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Urinary Calculi Bucks & Wethers

Urinary Calculi

Urinary Calculi in male goats, why it occurs and how to treat

Urinary Calculi, is a urinary-tract condition in goats and sheep, which prevents both urination and breeding in males. The twists and turns of the male urethra make passing solid particles difficult at best and impossible at worst. Urinary Calculi is a disease that can and does kill bucks and wethers quickly.

Why Does It Occur: Urinary Calculi is almost always the result of improper feeding by the producer. Proper calcium to phosphorus ratio in feed, hay and minerals is critical; this ratio should be 2 1/2 to 1. Although the disease is called Urinary Calculi, the real culprit is phosphorus -- specifically too much phosphorus in relation to the amount of calcium in the diet. Feeding too much concentrated feed and/or feeding concentrates with an improper calcium-to-phosphorus ratio is a major cause of Urinary Calculi. Overfeeding or improper feeding of concentrates causes solid particles to develop in the urine; these solid particles block the flow of urine out of the goat's body, causing great pain, discomfort and oftentimes death.

How to Prevent: diet is absolutely critical to help avoid Urinary Calculi. The wether & buck’s grain contains ammonium chloride which is the most important ingredient to ensure urinary tract health. It helps prevent and break up urine crystals. So make sure your male goats are getting a feed that has ammonium chloride in it. If not, buy the powdered ammonium chloride and add a pinch to each ration of grain each day. Do not give too much or damage will result. But this alone is no guarantee that Urinary Calculi will be avoided. Be very careful NOT to give more than 1 cup of grain per day to bucks/wethers. Do not feed Alfalfa to them either. 

My Vet cautioned me against feeding alfalfa in any form, hay or pellet. Why? Alfalfa hay especially, is high in calcium and protein, which can lead to the formation of urinary calculi in male goatsl

The calcium in alfalfa hay can cause the pH of the urine to become more alkaline which can lead to the formation of urinary calculi. 

It is very important to understand that feeding alfalfa hay to male goats is not recommended at all.

Symptoms- How Do I Know If It's Urinary Calculi? Symptoms of Urinary Calculi include tail twitching in males, restlessness, anxiety and a "hunched-up" body posture as the animal strains to urinate. Catch it early! If your buck or wether does not come to be fed as usual and if you see them straining to pee, it's likely Urinary Calculi. Treatment must begin immediately. 

Treatment: With the assistance of my Vet I personally have developed a treatment that has worked both times this happened to a male goat at my farm.

  • Key: Catch it immediately!
  • Do not force an animal with Urinary Calculi to drink lots of water; if fluids can't leave the body because the exit is blocked, the only alternative is for the bladder to burst. A burst bladder cannot be fixed and is fatal.
  • Those crystals must be dissolved for the goat to be able to pee.
  • I mix 1 tsp. of  powdered ammonium chloride + 1 capsule (opened and emptied into mix) of a TRIPLE ACTION FORMULA Nutrient which I purchase on Amazon called
    Wiseceutical Chanca Piedra & Hydrangea. This Supplement also contains Dandelion Root and is a Natural Kidney & Gallbladder Formula and considered an effective Stone Breaker, Flushes Impurities, Cleanses the Urinary Tract - and is Enhanced with BioPerine.
    Mix the ammonium chloride & 1 opened Supplement Capsule and 1 baby aspirin crushed with 1/8th of a cup of water or less (just enough water to dissolve ammonium chloride & Supplement & aspirin) and fill a 6 ml syringe with this mixture. Administer 3 times for 2-3 days or until goat is back to normal eating and drinking and hanging out with the herd.
  • Note: if the condition is severe or not improving by day 2, I additionally mix 1 tsp ammonium chloride and 1 capsule opened of Supplement with peanut butter & flour & 1 baby aspirin crushed and give like a bolus.

Important! Please Read The Following Notice!

All information provided in these articles is based either on personal experience or information provided by others whose treatments and practices have been discussed fully with a vet for accuracy and effectiveness before passing them on to readers. Much of my page content is from Veterinary Colleges and Manuals.

In all cases, it is your personal responsibility to obtain veterinary services and advice before using any of the information provided in these articles. JoAnna Mertz is not a veterinarian. Neither JoAnna Mertz nor nor any of the contributors to this website will be held responsible for the use of any information contained herein.

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