(OPP) Starting at age 2-4+, ovine progressive pneumonia-infected sheep may suffer weight loss, difficulty breathing, and/or hard bag, with weakness, paralysis, or balance issues if brain infection occurs. However, infected animals may never show signs of this chronic disease.
(CAE) Caprine arthritis encephalitis is a chronic disease of goats. Infected animals often appear well. Signs of infection may be enlarged joints (often knees), lameness, loss of condition, poor hair/coat, or hard bag. Brain involvement, most common in kids, leads to balance issues, weakness, paralysis, or exaggerated reflexes.
Disease Transmission: Infected animals shed virus from the lungs and udders. Infection occurs through consumption of virus-laden milk or colostrum, or through infected droplet inhalation (OPP) or through contact with infected animals or feed bunks or equipment contaminated with virus from feces or lung fluids (CAE).
Testing: Blood samples are tested for antibodies to these viruses, using an ELISA. Since these diseases are chronic and no vaccines exist, a positive result means the sheep or goat is infected. Antibodies may not appear until 3-4+ months after OPP infection in sheep or 2-10+ after CAE infection in goats, so a negative result is not definitive. Exposed animals should be retested every 6-12 months for 2 years. Lambs and kids should not be tested before they are 6 months old to ensure maternal antibodies are no longer present.
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