Thursday, April 13, 2017

Goat Biosecurity Testing

Biosecurity testing is something we take very seriously on our farm. In this post I will share with you the supplies you need to test your herd, how to draw the blood and the diseases I test for and would recommend anyone with goats also test for.

To get started you will need to decide whether you will do the blood draws and send off the samples yourself or if you will have your veterinarian do them.  Some labs will allow you to send in your own samples, others will require they be sent in by a veterinarian. There are pros and cons to both. Pulling the blood and sending the labs off yourself will potentially save you a little money. On the down side, you will be limited to the labs you can use, you will need to learn to draw blood and you will need to acquire your supplies.

I have included a short video in this post of me drawing blood from several of our goats for testing. Please excuse the video movement and such, my 5yr old was the only videographer I could afford, I pay him in chocolate chip cookies 😅.


The following is a list of supplies you will need if you want to draw the blood yourself for testing:
  • Clean needle & syringe for each goat.
    • 3ml syringe with a 22g needle
  • Red rubber or Tiger top blood tubes
    • AKA: Serum Separator Tubes
  • Alcohol
    • Either in a spray bottle or cotton balls soaked in alcohol
  • Laboratory Paperwork
  • Goat Registration Papers
  • Shipping container
    • Check with your lab to be sure there are no special instructions
    • Bubble wrap the tubes so they don't get broken in transit
    • Place tubes in sealable bag in case they do get busted your lab work won't be ruined

Drawing the Blood:

The first step is to have someone properly secure your goat. Have them hold them steady and raise their head up, you don't want them to stretch them too high though or it becomes difficult to feel the vessels. You will spray or wipe the area over the jugular with alcohol. I like to use a spray bottle over an alcohol soaked cotton ball; less things for the other goats to try to pick up and eat or carry off.  Then you will need to place pressure on the vessels to hold them off, like a tourniquet does when you give blood. You will do this at the thoracic inlet, on each side of the trachea. I included a photo in the very beginning of the video to show you how and where to apply your pressure. As soon as you apply pressure, if your doing it correctly and the head is not stretched too high you should see both of the jugular vessels pop on each side of the trachea. Depending on if you are right or left handed one side will be easier than the other. I prefer the right side as I am right handed. You will then use a new needle and syringe, for each goat, to draw the blood. Once you have drawn the blood you need to place it in a red top or serum separator tube labeled for that respective goat.


I usually send off for the following tests:
Caprine Arthritis Encephalitis (CAE) Virus
Caseous Lymphadenitis
Johne's disease

However at the time of this posting the Johne's test is not available, the test itself is on some kind of back order. Also, if you want to test for Brucellosis you will have to have your veterinarian pull and send off your tests.

I will write a follow up post to go over the different diseases I test for and why.

If you have any questions please don't hesitate to send me an email or find me on Facebook and send me a message. If you enjoy my blog posts please let me know. If there is anything you would like me to make a post on please let me know

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