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:update:
UPDATE: Please see this link for all of this info compiled more clearly: https://thegivinggoathome.files.wordpress.com/2020/08/urinary-calculi-in-goats.pdf

Well, this sure took some research. I've been working hard, and I've done a deep dive into the topic of Urinary Calculi.

Before you get into reading this, let me describe what it is. There are a lot of myths, a lot of ideas, a lot of theories out there on Urinary Calculi. So I decided to take the ones I've heard and figure out why they are recommended, how they work, etc.

So this is a treatment analysis that includes fact-checking some myths, some new ideas and ALTERNATIVE TREATMENTS, and my goal is just to provide some options and some new thoughts to consider! This took quite a bit of time and research, but it's not polished, and of course none of it is proven. Enjoy!!

DISCLAIMER: These are simply thoughts, notes, and ideas on Urinary Calculi. None of these "treatment" options are guaranteed to work in ANY way, please consult a vet.

There are two main causes for Urinary Stones we see in male goats. The first is caused by too much phosphorus, often the overfeeding of grain. These stones are called magnesium ammonium phosphate stones, or in humans, struvite stones. The second cause is calcium stones, which are often due to hard well water or the overfeeding of alfalfa, these are called calcium oxalate stones.

While both of these result in Urinary Calculi, the treatment path differs between the two. If we can know the cause of each case of Urinary Calculi, we can gear treatments better-and we may even be able to have more successful prognoses for these situations.

I saw Urinary Calculi as a dilemma for goat owners due to (1) frequent poor prognoses; (2) limited treatment options-including self-treatments or holistic treatments; and (3) limited studies and knowledge of the issue.

My goal was to take a closer look at the specific causes for UC, to research the current treatment options available, and to consider new options for treatment of this awful issue affecting goat farmers and pet goat owners all over the world.

I will also be discussing a few known alternative treatments for UC:

- Home Remedy by Hoegger Farmyard

- Fruit Fresh

- Apple Cider Vinegar

**And I will discuss newer alternatives as well.

"Phosphorus-caused" stones:

Most cases of UC are due to an imbalance (too much) of phosphorus. Current treatment for these stones (and all stones) is the administration of ammonium chloride. Ammonium chloride is an acidifying agent, which is what is needed to treat this type of UC.

Options that MAY work for alternative treatments to ACIDIFY urine and dissolve these stones include:

- Cranberry Juice

- Vitamin C (ascorbic acid)

- Vinegar (NOT apple cider vinegar)

- Prune Juice (FYI, high amounts may have laxative effect)

All of these are acidifying agents.

WHY APPLE CIDER VINEGAR WON'T WORK FOR "PHOSPHORUS-CAUSED STONES"

Unlike most other vinegars, apple cider vinegar results in an alkalizing effect, therefore it will not acidify urine in cases of magnesium ammonium phosphate stones.

ON VITAMIN C:

Vitamin C, a.k.a., ascorbic acid, has shown to have an acidifying effect on urine pH. A similar acid, citric acid, DOES NOT have the same effect. Both of these acids can be found in lemon juice. Thus, lemon juice is often included in alternative treatment options. Citric acid is metabolized by bicarbonate in the body, and, unfortunately, once metabolized, it will not likely acidify the urine. Lemon juice is highly acidic due to the citric acid-however, as said above, once lemon juice is metabolized in the body, it will actually have an ALKALIZING effect. It is for this reason, that lemon juice should not be used to treat "phosphorus-caused" stones.

While straight Vitamin C is best, a product called Fruit Fresh has been used in alternative UC treatments. This contains both ascorbic acid and citric acid. While it is true that citric acid will not aid in acidifying urine, there have been no studies to show that citric acid alone, without other byproducts in lemon juice, can cause urine pH to be more alkaline. Thus, it should not have any negative effect on treatment in the Fruit Fresh. Fruit Fresh, due to the ascorbic acid in it, may be a suitable alternative treatment. However, straight Vitamin C would be preferred.

A NOTE ON BAKING SODA:
As said above, citric acid is metabolized by bicarbonate in the body. While goats produce natural bicarbonate, adding extra bicarbonate through baking soda may increase the metabolization of citric acid. Citric acid aside, baking soda has an alkalizing effect on the body. For this reason, baking soda should never be offered free choice to male goats - and if it is needed for a case of bloat, use for only short periods of time.

WHY HOEGGER FARMYARD'S RECIPE MAY NOT WORK FOR "PHOSPHORUS CAUSED STONES"

The recipe from Hogger is as follows:

½ red onion

Juice from 3 lemons

6 garlic pods

¼ cup vinegar

As stated above, lemon juice may do more harm than good for treating this particular kind of stone. We will discuss onion later on, however, I have also come to the conclusion that there are no obvious acidifying effects from the onion in this recipe. The vinegar is the acidifying agent in this situation. It would be beneficial to use vinegar without these other ingredients.

"Calcium-caused" stones:

These stones are tricky, and there have been many misconceptions regarding them. Calcium oxalate stones will appear in urine whether it is acidic or alkaline, it is purely dietary with to relation to pH. Treatment for these stones is much more difficult. While they are much less common than the other, these stones also require a very different treatment method.

Options may include:

- Vitamin C (not for acidifying purposes, but to prevent the union of calcium and oxalate, which would form new stones)

- Vinegar (apple cider vinegar is okay in this situation, because we want the acetic acids and other acids, not the pH effect)

- Vitamin B6

- Magnesium (magnesium citrate)

Vitamin C may prevent the union of calcium and oxalates in the body. In doing so, it will prevent more stones from forming and/or combing to make larger stones.

Vinegar contains acetic and phosphoric acids. While again, we are not looking for an acidifying effect, these acids in particular may increase the amount of moisture urinary stones are able to absorb, therefore softening them and allowing them to break down easier. Vinegar also contains citrate, which binds urinary calcium and oxalate crystals to prevent formation and growth.

Vitamin B6 also helps with calcium oxalate stones. Onions are high in B6, however, complete B Complex supplements may be useful in treatment for calcium oxalate stones.

Magnesium, similar to B6, may be one of the most important (and under-studied) factors in calcium oxalate stone treatment. Magnesium has the ability to keep calcium in "solution." It prevents calcium from crystallizing. Magnesium citrate (a supplement for humans) is a well-absorbed form that can be used to dissolve calcium oxalate stones.

The Hoegger Farmyard Home Remedy MAY WORK for "Calcium-caused" stones:

½ red onion

Juice from 3 lemons

6 garlic pods

¼ cup vinegar

While I feel that this may not be a successful treatment in cases of "phosphorus-caused" stones, it would certainly be something you could try along with other treatment measures for calcium oxalate stones. And while I recommend against lemon due to it increasing urine pH, in calcium oxalate stones, pH is not relevant and lemon juice may have some added citrates (but vinegar alone is good enough) to help.

AMMONIUM CHLORIDE:

Ammonium chloride as an acidifying agent, if you have calcium oxalate stones, this may not be a successful treatment.

The takeaway:

Know what type of stone you are treating. While one relies on acidifying agents, the other relies on calcium oxalate binding agents. I believe that the misunderstandings regarding the treatments for specific types of UC may partially be why treatment is not highly successful.

BUT WHAT ABOUT PREVENTION TECHNIQUES?

Preventing "phosphorus-caused" UC:

Ammonium chloride, a well known UC preventative, should be very effective in preventing this type of UC.

However, the common recommendation of adding apple cider vinegar to water will likely do more harm this good if you feed large amounts of grain/phosphorus. It has an alkalizing effect on urine pH, despite common beliefs.

Preventing "calcium-caused" UC:

In the case of a diet too high in calcium (hard well water, high alfalfa consumption) apple cider vinegar as an addition to water may prove helpful. As you recall from above, the pH does not matter, it is the acetic acid, phosphoric acid, and citrate that dissolve and prevent calcium-oxalate stones.

Providing suitable dietary magnesium to balance high calcium may, in fact, be one of the best preventative methods for calcium oxalate stones in goats.

Please do not hesitate to contact a vet in a case of Urinary Calculi. These home remedies are not guaranteed to work, and most have not even been tested on goats.
 

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Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
REFERENCES/LINKS:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5503439/

http://orthomolecular.org/resources/omns/v09n05.shtml

https://www.sweetlix.com/research-articles/goats/urinary-stones-in-goats/#:~:text=An ideal calcium-to-phosphorus,(magnesium ammonium phosphate) stones.

https://hoeggerfarmyard.com/urinary-calculi-in-goats/

https://journals.lww.com/jbisrir/fu...effectiveness_of_lemon_solution_versus.8.aspx

https://www.kidneystonesclinic.in/can-apple-cider-vinegar-dissolve-kidney-stones/

https://www.foodnavigator.com/Article/2005/08/29/Cranberry-juice-no-benefit-for-kidney-stones#:~:text=Levels of brushite did decrease,," wrote the researchers.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4265710/#:~:text=Citrate prevents stone formation by,prevents crystal growth [6].

sciencedirect.com/topics/medicine-and-dentistry/citrate

https://www.kidney-international.org/article/S0085-2538(15)48976-8/pdf

https://liveutifree.com/vitamin-c-for-uti/

https://www.detroitnews.com/story/l...roach-really-low-ph-health-problem/112326926/

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/lemon-juice-acidic-or-alkaline#section4

http://www.zazenessentialwater.com.au/_blog/zazen_blog/post/How_is_lemon_juice_alkaline_forming/

https://sciencenotes.org/what-is-the-ph-of-lemon-juice/

http://orthomolecular.org/resources/omns/v05n10.shtml

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4946963/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6642359/

https://van.physics.illinois.edu/qa/listing.php?id=28840&t=vinegar-vs.lemon-for-dissolving-eggshells

https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-816/apple-cider-vinegar#:~:text=Apple cider vinegar is the,B vitamins and vitamin C.

https://www.peacehealth.org/medical-topics/id/hn-1228000#:~:text=In some cases, as much,itself reduces kidney stone recurrences.

http://csu-cvmbs.colostate.edu/vth/Documents/pharmacy-ammonium-chloride.pdf

https://www.healthcentral.com/article/alkalize-the-body-with-baking-soda
 

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Very good research! We have never personally dealt with UC here but I have talked many through treatment process. You listed many good methods. Success can depend on severity of the stones and how large the urethra is allowed to grow. Another option (I may have missed?) More of an emergency intervention..Snipping the urethral process also known as the pizzle which can offer immediate relief. Goat-link.com has a very good visual article on how to do this. This along with hot compresses and messages can help the goat expel the stones.
 

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Very good research! We have never personally dealt with UC here but I have talked many through treatment process. You listed many good methods. Success can depend on severity of the stones and how large the urethra is allowed to grow. Another option (I may have missed?) More of an emergency intervention..Snipping the urethral process also known as the pizzle which can offer immediate relief. Goat-link.com has a very good visual article on how to do this. This along with hot compresses and messages can help the goat expel the stones.
I did not want to go over complete treatments - which would have include banamine or anti-inflammatories, warm compress, massage, pizzle cutting, or a re-routing surgery... because I know those DO work and I was trying to focus on things we may not have very good understandings of, or that we may have misconceptions about ;)

This post was for all the people that I see on fb groups saying "give acv" instead of AC.

This post for all the people who don't have access to ammonium chloride and beg in a pinch for what they can use as a replacement.

:great:
 

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Awe.got it. We can remove my post so it doesn't confuse things.
 

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We haven't had UC and hopefully we never do. Only ever gave ammonium chloride once (posted about it here: https://www.thegoatspot.net/threads/acting-off.208843/) as a precaution since I wasn't 100% sure he didn't have UC. He recovered fine, I think it was something else.

Also I remember goathiker saying this on my thread about our senior goat George:

At age 11 the chance of him developing stones is nil pretty much.
Ammonium chloride is NOT intended for daily use in healthy animals anyway.
 

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I have never had any UC troubles yet. I do plan on wethering some of my buck kids when my does finally kid so I definitely plan taking some sort of preventative measures for them in the future.

I used to offer ACV water to my bucks, but they never drank it and I ended up trying to spritz some on their food, but then they stopped wanting to eat their food. So in short I don't offer it any more. I do like to keep some sort of salt out to encourage them to drink more water and in turn help flush out their systems. And of course I try my best to keep a mind on my calcium-phosphorus ratios.
 

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I have never had any UC troubles yet. I do plan on wethering some of my buck kids when my does finally kid so I definitely plan taking some sort of preventative measures for them in the future.

I used to offer ACV water to my bucks, but they never drank it and I ended up trying to spritz some on their food, but then they stopped wanting to eat their food. So in short I don't offer it any more. I do like to keep some sort of salt out to encourage them to drink more water and in turn help flush out their systems. And of course I try my best to keep a mind on my calcium-phosphorus ratios.
(thumbup)
 

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Thanks for doing all this research and posting it!
This is great info!
I have not had to deal with UC either, so far.
I have Ammonium Chloride on hand. It is good to know that may not work for calcium stones.
The math required to figure out the right balance for calcium vs phosphorus can be challenging.
Until this summer I have had access to alfalfa mix hay only (in small bales). I always shook it out and fed the boys mostly the stalks, as the leaves have more calcium. With that I gave a small amount of grain and BOSS to the males to even out the phosphorus. I had been adding apple cider vinegar to their water during that time, just because I had read it is good to do if you have hard well water, which we do.
Now I have found grass hay in small bales. My boys eat grass hay all day, and get a small amount of alfalfa hay at night to balance out the calcium. Not sure if I should continue with the apple cider vinegar.
 

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Vinegar contains acetic and phosphoric acids. While again, we are not looking for an acidifying effect, these acids in particular may increase the amount of moisture urinary stones are able to absorb, therefore softening them and allowing them to break down easier. Vinegar also contains citrate, which binds urinary calcium and oxalate crystals to prevent formation and growth.
@MadHouse I would still add ACV to balance your hard water!

And I'd be considering the magnesium in their diet... or possible lack thereof.
 

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Thanks for doing all this research and posting it!
This is great info!
I have not had to deal with UC either, so far.
I have Ammonium Chloride on hand. It is good to know that may not work for calcium stones.
The math required to figure out the right balance for calcium vs phosphorus can be challenging.
Until this summer I have had access to alfalfa mix hay only (in small bales). I always shook it out and fed the boys mostly the stalks, as the leaves have more calcium. With that I gave a small amount of grain and BOSS to the males to even out the phosphorus. I had been adding apple cider vinegar to their water during that time, just because I had read it is good to do if you have hard well water, which we do.
Now I have found grass hay in small bales. My boys eat grass hay all day, and get a small amount of alfalfa hay at night to balance out the calcium. Not sure if I should continue with the apple cider vinegar.
And I'd definitely form a treatment plan for UC that is not ammonium chloride in case of calcium stones.
 

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Even though now they are on grass hay?
If you have hard water AND still have alfalfa in a diet, the ACV will do way more good than the slim chance of it making urine a little less acidic.

If your water wasn't hard, grass hay and a little of alfalfa would be perfect. With hard water, and grass hay, and a little alfalfa, I would not be worried about phosphorus issues.

The ACV is to bind calcium not to acidify.
 

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If you have hard water AND still have alfalfa in a diet, the ACV will do way more good than the slim chance of it making urine a little less acidic.

If your water wasn't hard, grass hay and a little of alfalfa would be perfect. With hard water, and grass hay, and a little alfalfa, I would not be worried about phosphorus issues.

The ACV is to bind calcium not to acidify.
Thank you!
 

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One more question.
In your opinion, would grass hay only and hard water be a balanced diet?
 
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