232 First Street
Fort Lupton, CO 80621
Our clinic provides large animal ambulatory service to Fort Lupton, Hudson, Platteville, Brighton, Keenesburg, Dacono, Frederick and Firestone.
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Case of the Month:
A four year old male castrated Nigerian Dwarf goat presented for three day history of stranguria, (straining to urinate). Owner had not noticed urination and was unsure if he was straining to defecate or urinate. Only a few fecal pellets had been observed. He was lethargic and uninterested in eating hay. Additional he was noted to grind his teeth and vocalize. No moisture was noted on prepuce even during episodes of straining. A single lateral radiograph was taken.
What condition does this wether have and how is it corrected?
This goat has urolithiasis or obstruction of the urethra with a bladder stone. (Only bladder stones evident in this radiograph). The formation of urinary stones are a result of nutrition, management, and the individual health/genetics of each individual animal. A variety of different stones can form in goats based on the type of diet they consume. Additionally, dehydration can also cause precipitation of minerals into stones. High concentrate grain diets are commonly high in phosphorus and low in calcium creating calculi. Additionally diets high in calcium, such as alfalfa, can predispose goats/sheep to calcium carbonate calculi. The small ruminant (goat/sheep) male is more predisposed to stone blockages due to anatomy as they have a sigmoid shape to their urethra and stones often get lodged in the curved portion. Additionally, male small ruminants who are castrated at a young age have smaller urethral diameter due to lack of hormones produced by the testes.
If left untreated, stones blocking urination results in bladder or urethral rupture and ultimately death of the animal. Signs to look for if you suspect your goat is blocked include straining to urinate or defecate, vocalization with urination, posturing, and no signs of urine around the prepuce or in the pen, inappetence, or depressed demeanor. Stones should be one of the top things to consider in a sick castrated goat or sheep.
Treating small ruminants for stones is much different that treating a dog, horse, or human. Ruminants have an urethral recess which is located in the region of where the urethra curves around the brim of the pelvis. This blind pouch is difficult to bypass and invariably entered when trying to pass a catheter into the bladder. Performing this procedure is frequently unsuccessful and results in trauma to the area possibly causing urethral rupture or narrowing. For these reasons this procedure is rarely attempted or successful. This leaves the small ruminant who is completely blocked (not passing any urine) really one option which is surgical management. There are several different types of surgical management based on stone location and progression of disease. Additionally, it is good to keep in mind that animals who have had problems with urolithiasis in the past will be more predisposed in the future and every effort should be made to manage at home appropriately.
Key points to remember if you have a castrated male goat.
1: Do not feed grains (commercial product pelleted diets are okay though likely unnecessary). If you have to feed pelleted rations make sure the calcium to phosphorus ratio is in the range of 2:1 or 2.5:1.
2: Do not feed alfalfa hay
3: Do not allow grazing of clover unless for specific health requirements and consider using a urinary acidifier.
4: In cold weather provide warm clean water and closely monitor for any decreased water consumption- you can also add in salt for additional water consumption.
5: Consider a loose goat mineral specifically formulated for goats