Urolithiasis, commonly referred to as urinary calculi or “water belly” occurs when stones form in the urinary tract and block the urethra, preventing urination. Formation of urinary calculi is more prominent in male goats because of the anatomy of the male urinary tract, making it susceptible to blockage.
Certain individual goats, wethers, immature bucks and some smaller breeds are at a higher risk of blockage. Genetics, diseases and nutritional imbalances may be contributing factors. Poor water intake can also result in concentrated urine which can increase the risk of urinary calculi, especially in winter months and hot weather.
Restlessness, frequent attempts to urinate with no success, a decrease in feed intake and kicking at the abdomen are all signs of urinary calculi. The abdomen may swell if the bladder ruptures and goats may appear to temporarily improve…however urine flowing into nearby tissue usually results in death. If these symptoms occur, contact your veterinarian immediately. Death could occur if left untreated.
The best cure for urinary calculi is prevention. Feeding a balanced diet with the correct calcium to phosphorus ratio, plenty of clean, fresh water to keep urine diluted and regular exercise should keep your goats healthy and happy.
Increase water intake by offering free choice salt to help dilute the urine. Urinary acidifiers such as ammonium chloride can be added to goat diets to help reduce urinary calculi formation.
Nutritionally complete feeds, including PURINA SHOW GOAT RATION and all PURINA MEAT GOAT feeds contain urinary acidifiers and properly balanced calcium to phosphorus ratios.