Monday, July 2, 2012

Doctoring Goats...

We had our first real experience with doctoring goats last week...and we really wish we hadn't had it!

Dilly meets Kitty
On Tuesday evening, Jenna came into the barn to tell us that her one goat, Dilly, wasn't eating, and was just laying down inside his hutch.  I went to investigate.  He would stand up and walk around, but then go right back into the corner and lay down.  His temperature was only slightly elevated, but he seemed uncomfortable...straining as if he needed to urinate, but wasn't able.

Light bulb!

We were taught about this at many goat meetings...the dreaded Urinary Calculi  (a fancy name for kidney stones)   Jim talked to the vet, who confirmed our suspicions just by asking a few questions.  He agreed to come to see what he could do for Dilly.

Here's the good news...

He sedated Dilly and was able to remove the  tiny stone which was blocking his urinary tract, offering the poor goat some relief!  He's been fine ever since...eating vigorously and yes, peeing as any goat would.  We celebrate every time we see it happen!  (it's the simple things!)

Here's the bad news...

This condition doesn't often have a happy ending.  Once a goat develops these Urinary Calculi, even with a successful procedure like the vet performed on Dilly, there are usually more stones that make their way down the urinary tract, causing more blockages.  If they can't urinate, their bladder can burst within 24-28 hours. 

Here's what we can do...

We got some Ammonium Chloride powder from the feed mill, mixed it with Karo syrup and a little water...

Pulled it up into the drench gun...

...and administered it to both goats every day for five days.  The purpose of this is to hopefully dissolve any more stones that Dilly may have, and also prevent Pickles from having the same problem...

Pickles in his favorite spot


We really weren't expecting this to happen...we were feeding them a goat feed which already had Ammonium Chloride in it, for this very prevent Urinary Calculi.  We were feeding them the recommended amount of grain, and the Phosphorus/Calcium ratios were correct.  We thought we were doing everything right.  However, for various reasons, it happened anyway. 

Young male goats that have been castrated at a young age are most susceptible.  Females rarely have this problem, because their urinary tracts are short, straight and wider in diameter.

Boer goats are also susceptible...perhaps because they are raised primarily for meat, and are often fed more grain to get them ready for market. 

We are thrilled that for now, Dilly seems to be doing just fine, and we are getting more attached to him every day. We won't know the end of the story until "who knows when"  He might get sick again, and we feel a little like we're sitting on pins and needles, just waiting.

But for now, we'll enjoy listening to him yell every time he sees someone who might give him food, watching him eat huge mouthfuls of weeds, and watching Pickles stand on his back to try to reach the leaves on the tree that are just out of reach!


  1. Just came across your blog from At The Farm..sorry to hear about Dilly but glad you got him better. Poor little guy. My luck, that would be happening to me if I had goats. I had them years ago and a virus (or something) wiped them out. I've been thinking about raising Kinders but haven't yet committed. I'll enjoy reading about yours.

  2. Oh Alica I hope Dilly continues to be alright. This is hard to watch and wait. I love the way you explain to all the non farmers out there it is wonderful. Take care stay cool. I am off to bale hay again. B

  3. I am sorry that happened but know you will do everything you can and he just might be ok...he is so cute.

  4. Drat Alica...
    No fun!
    I'm glad that Dilly seems to be on the mend.

    I've never heard of this condition.... I really don't know a lot about goats.
    I'd like to learn, and I'm thinking of getting a couple one of these times.
    Are your Boer?

    I've heard that LaMancha(not certain about the spelling)are a good bread to get.

    Hope the goats continue to be well.

    Smiles :)

  5. Sorry to hear about your goat, but glad the vet was able to help. You might want to consider a free choice mineral salt and grassy hay that is lower in calcium & phosphorus. Just what I've seen in the past.

    Can't wait to read more on your blog. I'm your newest follower!


  6. I sure hope the little guy continues to do well!

  7. AWWW, poor Dilly! He is absolutely adorable! I would be in love with these little guys! I'm glad he is ok and hope he stays that way!

  8. Glad he is ok. I've never heard of such a thing. Jeepers when I was growing up I lost goats to a bull, wolves (yes the neighbor had goat eating wolves), and eating a puncture weed. Never lost one to something like kidney stones. I've had kidney stones that would be worse than the bull and the weed, not the wolves. Hope he stays healthy. I'm not a big fan of goats for the reasons stated above, but yours are sure cute.

  9. Glad he's doing well. Those darn stones are just their worst enemy. :-(

  10. So glad your story had a happy ending! We lost a pet wether goat to this years ago. We had a goat specialist vet tell us that most goats form the stones, but the urinary tract does not develop in early castrated goats, leaving it too narrow for the stones to pass. She advised us to castrate later, or have does for pets. It happens in sheep too. I hope this was the only episode you have to deal with.

  11. Do you know that is the reason I don't have goats. I have been so afraid of that I just haven't ever got them. My Dad and Mom had a flock of Boer goats. My Dad also raised cows but once they got those goats they were smitten. After my Dad died and my Mom couldn't take care of them, because she was sick, she had to sell them. I think she took it harder than anything that life had presented to her at the time. She loved her goats and spent more time with them than in the house. I have always loved goats and would love to get some.
    You make it look so easy. I do hope they don't get anymore urinary stones. We had sheep when I was a girl and I don't remember it ever happening with them. My DIL wants sheep for the wool :)or goats.

  12. I have 4 wethers that are 4/5 yrs old......I add AC to their loose mineral, I also feed them grain that has AC ....but it's not enough. Hoeggers Goat Supply sells the AC in 2 lb bags and I believe advises to add it to a 25 lb bag of minerals.

  13. We are researching getting goats next year, and stories like these help me so much! I'll file this away in my mind until I need it! Thanks!

  14. Love that top Image, geetings folks. Richard from the Amish settlement of Lebanon,pa

  15. Sounds like you are doing the right things. The Merck Manual has some good information. it has not been much of a problem for us because we do not feed grain. our goats are strictly brush goats. hope he continues to improve.


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