Spring 2018 Kids


Moonlight Farms Goat Herd Health Status

It is understood that knowledgeable goat buyers are very interested in the health status of the goats they buy. Our goal is to have healthy, care-free goats. We closed our herd in July of 2005. Our approach at Moonlight Farms and our status with each disease is discussed below.

Caprine Arthritis Encephalomyelitis (CAE)

  Caprine Arthritis Encephalomyelitis is usually transmitted through milk from dams to kids. It is more common among dairy goats raised on pooled milk than it is among goats that raise their own kids. Tennessee Myotonic Goats are a low-risk breed unless they are housed with other goats, or are part of an embryo transfer program involving dairy does, which is not the case at Moonlight Farms. Our entire herd was tested in January 2006. All animals tested negative. We therefore have a low-risk herd.  


  Footrot is a bacterial disease that is usually brought in with newly acquired goats. We have never had a case of footrot, and the few goats we purchase are quarantined and foot trimmed until we are sure that we are not introducing the bacteria that causes footrot onto the farm.  

Caseous lymphadenitis (CL)

  Caseous lymphadenitis (CL) is a bacterial disease that causes abscesses. It lasts in the environment up to 6 months, and the incubation in an exposed goat can be up to a few years but is usually six months or less. In January of 2006 our entire herd was tested and all were negative. We have never had a case of CL and are confident we do not have this organism on the farm.  


  We had pinkeye many years ago, but no cases for the last 14 years. We added one new goat in 2005 and have since closed our herd. No cases of pinkeye resulted after the addition of this goat in July of 2005. Pinkeye organisms can survive in a herd, though, and infection may break out when goats from different herds are mixed together. We don't know whether we have the organisms, and there is no test that will show if we do or not.  


  Fortunately, we have never had any cases of soremouth (contagious ecthyma, a viral disease). Now that the herd is closed, we are confident that we are low-risk for this disease.  


  We manage our parasites minimally. Animals are generally dewormed before kidding, and then on the basis of the FAMACHA system. We are trying to avoid making the worms resistant to dewormers. Since we do not have pasture and have to dry-lot feed, our goats are at a lower risk for intestinal worms than those that are pasture grazed. We have never had goats show signs of the meningeal deer worm that causes brain or spinal damage.  



We have had not had any cases of pneumonia.




We have never documented an infectious cause of abortion on the farm from 1999-2018.


Routine Vaccinations

  Our goats are routinely vaccinated for Clostridium Perfringens Type C and D and Tetanus (C, D & T) at age 4 weeks, given a booster at 8 weeks and then revaccinated annually.  

Johne's disease


Johne's disease is an insidious bacterial disease that causes wasting. This usually occurs in middle-aged animals, although the course of the disease varies considerably and it should be considered whenever a goat has chronic wasting. Johne's is generally spread from a dam to her kids. The disease can spread to older animals but with much more difficulty than to youngsters a few days old. The most susceptible time period is the short time span right after birth, and the environment needs to be heavily contaminated so that oral exposure occurs. Infected does generally have the organism on their udders, which is how the kids get an early and infectious exposure. The organism can last in soil up to a year, which represents a certain but low risk in extensive pasture-based systems. This is in contrast to more closely housed dairy situations (especially cattle) where significant environmental contamination is assured throughout most facilities, and most youngsters are closely housed in confined groups.

The tests for Johne's disease all have drawbacks, but are useful if used appropriately. The AGID blood test is very specific, meaning that animals that are positive by this are nearly all infected. This test does miss some infected goats, however. The ELISA blood test, in contrast, picks up more of the infected animals (not all) but also tends to pick up as positive some that are not infected, especially if they have been exposed to or vaccinated for Caseous Lymphadenitis. There is also a fecal test that can take up to 14 weeks to complete depending on which method is used (there is a liquid test and a solid test). A negative fecal test is not definitive as the animal can be shedding the bacteria intermittently, or not shedding at all when they are not exhibiting symptoms. A positive fecal test, however, is considered the "gold standard" in testing for Johne's, meaning a positive fecal test result means the animal is infected. The status of the tests is important to consider when evaluating the status of a herd - a negative test coming from a herd with a number of positives is much less reassuring than a negative test coming from a herd of all negatives. Animals are also only likely to be positive by either test if actually shedding the organisms. So, an animal with an early, non-contagious case may well be negative and then become positive only later as it develops the clinical disease and becomes infectious. It is therefore important to evaluate test results on the basis of the entire herd and not only the individuals in the herd. In addition, testing should be done regularly so that those animals that convert to positive status late are culled prior to becoming overly contagious.

All animals currently in our herd tested negative for Johne’s Disease on their AGID blood tests done January 2006, July 2006, August 2007, June 2008 and June 2010. We plan to continue testing periodically prior to breeding. We will not be able to say we have no risk for Johne's, nor can any herd make that claim since testing indicates only no positives at a given time. We feel confident that the present animals in the herd are "low risk". Our plan to test biannually in the fall will allow us to assure ourselves that we remain in the “low-risk” status with respect to this disease. After several consecutive years of negative test results for the entire herd, we will feel confident that we are more along the lines of "little to no risk."

We advise all customers to have their animals tested on a routine basis to verify that none of the more insidious diseases have been unknowingly brought into their herd, especially if they are buying from multiple sources.

In the future, if we decide to reopen and bring any new stock in, it will be quarantined for a minimum of 30 days and will be tested prior to introduction to the herd. Any animal that tests positive will be culled.

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E-Mail us at: candjbene@gmail.com

Smithfield, Virginia 23430

Cindy & James Bene
 •  Phone: 757-357-6951

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