The way goat cheese producer Judy Schad sees it, Purdue’s Heeke Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory in Dubois, Ind., plays a key role in the success of her livelihood.
She and her husband, Larry, own Capriole Inc. in the Floyd County community of Greenville in southern Indiana. They have been consulting the lab for at least 15 years as they continually monitor the health of their herd of about 500 goats.
"We have used it a lot because there is very little information that has been written about goats," she says. "The diagnostic lab has been very helpful in identifying causes of health problems in goats. It does keep us in business."
Judy Schad recalls a health crisis during a winter outbreak of an infection that "spread like wildfire on the milk line" and killed several goats. She contacted the lab, and the Purdue specialists identified Staph aureus as the culprit and recommended procedures on how to eliminate it.
"That was really significant because we caught it early, before it infected the whole herd," she says. "It really did save us from what could have been a terrible situation."
A pathologist from the lab once visited the farm to learn about the operation and has conducted postmortems to learn causes of death. "They’ve just been great for us," she says. "They've really done double duty in helping us."