The use of ultrasound for obstructive urolithiasis in goats

The role of ultrasound in urolithiasis   In the following article, the anatomy which causes uroliths to become so problematic are discussed, and the role of ultrasound in its diagnosis. Uroliths are stones or crystals that form in the urinary tract, and vary in their mineral composition depending on geographical location and the animal’s diet. They are usually small and easily flushed out in the urine, but in male goats, they can be deadly. Male goats are particularly predisposed to blockages of the urinary tract due to their anatomy. They have a long, narrow, and at times tortuous urethra. In castrated males – particularly those castrated young – the urethra can be even narrower, putting these goats at even higher risk. These predisposations can be exacerbated by diet, frequency of feeding, and water intake. There is currently no evidence to suggest a predisposition based upon breed. Particularly common sites of blockage are the urethral process and the sigmoid flexure. The utethral process is a particularly narrow part of the urethra right at the end of the penis. If urolithiasis is identified before bladder rupture, amputation of this part of the penis can be a life-saving. Without strict adherence to a controlled diet, however, utolithiasis is likely to recur, with the sigmoid flexure the next most common site of obstruction. Recommended reading on preventative feeding for goats prone to urolithiasis are listed at the bottom of this article.   Identifying urolithiasis Goats suffering from urolithiasis will be in a significant amount of pain and discomfort, but their symptoms – such as loss of appetite and bloat – can be easily confused with gastrointestinal complaints. It is important that farmers and veterinarians rule out urolithiasis before potentially wasting precious time treating the wrong disease. Dried crystals around the urethral process are a...

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