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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm just starting out with goats, so I'm looking for some advice. I recently got 3 goats to start my herd. We got a wethers who is a Pygmy Boer cross - just a pet, and two Nigerian Dwarf females. I got all of them about the beginning of July 2013. I had the vet out a few weeks ago to test for CAE and Johne's. One of the does came back positive to the Johne's disease. The test that was done initially was a blood test. I've now collected a fecal sample and I'm waiting for the results. My plan was to purchase a buck and breed both the does this fall. Now I'm not sure what to do.

If the fecal test confirms the Johne's Disease what are my options? I'm thinking I should cull the one doe, but what should I do next? Should I wait until next year and have the two remaining tested again and then breed if they come back negative?

If the fecal test comes back negative, does that mean I'm safe to proceed as I had planned and breed this fall? Or should I wait and have them tested again?

The plan is to have goats and goat milk for our own use, but I'll also want to be able to sell the excess kids. I'll need a clean herd to be able to sell the kids.

I've read a lot about Johne's since the results, but some of it is conflicting and some of the information is not very specific. What I'd like is a recommended action plan for both positive and negative results.

Any help would be appreciated.
 

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The blood test gives false positives, so if the fecal comes back negative I would trust that, then retest with a blood test in 6 months. If positive I would cull her and go on with your breeding plans with the rest, but retest your entire herd in 6 months with the blood test.
 

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7 does - 2 bucks - 1 wether
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If she is truly positive, I would move the rest of your herd to a different pasture if possible, to raise the kids.
 

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Dave (TDG Farms) S.E. Washington State
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Scary :( I like the idea of moving em but if the doe is positive, she could have already passed it onto one of the others and by moving them, you could dirty yet another piece of property. I would make temp quarantine pen for the one in a place that will not see other goat traffic after it is removed after your test result comes back. I might even try to put the other two aside in a pen just so I could clean their pen area and anywhere else they hang out and try to remove as much poop/muck as possible. Id then use bleach and lime (not at the same time) or anything else you can think of to at least try to aid in the cleaning. If the test comes back neg, then all you have done is made a really clean pen/area for them. If it comes back positive, cull the goat and put the others back in their normal, now cleaned pen. Test again in 6 months and hope for the best.
 

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Johne's is a nasty one to deal with- my knowledge comes from the cow side and not the goat side, but it pretty much works the same way.

Where you're just getting started, only have a handful of goats, and haven't had them that long I'd say sell the lot, sanitize as best you can, and start over- especially if they all came out of the same herd. The ethical thing would be to sell them for slaughter, or else find someone who already has Johnes in their herd and doesnt mind taking on a few more positive animals.

Johne's has a fairly long incubation period, so it is possible for individual animals to test negative, while still being carriers of the disease. It's another one of those nifty little organisms that's incredibly hardy, and incredibly long lived, and it's spread through milk, manure, placentas, contaminated feed/water- pretty much all of the things that are impossible to fully isolate your animals from.

It is possible for animals w/ CL to give false positives on Johne's tests as well- however neither one is a condition you want your animals to have. It's a rather heart-breaking disease too- you'll typically have an animal that's thriving and healthy, and then around age 3 they'll break with the symptoms (with cattle the big one was watery diarrhea and lack of conditionining).

It is possible to eradicate Johnes from your herd- but it takes pretty thorough culling and real dedication. It's a process that can take years and it does require a closed herd to be truly effective.

Probably not what you want to hear, but I wouldn't even bother with retesting. Why start out on the wrong foot from the get-go? There's getting to be more and more herds out there that can truthfully say they're Johnes free, and a reputable farm shouldn't have an issue with you wanting to test animals before you purchase them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
An update on our Johne's case - the blood test used was an AGID test. From what the vets says and from what I've read, the AGID test is pretty accurate for positive results. It sometimes gives false negatives, but rarely false positives. She is recommending culling the positive and fecal testing the remaining two. My husband and I've decided to cull both the does. Eventhough, the one tested negative, she is from the same herd that the positive one is from. We don't want to be guessing for a year or so if we still have Johne's.

The wether goat is truly just a pet so we are keeping him. We can easily isolate him and he'll do fine with our LGD. He was raised as a little boys pet and doesn't think he's a goat. We've already separated him out from the does. Another reason we are keeping him, he is older - 3 or 4 probably. The literature says that infection occurs most in young goats - specifically kids.

Next spring we will test the wether and if he is still negative we will proceed to get new does to breed. This time we will demand CAE and Johne's certification. I'm no longer shy about asking for confirmation that we are getting clean animals. This is too heartbreaking and too costly to go through again. Thanks for all the responses.
 

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I think the vet is supposed to report to the state of any Johnnes positive animals, then the animals are supposed to be culled and the carcasses properly desposed of. You probably should contact the Dept of Ag for your state so you don't get in trouble if you sell a Johnnes + animal.
 

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Dave (TDG Farms) S.E. Washington State
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Its very sad but you are doing exactly what you need to do. I totally comment your ability to see the bigger picture and being strong enough to cull both of the does. Not only to keep the wether as a pet but future tests will give you an idea of how on your Johne's status. Dont forget to clean clean clean :) Remove any much(poo) from your property. Id take it to the dump. Id look into how long Johne's stays active in soil and if possible try to wait that long before bringing new stock onto the property. Though, goats are nearly impossible to resist and if its a long time, I doubt you will be able to :) Again, sorry your start turned out like this but your management of the situation speaks volumes. Good luck.
 
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