Common Goat Diseases to Avoid

Johne's Disease

Johne’s (pronounced “YO-knees”) disease is a contagious, chronic, deadly gastrointestinal disease of goats and ruminants. Johne's disease is caused by Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis (MAP). The MAP organism is a very hardy organism and is passed in the feces of infected animals. Often spread from adult goats to goat kids when kids come in contact with milk, water or feed that has been contaminated by feces from the infected adult animals. Clinical symptoms include diarrhea, chronic weight loss, a general inability to thrive. Oftentimes clinical symptoms do not appear until 2 yrs of age or older. Animals can also appear perfectly healthy but still shed the disease & contaminate the herd.

Visit ADGA Johnes page HERE and the Johnes Information Center HERE for more information about Johne's Disease

Caseous Lymphadenitis (CL)

Corynebacterium pseudotuberculosis.  CL is known to spread from animal to animal through contact with the pus or fluid from an abscess, either direct or indirect. The organism is thought to survive months, even years, in the soils and structures on a farm, making it almost impossible to manage or eradicate. Typically external abscesses are present around the lymph node areas of the goat but internal abscesses may also be present in the lungs and organs. When abscesses form in the lungs and rupture, the disease may be spread through nasal discharge and coughing. In rare cases, C. pseudotuberculosis may also be present in the milk. 

Visit Washington State University Laboratory for more on CL and testing,Washington State University Lab

Caprine Arthritis Encephalitis (CAE)

  Caprine arthritis encephalitis virus (CAE) is a virus of the small ruminant lentiviruses. It can lead to chronic swelling and lameness in the joints, and can cause encephalitis in goat kids 6 months of age or less. The CAE virus is typically spread from dam to kid via the milk. It is also related to the white blood cells; therefore, any body secretions containing blood cells are also possible sources of spreading in the herd. Since goats can be CAE infected and not develop or show clinical symptoms, it is important to test your herd.

Visit Washington State University Laboratory for more information on CAE and testing


 Query or Queensland fever (Q fever) is a bacterial infection affecting goats. It is a zoonotic disease and can affect humans as well. Q fever is caused by Coxiella burnetii , which is a very hardy bacteria that can survive for an extended period of time, months & possibly years, in the environment. Q-Fever often causes abortion in goats and is shed in birthing fluids & membranes, as well as milk, urine and feces. 

Visit Washington State University Laboratory for more information on Q-Fever & testing

Also a very informative article by the Colorado State University Dept of Ag HERE


Brucellosis is an infectious disease in goats caused by Brucella melitensis. It is a zoonotic disease and can spread via any contact with placenta, fetus, vaginal/fetal fluids during kidding or abortion. It is thought to also be found in blood, urine, milk & semen. The main symptom of Brucellosis in goats is late stage abortion, typically the 4th month. Other symptoms include fevers, mastitis, arthritis/lameness, and swelling/inflammation of the testicles in males.
Click here for an informational article about Brucellosis by the California Dept of Ag, May 2016

AAVLD Accredited Labs for Disease Testing & More

Washington State University

Washington State University Diagnostic Laboratory, WADDL, is a nationally recognized, AAVLD accredited, full-service, veterinary testing laboratory. 

Oregon State University

Oregon Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory (OVDL) is a public-supported facility providing a full range of animal disease diagnostic services. AAVLD accredited lab.

UBRL, Fresno, California

 UBRL Livestock Diagnostics is headquartered in Fresno, CA to provide diagnostic services for efficient herd management for livestock.  

Texas A & M Veterinary Lab

TVMDL is a full-service veterinary diagnostic laboratory accredited by AAVLD. TVMDL is committed to providing state-of-the-art, quality diagnostic services.

VGL UC Davic California

 Available tests include: 

Parentage/Genetic Marker, Alpha-S1 Casein, Freemartin, G6-Sulfatase Deficiency (Nubian breed)

Herd Health Diagnostics (formerly BioTracking Lab of Pullman, WA)

A cost effective lab for goat & sheep blood testing for Pregnancy, CAE, CL, and Johnes. 

Herd Health Diagnostics is the new home of the BioTracking Testing Lab.