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Deciding what age to castrate your young goat is a common question with new goat owners. I like to wait till they are three months old. Their urinary tract is fairly well developed at that age but they aren't so large that I can't band them. I always use the banding method to castrate. At three months old they are developed enough to allow the band to fit in the slack area above the testicles which seems to cause them considerably less discomfort than doing it earlier when there isn't as much slack for the band. They are uncomfortable for a few hours then are back to normal. We've had a few surgically castrated by the vet which took several days before the goat was up and about. I've heard of concerns with infection around the banding site but I've only had one person ever report a slight problem in 10 years of banding.

Can anyone give me some details on using a burdizzo?
 

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The burdizzo is the best of all possible worlds when applied correctly. Banding can take a long ime to resolve and IMHO and that of many vets I've interviewed, castration should be done after puberty, visible sings of buckiness, as that is when the urethra is finally done growing. It will not get any larger even though the goat will so the longer you wait the better.

Burdizzoing can be done at puberty, and is done with a special tool that crushes the cord but doesn't break the skin. You need to have someone show you how to do it and talk you through the lanmarks to look for but it is impossible for flies to get in the sore since there isn't one, and when we give them banamine about a half hour before we burdizzo them, they don't even swell the next day or show pain except for the couple of minutes while you are actually clamping them.

One of ALice's and my upcoming projects is going to be a video on procedures including proper burdizzoing.

Rodney also uses this method and has had the same success with it that I have. He did a demo of it at the rendy before last.
 

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Regarding banding, our experience is when we banded Beta he developed a raging roaring infection, and was extremely ill for a long time. We started him on IM Pen-G for 10 days, and you could tell that he just didn't feel real great for an extended amount of time after that. I'm talking months here. He did run a fever, Charlie and I watched him very closely for that whole winter, and he didn't really return to his normal until the following spring. :cry:
If I ever have to deal with that issue again we are definitely either going the burdizzo route and having the vet do it. I'm quite the wimp when it comes to my critters or family.
 

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In the last years, all out goats where catrasted with burdizzo, by a vet, with local and general anaesthesia. I watched and helped some years back a vet to burdizzo three bucklings under local anaesthesia only and they never regained their trust towards me. Seeing - and hearing - them scream when the burdizzo was applied - no thank you. Their will be a pain response under general anaesthesia, too, but not that intense.

Four goats where castrated "bloody" (as we call it here) by a vet by surgically removing the testes like in horses. It took weeks for the wounds to heal.

After burdizzoing it took them also about two, single goats up to three weeks for them to regain their normal self.

One vet - years back - castrated in a way I would have it done again if I would find someone who's open enough to this method again and would not just argue "that's never been done this way": she would surgically remove not only the testes but the scrotum as well and then sew the wound like every other surgical incision. No scarring, no blood clots forming in the scrotum, no heightened risk on infection, no long healing period.
 

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I just thought about a study I read one or two years ago:

Different castration methods and methods of sedation/anaesthesia on 10 weeks old sheep

I think I mentioned it on the packgoat list already but I think within the forum chances are higher that it won't get lost within all the postings.

http://www.working-goats.de/diss_melches.pdf

I put the summary in here:

Seventy male lambs older than 10 weeks of age were control handled or castrated by Burdizzo-, rubber ring- or surgical method to assess the acute and long-term effects of castration. For local anaesthesia, either lidocaine or bupivacaine was used.
Elevated levels in serum cortisol concentrations, in the proportion of abnormal postures and in the frequency of immediate behavioural responses to castration indicated that surgically castrated lambs were most distressed. The results of the lambs of Burdizzo- and rubber ring groups in many respects were similar to those of lambs of the control group. Due to a faster wound healing, Burdizzo castration seems to be preferable when compared to the rubber ring technique. Between 1.5 to 9 hours after castration, signs of pain and distress were at a lower level in lambs anaesthetised with bupivacaine compared to lambs treated with lidocaine. It is concluded that local anaesthesia with bupivacaine, followed by the Burdizzo method is the preferable technique for the castration of lambs older than 10 weeks of age.
 

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We use an injection of banamine (flunixin meglumine) an hour prior to burdizzoing. One person feeds the kid grain while he stands in the milk stand and the other does the burdizzoing. Kids have been know to eat through the proceure and not cry or just cry at the pinch and then stop immediately and go back to the grain.

Very occasionally, the kid needs a shot of banamine the next day but i've only had to do this twice. Normally there is very little or no swelling.

It's well documented that the pain levels for burdizzoing are the shortest length of any type of procedure. The only trick is getting them right after puberty and before things are too big to fit in the tool.

I did have some problems with a person I was trying to teach this year of not getting the cord on only one side of the goat. I had to go back in and redo several of her goats because she was missing the cord on one side. So, it does take someone who is knowledgeable to train you to do it correctly. Also you can cause major damage to the kid if you do it wrong, so don't try this at home without supervision.
 

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Hi Nate,

I'm not sure if Donna & Steve are on this list yet...and I don't want to speak for her...but I have been to many of her seminars and this is what I think. I have to go back and watch the video again to be certain...and maybe it's in the paperwork or maybe there should be an addendum or something but here goes...

When the question was asked in the video I think it was pertaining more to animal size. Will the animal get bigger if you castrate late and no..that's genetics.

So here is the real question...will it help with UC? Maybe, maybe not. There is NEW studies showing that castrating after perberty will alow the goat's urinary tract to fully develope and possibly get a bit larger in diamiter...and we are talking millimeters.

Will it prevent UC? NO! Thats 99% diet! (and I think a bit of genetics too)

Will it help? Maybe..If a goat gets stones it may help them pass them if the urinary tract is larger is may not. There have been goats that have gotten and died from stones when castrated early and late. Again...99% diet.

Banding was and still is widely used in the goat world. It is easy, inexpensive, can be done yourself, and reletively painless if done at an early age.

In the Packgoat world it has been recently sugested and more routinely practiced to castrate later at puberty just for the small chance it would help down the line. Of course castrating late is more expesive...having a vet do it. I need to learn more about Burzzordo...that would be an inexpensive way to castrate later and can be done yourself.

The key point I want to make and Donna makes too is DIET! That is the real UC prevention. Not date castrated. I myself have boys that have been baned and some that were castrated later. All are doing well (Knock on wood) but I pay close attention to their diet. Will I band in the future? Probably not. I want that small chance too. Banding is not a death sentance...incorrect diet could be.

Hope that clears things up.
 

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Hi Rachel,

the only goat that developed UC in our herd - so far, knocking on wood, too, was an early (3 days) banded wether. As all get the same diet and in that year resp. the year before I made the mistake to give them a mineral mix for cattle high in calcium and low in phosphorus, I'm leaning heavy towards the "castrate late" faction. All other goats were at least 3 months old when castrated.
 

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THe UC question is multi-faceted and no one item is the answer. I think and most vets who have done research agree, the main problem is predisposition (heredity).

There also seems to be equal amounts of risk from goats with poor (overabundant, unbalanced) diet, lack of exercise, inadequate water intake, overweight, and early castration and type of castration. But no one of these factors seems to weigh more than any other and almost always you can trace UC in families of goats.

THe main thing to consider is how much risk are you willing to allow in your herd. People who have in mind and limit all the risk factors will have less incidence than someone who doesn't.

I address all these issues in my herd and knock on wood, have never had even one case in all my goats ever. But if you think that addressing only one of these issues is going to be the magic bullet, it's not. You've got to think about your total management program to prevent as many risk factors as possible.
 

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Carolyn,

you mention type of castration. Do you have data which type carries more risk (or less)?
 

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As far as the UC succeptability part of the castration question I think the main issue is the age and not the method. Banding, which is usually doe at an early age is a problem for UC because of the early restriction of growth of the urethra.

BUT, of course, in terms of pain levels of the actual procedure, healing time and risk of complications all methods have their own issues.

THere is a ton of research out there written by vets on cortisol levels, which track pain incidence and length of time after castration, which burdizzoing wins hands down. Below is just one, Google "burdizzo cortisol levels" for many.

http://www.vacaresources.com/modules/ar ... php?id=758

Dr Steven Hart of Langston U and Dr Marie Bulgin of Caine Center- U of Idaho have both done studies that lead them to recommend not banding before maturity to help prevent UC. These have not been published on the web on a public site. I have attended seminars with both these vets and have heard them talk about their results firsthand.
 

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I whetherized my 17 day old buck this morning, and gave him his CD-T shot. I used an elastator band. I've read a lot of information on the subject, and have found no scientific evidence which suggests a higher rate of UC from early banding. On the contrary, I've read a report of 2 dissections of urethras from a herd whereas 1 buck was castrated, and de-horned at 2-3 weeks, and the other was castrated at 4-5 months. The anatomy of urethras in both animals were the same. I think it has more to do with the diet, as other members have stated.
 

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We just castrated our 7 week old Saanen cross. We wanted to wait longer but he would have grown too large for the bander to fit. No clue on the burdizzo method. We have one LaMancha wether that was done that way but we bought him as a 2 yr old so not sure who did it or what age he was when done.
 

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We castrate at 5 months. That's still small enough to use the burdizzo but old enough to have reached puberty usually. Any older than that I take them for surgical castration. The callicrate method seems to offer the best of both surgical and banding but isn't offered as an option by vets around here.

Banding needs to be done when they are relatively small and so you can't wait for the urethra to grow as big as it can to help prevent stones. It also shows higher cortisol levels over a longer period of time, cortisol being the indicator of pain in an animal, including humans. This is documented on research studies and can be googled.

Burdizzoing is not new. It has been used in New Zealand with sheep for a long time but a lot of people in the US haven't heard of it. It does require some training to do yourself. I conduct classes here to train people how to.

Goat Vader commented:
]]>>>I've read a lot of information on the subject, and have found no scientific evidence which suggests a higher rate of UC from early banding.>..
[/quote
Both Caine Veterinary Center and Landgston University endorse late castration as a tool for helping prevent urinary calculi. Drs Drew and Bulgin at Caine and Dr Hart at Langston have discussed this in seminars for goat packers and meat raisers that I have personally attended. If you want to, they can both be contacted at the respective colleges. Greg Locati had Dr Bulgin come out to one of his campouts near Caldwell, Idaho and give a seminar specifically on this topic. We all need to understand that the raising of wethers is a somewhat new phenomenon and that new information is being discovered all the time. Some studies haven't hit the internet yet. ;) The advent of meat goats in the US has been a huge help to developing new information that applies to packgoats also.

Of course, there is more than one factor leading to the possibility of calculi formation, heredity, small urethra size due to lack of development and poor diet with lack of exersize all contribute.

This problem is multi-faceted and and new information is being sought regularly. See the next post below for an article that was printed just recently by Dr Bulgin, one of the leading small ruminant practitioners.
 

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The entire article by Dr Bulgin of Caine Vet Center will be posted here when I get permission to do so, but this is her answer to the question of late vs. early castration.

>>>The following was published in Wool & Wattles, the current quarterly magazine of the American Assn of Small Ruminant Practitioners (Vol. 37, Issue 1).
Diameter of urethra: Wethers and steers are more at risk because castrated males have smaller urethras. In cattle, the urethral diameter of late castrates ((6 months old, compared to early castrates, 2 months old) was found to be 8% larger and able to expel a calculus that was 14% larger. Bulls' urethras are twice as large as steers. Studies haven't been done in sheep or goats, but chances are it is a similar situation. Genetics also seem to play a part in urethral size.>>>>>>>>>
As I said in my previous post, the problem is multi-faceted and in order to provide the optimum chance for healthy urinary tract function all of the four possible causes need to be addressed. Diet including water intake, late castration, plenty of exercise and looking at hereditary factors all combine to give your animal the best chance to not develop this heartbreaking problem.

As with CAE testing, if we can prevent stones by any means, even ones not necessarily completely understood, why wouldn't we? If someone could show me that there was a good chance of preventing CAE or stones by standing on my head for 3 minutes a year, why wouldn't I? :lol: Fortunately, that's not one of the criteria or Alice would have a video of it on youtube tomorrow...
 
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