Posted on: 1 June 2015Share
If you recently adopted your first wether goat, then it is vital that you learn all that you can about urinary stones and how to prevent them from forming. Urolithiasis is a very painful condition for goats and can be prevented through proper control of your goat's water and diet. Here are some questions and answers to help you better understand urinary stones and their prevention.
What are Urinary Stones?
Urinary stones that form in goats are referred to by many names, including
- urinary calculi
- water belly
The medical term used by veterinarians to describe the stones is urolithiasis. Urinary tract stones in goats are made of small white collections of phosphate salts. Goats typically process phosphate through their saliva, but when a goat isn't fed the proper diet or enough water, then their body rids itself of the excess phosphate through their urinary system.
Why Do Wethers Have Urinary Stone Problems?
Wether goats have the biggest problem with urolithiasis because they are castrated before their penis and urethra have time to grow to their proper size. Delaying castration can greatly reduce the incidence of urinary stone problems.
What Are the Symptoms of Urinary Stones?
The symptoms of urolithiasis are
- abdominal pain
- distended abdomen
- humped back
- tail twitching
- vocalization of pain
In addition, you may see bloody urine dripping from your goat's penis. This is caused by the stones rubbing on the inner penile tissues and causing irritation.
How are Urinary Stones Treated?
There are two ways that urinary stones can be treated:
- surgical removal
- putting down the goat
If the goat is otherwise healthy, your veterinarian may be able to perform a surgical procedure on your goat's penis to remove the stones. However, if your goat is believed to have a chronic problem with stones, then the vet will suggest you put the animal down to end its suffering.
How to Prevent Urinary Stones
The good news about urolithiasis is that it is preventable through the following actions:
- delaying castration
- offering plenty of clean water
- offering a diet high in grasses and low in grains
To give your goat the best chance to avoid urolithiasis, you should only feed them grass hay and no grain. Feeding grain or alfalfa will increase their phosphorous and promote the growth of urinary stones.
If you believe that your pet goat may be suffering from urolithiasis, you should contact your local veterinarian as soon as possible. The earlier you get your goat to an animal hospital like Grove Center Veterinary Hospital for treatment, the sooner you can relieve your pet of their pain. This is not a situation where you should ever take a wait-and-see approach.