Urinary calculi in goats

8 posts

Member for

9 years 4 months
Last seen: 06/22/2016 - 16:37
Joined: 08/06/2012 - 13:54

Urinary calculi in goats

 

Urinary Calculi is rearing its horrid head again amongst my wethered Boer x goats.  Two years ago my pet wether died of UC .  Ignorance & spoiling my pets with a diet too rich in grain was said to be the cause.  The remaining wethered pet’s diet changed straight away, they got nothing extra & lived on browse in the paddock. Exactly a year later my second wethered pet developed UC.  I have been maintaining him for nearly a year now but with a heavy heart as he keeps getting blood in his urine.  Both these boys developed UC in early Spring.

Now (late winter),one of my herd boys (5 ½ years old) has UC , he has never been treated like my pets, only lived in 100 acres of browse with 11 others, Olssons GO lick Block freely available. I do feed out once a week a little Molafos mixed with Apple cider vinegar, more to encourage the herd to come to me when I call but another way to get them to have ACV.   All these boys have been robust & healthy.

The three boys with UC were wethered at 6 weeks of age. Is this too young?  Could something on my property such as a plant be causing UC?   

Any help & suggestions are most welcome, I am feeling devastated & worried the herd guys may start dropping one by one.  

Last seen: 09/17/2019 - 18:07
Joined: 11/23/2011 - 09:38

Hi,

I am sorry that your boys are suffering from UC (kidney stones). Kidney stones consist of magnesium and ammonium phosphate and are due to a combination of a dietary imbalance of calcium and phosphorus: The balance should be calcium 2 parts to phophorus 1 part, and the fact that the buck has a longer and less flexible urethra than the does and which also has three bends that the stones need to be able to go around so as to be passed in the urine.

The fact that water is very cold in winter also means that often livestock don't drink as much as they do in warmer seasons which adds to the problem because it means that the urine is more concentrated and carrying more mineral phophorus. This means stones form more readily than they would in summer when animals drink more. if the water available for the stock is too mineralised or is not very palatable for other reasons it may cause them to avoid drinking enough water to keep the urine sufficiently diluted to prevent formation of stones.

I suggest that if the stones can be felt lodged at the beginning of the Urethral Process (the narrow approx. 5cm long tube at the end of the urethra) that you have the vet remove it. This can help to allow the stones to pass out of the Urethra. Removal will not cause any problems with breeding. However,  if the urethra and bladder has already been badly damaged by the blockage it may interfere with his future breeding prospects.

The prevention of UC.

I do not know what Malphos is but if it contains a lot of phosphorus it may be a good idea to stop feeding it for a while and just give them a general lick block suitable for goats. Containers of stock salt , which goats love, can be offered also to encourage them to drink more and  feeding Ammonium chloride at a rate of .5-1% of the total ration can also be useful.  Smith and Sherman (1994) suggested Ammonium sulphate can be used instead of ammonium chloride at the rate of .7% of the toal ration. 

If it is not controlled then the bladder can burst causing the condition called water belly, which is fatal. I hope the above has been helpful to you. I know how dreadful the condition is as I lost one of my best bucks a few years ago because he had been sneaking into the cattle yards when I was feeding them and eating  the cattle ration which is much too high in phosphorus for goats. The result was the loss of a $1,200.00 buck and a lot of upset for me.

All the best,

Barb Vincent

 

Last seen: 06/22/2016 - 16:37
Joined: 08/06/2012 - 13:54
Thank you Barb for taking the time to answer my query. I can imagine how devastated you were by the loss of such an expensive buck. Where do I buy ammonium chloride from? I have rung a couple of stock feed suppliers with no results, could this be only available through a vet? How does ammonium chloride compare to using apple cider vinegar as a preventative to UC? I am also wondering as my wethers live on 100 acres of browse & do not get extra food rations unless the season is particularly bad & drink from the dams, would administering as a preventative via a water trough be enough? Thank you
Last seen: 09/17/2019 - 18:07
Joined: 11/23/2011 - 09:38

Hi,

In answer to your question below are the contact details of a wholesaler who sells ammonium chloride:

Tel: +61-2-9624 1333
Fax: +61+2-9624 5851
www.hardman.com.au 

There is also a place in Brisbane that I bought hard to obtain chemicals from about 10 years ago, called the Chemical Warehouse. Whether they are still in business or not I don't know. Personally apart from trying to obtain either the Ammonium sulphate or the A. Chloride,  I would put out the stock salt for them in a container heavy enough so they can't tip it over, because that will make them drink more. The reason they are forming calculi assuming they aren't getting suppliments containing a lot of phosphorus is because their urine is too concentrated allowing stones to form. giving them stock salt to force them to drink more should help to keep their urine more diluted. Another thought: if they are having acess to a lot of Lucerne (alfalfa) then that will also cause a problem because it contains twice as much phophorus as it does calcium. Usually not a problem for does but a major one for bucks. 

As to whether cider vinegar will help or not, unfortunately I really don't know because I know little about naturopathic medicine.  

Hope this helps. 

Barb

Last seen: 12/26/2018 - 09:21
Joined: 05/31/2011 - 09:44

Hi Barb,

Thanks for the great answers they are very informative and provide some valuable information.

If any user's are interested, Barb has written an excellent book 'Farming Meat Goats' which covers:

  • Selecting and preparing a property, 
  • Choosing breeding stock, 
  • Breeding, 
  • Health care and nutrition, 
  • Drought feeding, 
  • Condition scoring and marketing.

Charlie

Last seen: 06/22/2016 - 16:37
Joined: 08/06/2012 - 13:54

Thank you Barb

Last seen: 09/17/2019 - 18:07
Joined: 11/23/2011 - 09:38

Hi Charlie and goat woman,

glad I could be of help.

cheers,

Barb

Last seen: 03/08/2018 - 21:05
Joined: 03/03/2013 - 19:49

This is not an anwer but a question. I have two adorable little Nigerian Dwarf wethers. I got them for my mare when her pasture mate died of old age and I absolutely adore them. They are more like puppies than goats. I feed my mare a little alfamo (chopped alfalfa and molasses) as a treat and I also let the boys have a handful a day. Today I was told that this can cause UC. Is Molafos what they call chopped alfalfa and molasses where you live? When I read that this is the only supplement you give them it scared the daylights out of me. I need to get educated and quick about this thing as it would just kill me if I were to hurt them like that. Thank you so much. I do hope you see this as it has been so long since you posted your question. I think I will look up Molafos online and hopefully I can find it.

 

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