should be performed to prevent re infection of the herd. Any new additions to the herd should be tested and found negative, or come from herds that are proven to be free of CAE. The PAVL ELISA test for CAE utilizes 2 detection antigens for increased sensitivity. The first antigen is a recombinant protein developed at the U.S. Meat Animal Research Center which is particularly suited for detecting recently infected animals. The second is a synthetic peptide antigen developed in conjunction with research done at the Pasteur Institute, Paris, France. This antigen provides the best sensitivity for chronic infection and is a good predictor for which animals will develop arthritis. In addition to the blood test for CAE, PAVL is able to test colostrum samples for CAE. The high concentration of antibodies in colostrum increases the detection capability of the test and makes sample collection very convenient.