The City Girl Farmer

Goats Get Bladder Infections
May 9, 2009, 7:41 am
Filed under: Goats | Tags: , ,

One reason I decided to try to raise Cashmere goats is because I had read that they were virtually indestructible.  They need hay or pasture, water and enough shelter to keep the wind and rain/snow off them.  That’s it.   They don’t just die like sheep do.

I noticed the day after we picked up Shannon that she was shivering.  I thought that was odd but she had endured a 3- hour trailer ride down from the mountains and it had started to snow on the way home.  We put a heat lamp out in the barn for them thinking that would make her more comfortable.   Both animals seemed to be eating, drinking, peeing and pooping so I thought everything was fine.  Well, a few days later Shannon is clearly having difficulty urinating.  She would squat and only a few drops would come out.  At first I thought it was because we were too close to her and she was shy.  Julie, one of our horses,  doesn’t like it when you watch her go, so I’m thinking I have a shy horse AND a shy goat.  But then she kept squatting, near and far, and it didn’t matter.  Only a few drops came out.  I started to worry then and went to the trusty internet for answers.  I learned that goats are subject to urinary calculi usually from a diet that is not acidic enough.  The kicker was that it affected males almost exclusively.

I called a friend who raises cashmeres, an acquaintance who raises dairy goats and the breeder and all of them said to get her to the vet.  I called our vet and discovered that they did not treat goats.  The closest goat vet is an hour away in Colorado Springs.  So Thomas and I loaded her into the back of the Tahoe and off we went.

The vet tried to catheterize her with no success.  Trying to hold a 100 lb. creature still for a catheter is a nearly impossible task anyway if you ask me.  Taking her temperature was similarly challenging.  She did not have a fever.  Luckily, she was squatting constantly and the vet was able to catch a few drops into a test tube.  The urine was clear and yellow and he took it to examine under a microscope.  When he came back he explained that he had seen some basal cells “which could possibly be indicative of bladder cancer” and no white blood cells which you would expect to see if there were an infection.  He further explained that in order to have a firm diagnosis he would need to do X-rays and dye studies (!).  Of course, the goat would have to be tranquilized because if whe wouldn’t hold still for a catheter, she probably wouldn’t hold still for an X-ray.  He recommended that we treat her for an infection since her symptoms were classic cystitis symptoms except for the lack of white blood cells in the urine.

He sent me home with some Penicillin and a few syringes and told me to give her 3 cc’s twice a day for 7-10 days.  I learned how to give intramuscular shots to a goat by looking at pictures on the internet and confirming with my friend who also has goats.  Thankfully, I haven’t killed her yet.  I don’t know who hates the shots more, though, the goat or me.  I feel like a monster each time I go out with a needle.