When the call came in on a busy Wednesday morning, that Mrs. Brenton’s male goat, Oliver, was straining to pass urine, Dr. Jackie recommended that he be trailered down to the clinic, as soon as possible. Oliver is a 180-pound Boer goat and Boer goats are one of the largest breeds of goats. Originating in South Africa, they were considered meat goats. However, Oliver is a castrated male and very much a companion animal.
Mrs. Brenton backed her horse trailer beside our hospital and opened up the gate to let Oliver out. He came into the clinic quietly, and we led him by his collar to the treatment area. As we maneuvered him onto the scale, he released a few drops of urine, but not a full flow, surely this meant that Oliver was blocked. A urolith (urinary stone) was preventing the free flow of urine. Christine (one of our veterinary technicians) had the ultrasound machine set up in the treatment area, ready to go. Oliver was given an injection of sedation to will help with pain and muscle relaxation and as his reaction time began to slow down, the technical staff were talking softly and petting him. Once he was sedated enough, he was moved onto the treatment table, and the anesthetic mask delivered a general anesthetic. When he was completely asleep, Dr. Jackie shaved his abdomen and used the ultrasound wand to see what was causing the blockage. A small stone could be detected in his urethra, which is the most common area for a stone to be lodged. High levels of calcium in the diet can contribute to this, so it is not recommended to feed alfalfa to male goats; obesity is also another factor.
After some searching with the help of two Allis tissue forceps, Jackie and Christine were able to cut the vermiform appendage, then remove some tiny gravel-like stones. Jackie threaded a urinary catheter into Oliver’s urethra, and the urine began to flow, the procedure was a success! The ultrasound was passed over the abdomen again, to make sure that all of the ‘stoney’ culprits were removed from the area.
Time for Oliver to be taken off of the anesthetic and let him slowly wake up. He was gently lowered to the floor with the electric lift table, where he could lay comfortably. Metacam, an anti-inflammatory, was given by injection to help him with the pain and Christine continued to monitor Oliver as he began to wake up.
I visited with him as he lay on the floor, leaning against the treatment table and soon his head was up, and his eyes began to brighten and become alert, he even tried to take a few bites out of my clipboard.
The procedure that was just performed will helpfully prevent any further blockages from urinary stones, along with the modified diet, having fresh, clean water available at all times and exercise. I love goats!
Written by Meghan Seal