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Goats/copper toxicity in goats/ red orange urine


QUESTION: I have a 3 yr old Nigerian dwarf doe and 2 6 month old pygora/oberhasli cross does and yesterday they were in the chicken coop with fresh pine shavings I noticed dark orange red urine (looked like kool aid)  I have been looking over the internet and thought maybe I poisoned them with copper as I boluses them about a month ago due to Yamhill count Oregon is supposedly quite deficient.  I also give free choice sweet lix minerals and have given in the past some copper sulfate not for a while though. I gave a second round of ivermectin pour on orally two days before. Scared to death but they seem perfectly fine eating drinking water. I was also wondering as we have been out picking blackberries could too many blackberries cause this? Also today I saw two of them pee and it was almost clear just a normal yellow. Should I be freaking out?

ANSWER: Copper toxicity first comes to mind.  Even if an area is copper deficient, goats need very little and usually get enough from minerals salts/mineral block along with browse and grasses.  But since the copper was given over a month ago doubt that is it.  Dehydration can cause dark orange/red urine.  Doubt blackberries would do that.  If the goats laid down in the pine shavings for a period of time the pine could have caused urinary tract infection for which the dark orange/red color is certainly a symptom.  Are they squatting a lot without peeing? Are they drinking a lot of water? If we are talking about urinary tract infection you can use oral antibiotics - sulfa or tetracycline work well - if you want to start them on this let me know and I can give you the regimen.  Let me know - Donna

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QUESTION: They did not have time to lay in the shavings as I just cleaned it out (straw) the night before and they ad just come in with me that morning to collect eggs. They don't show any signs of UTI no squatting w/o peeing or pain. But I would appreciate that protocol. Also no signs of the colored urine today and there was none in barn this morning from overnight. If copper could or would it ever clear up on its own?  Also my husband reminded me that I saw a spot like this in the straw bedding of the barn about a month and a half ago, mentioned it to him thought injury never found one,estrus cycle? Just the one spot back then that I saw. Anything they eat that could cause this. I was terrified they were going to die and now I feel like it is over and fine probably and I am overreacting, but I don't want something to happen to them that could b prevented.

Thanks for the update.  Have they been eating a lot of carrots or beet pulp or beet greens?  Anything new to their feed regimen? Are their water buckets metal? No bucks in with these? Copper toxicity can clear up on its own if it is not a high toxicity.  Boluses of copper are made for cattle, not goats.  Are they otherwise eating and drinking water well now? No foaming around their mouths? Usually estrus does not start until early September.   This could be a chronic urinary tract infection - flares up off and on but not much of a concern unless you saw them squatting a lot and not peeing or peeing just drips.  

Re the oral antibiotics - for either sulfa or tetracycline powder - usually you can get these at the feed stores over the counter - you use 1/2 teaspoon for about 50 pounds of body weight twice a day - you would mix the powder in apple juice or kool aid as the powder tastes terrible - then you give as an oral drench - you do not put it in the goat's water bucket as it says to do on the instructions.  

Hope this helps - let me know - Donna


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Donna Ruelas-Semasko/Edelweiss Acres


All goat health care, nutrition, judging questions about all goats - packgoats, dairy goats, pygmy goats, meat goats, fleece goats.


27 years health care/nutrition of all types of goats, 17 years experience in packgoats, 20 years experience in 4H goat projects as leader, superintendent and judge. 20 years experience in putting on goat care/nutrition seminars.

NAPgA, The Evergreen Packgoat Club, 4H, ADGA.

Hobby Farm, many newspapers, 4H newsletters, Packgoat Manuals (youth and general), judging information pamphlets, seminar handouts about health care and nutrition.

4 years of college, ongoing education in goats.

Awards and Honors
Small Farm Award of Thurston County

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