Although the development of urinary calculi (stones) is a more common ailment with goats, a goat urinary tract infection can occur fairly regularly in goat herds. Typically affecting female goats (does), a goat urinary tract infection can cause serious problems for your goat's health if you fail to recognize the symptoms and provide prompt treatment.
Your goat's urinary tract consists of four major parts: the kidneys, the ureters (tubes that carry the urine from the kidneys to the bladder), the bladder, and the urethra (tube that carries the urine from the bladder to the outside of the goat's body).A goat urinary tract infection occurs when bacteria from your goat's digestive tract enters your animal's urethra. This bacteria then multiplies, causing an infection that typically takes place in your goat's urethra or bladder, although it could also potentially travel to your goat's kidneys, as well.
If your goat has a urinary tract infection, he will usually exhibit a set of specific symptoms. One of the most common symptoms of a goat urinary tract infection is irritation and pain or burning when urinating, which your goat will show by acting uncomfortable, often pacing or seeming preoccupied. Be familiar with how regularly your goat normally urinates, as well, since some goats with a urinary tract infection will urinate more frequently than normal. Other irregularities that could indicate a goat urinary tract infection include a strange urine odor and excessive thirst.
Diagnosis and Treatment
If you suspect that your goat has a urinary tract infection, arrange for a visit with your veterinarian to have the problem diagnosed. According to David G. Pugh, DVM, Assistant Professor at Auburn University's College of Veterinary Medicine, your veterinarian will ask you about your goat's symptoms and perform a urine check, either through a midstream collection (urine is collected midstream) or catheterization. If the urine test is positive, then your veterinarian will most likely prescribe a antibiotic for treatment, which he will choose based on factors such as your goat's lactation status (milking or dry).
Although many instances of goat urinary tract infections cannot be prevented, you should take certain preventative measures to reduce your goat's chances of developing this type of infection. Provide your goat with a well-balanced feed ration and a daily supply of quality roughage (hay); failure to do so can imbalance your goat's stomach acids and lead to digestive problems such as diarrhea that will increase her likelihood of getting feces in her urethra. Other key preventative habits to practice include constant access to clean, fresh water and having a regular worming schedule in place.
Be familiar with how your goat normally behaves from day to day, so you'll know if a certain behavior such as frequent drinking is unusual and may indicate a urinary tract infection. Certain other serious goat illnesses (including urinary stones) have similar symptoms, so be sure to contact your veterinarian immediately if your goat is exhibiting signs of urinary tract infection. Prompt action on your part allows your veterinarian to make a quicker diagnosis of your goat's urinary tract infection and provide immediate treatment that reduces your goat's likelihood of developing a serious and possibly life-threatening kidney infection.