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Goats/Urinary Calculi



I have a male goat that has been castrated.  He has had stones - the common ones, and had to have an operation so that he now pee's out the back.  Since his operation, he has been blocked once and I took him back to the vet and they gave me Ammonium Chloride which cleared the blockage really well.  He now seems to be getting blocked again - the pee stream is getting narrower and he's straining again.  I've put him back on Ammonium Chloride, but am running out of this, so wondered whether Potassium Citrate might work instead?  

I'm also putting Betonite Clay into his water now - do you think this is a good idea?

Many thanks.


ANSWER: First off, ammonium chloride does not clear/break up calculi - it is given to keep any calculi from growing large enough to cause issues.  What feed regimen is he on?  The main cause of urinary calculi is incorrect calcium to phosphorus ratio in the diet.  This should be 3:1 calcium to phosphorus - when this ratio gets off then calculi are formed.  I would give him concentrated lemon juice at 1/2 cup per 75 pounds body weight every 2 hours for 4 dosings, then wait for 8 to 10 hours and re do this dosing.  This should clear him out.  Potassium citrate will not help like the ammonium chloride but the citrate is acidic and may help eat away at the calculi too, just like the lemon juice does.  For ammonium chloride one tablespoon of the salt should be mixed in the drinking water - I advise a small pail of water, perhaps one gallon per 2 to 3 goats using it - mix in a little lemonade or other drink flavoring to mask the taste of the salt, mix well and as soon as they finish drinking this mixture, which is usually quickly, replace it with regular water - would do this treatment once every week for him.  Please let me know about what you are feeding him - Donna

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Hi Donna  

Many thanks for that answer.  I'm a little surprised that you say the Ammonium Chloride doesn't break down the stones because that's what Murdoch Uni Hospital Vet gave me and it definitely seemed to clear the blockage.  I have used lemon juice in the past, but not as regularly as you suggest so I will try this.  

He has had a lot of grain in his diet in the past but I've taken him off this now.

Kind Regards


what the ammonium chloride does is to keep the molecules of more calculi, such as phosphorus or calcium to build up, that is all.  It does not break the molecules down.  The lemon juice, concentrated form, eats away at the calculi and makes them smaller so they flow through the urinary tract system.  


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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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