For a long time, sheep producers have been able to determine if their sheep were resistant to scrapie, by submitting a blood or tissue sample. This enabled sheep producers to breed for scrapie resistance. Goat producers now have the same option.
After 10 years of study, researchers have identified genetic markers that confer scrapie resistance in goats. They are S-146 and K-222. The University of California-Davis is now offering testing for scrapie resistance in goats. Twenty to 30 hairs, with roots, are submitted for testing. The cost of the test is $30 per animal.
Scrapie is a fatal, infectious neurodegenerative disease that affects sheep and goats. It is not caused by genetics, but an animal’s genotype will determine if it gets the disease if it is exposed to the infective agent, a misshapen protein called a prion. Scrapie is spread primarily through placental fluids.