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Goat Information

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Caprine Arthritis Encephalitis (Maedi Visna)

Maedi Visna (MV) is a disease of sheep present in most sheep producing countries, including GB. It is caused by a lentivirus. A closely related virus, Caprine Arthritis Encephalitis CAE), causes a similar disease in goats. The name of the disease is formed by the two Icelandic words that describe the clinical signs it produces – maedi (‘laboured breathing’ affecting the lungs) and visna (‘shrinking’ or ‘wasting’ affecting the central nervous system). The virus can infect sheep at any age, but signs of the disease are not usually seen until at least 3 years of age. These may include pneumonia, weight loss, joint problems, mastitis and nervous signs. In goats the main clinical sign of CAE is lameness. Weight loss and shrinkage of the udder may also be present. The nervous form of the disease occurs rarely and generally only in young kids. The disease spreads easily between sheep and can cause high economic losses. A MV/CAE accreditation scheme is run by the Scottish Agricultural College.

Cloudburst or Pseudopregnancy

This is a common condition in female goats. Female goats sometimes cycle, mate and display all the attributes of being pregnant, but in fact are not pregnant. In many cases they have not even been mated. The uterus fills with large amounts of fluid but no foetus or placenta develops. This condition has several names:

  • False pregnancy
  • Cloudburst pregnancy
  • Pseudopregnancy
  • Hydrometra

When a doe is treated for the condition or if it resolves itself a ‘cloudburst’ of liquid materials comes out of the doe’s body.

The precise causes of false pregnancy are not completely understood, however we can treat the condition effectively.