Caprine Arthritis Encephalitis (CAE) Virus

Washington Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory
January, 1996

Caprine arthritis encephalitis (CAE) is a viral infection of goats which may lead to chronic disease of the joints and on rare occasions encephalitis in goat kids less then six months of age. The CAE virus is intimately associated with white blood cells; therefore, any body secretions which contain white blood cells are potential sources of virus to other goats in the herd. Since not all goats that become infected with CAE virus progress to disease, it is important to routinely test goats for infection by means of a serology test which detects viral antibodies in the serum.

Over the past several years, we have had numerous inquiries about CAE virus, how to test for it, and most importantly, how to take steps to control the infection in goat herds. We have taken some of the most frequently asked questions and presented them along with some short answers.

Additional information on CAE virus and other infections of livestock can be obtained by contacting the diagnostic laboratory at 509-335-9696, fax 509- 335-7424


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  2. Adams, DS and JR Gorham, The gp135 of caprine arthritis encephalitis virus affords greater sensitivity than the p28 in immunodiffusion serology. Res Vet Sci 40:157. 1986.
  3. LaRue, LH: Serodiagnostic interpretation of CAEV: Pivotal to controlling this caprine pathogen. Vet med (Food-Animal Practice), November 1986. P. 1039.
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  7. Heckert, RA, et al: evaluation of an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay for detection of antibodies to caprine arthritis-encephalitis virus in goat serum . Can J Vet Res 56:237-241,1992.
  8. Cutlip, RC, et al: Prevalence of antibody to caprine arthritis- encephalitis virus in goats in the United States, JAVMA 200:802, 1992.
  9. Knowles, DP, et al: Evaluation of agar gel immunodiffusion serology using caprine and ovine letiviral antigens for detection of antibody to caprine arthritis-encephalitis virus. J Clin Microbiol 32:243-245, 1994.
  10. Rimstad. E. et al: Delayed seroconversion following naturally acquired caprine arthritis-encephalitis virus infection in goats. Am J Vet Res, 54: 1858-1862, 1993.
  11. Vander Schalie, J, et al: Evaluation of a kinetic enzyme linked immunosorbent assay for detection of c caprine arthritis-encephalitis virus- specific antibodies. J Vet Diagn Invest 6, 30-33, 1994.

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Washington Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory