Type of goat disease found in Northern Ireland for first time

By Conor Macauley

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
The condition was detected during a routine inspection at a holding in County Londonderry

A disease which affects goats has been found in Northern Ireland for the first time.

It was picked up in an animal on a holding in Country Londonderry during routine surveillance.

The premises where the condition was detected was placed under restriction and other animals slaughtered.

There are around 3,800 goats in Northern Ireland, and farmers have been urged to be vigilant by chief vet Robert Huey.

Most goats are found in small numbers on farms, but there are some commercial meat and dairy herds.

The infected goat had been imported from Great Britain and is believed to have brought the infection with it.

Caprine Arthritis Encephalitis (CAE) can affect the animal's productivity and condition.

The main symptom is lameness but it can also cause loss of hair and can affect kids' ability to stand and walk.

Most goats are infected at an early age from mother's milk, remain virus positive for life and can transmit the virus.

CAE is not a disease which can be transmitted to humans.

Tests are continuing to ensure that there has been no further spread of the disease.