Sunday morning when I was out feeding everyone I noticed Heston the goat wasn't nearly his chipper self. He was lying down a lot and arching his back when he was standing. These are not good signs when you have a male goat. Male goats have a more complex urinary tract than females and are prone to crystals forming and then clogging their urinary tract (technical term is urinary calculi). They can't urinate and then die. I've had the unfortunate chance of witnessing this in our last wether, Buddy. So when I saw the signs in Heston, one of Dym's babies that I've raised since he was born, I called the vet immediately. The vet confirmed my diagnosis and said it was indeed an emergency. So he drove out with his wife, the local horse vet, and they worked on dislodging the crystals. Sometimes the clog is right at the tip of the urethra, so it's a simple as taking a pair of scissors to the tip of his penis (ouch!). They cut off the very tip and that allows him to start urinating again. I have to admit I'm not real sure what they were doing under there but they worked at it, taking turns, for about 20 minutes before he started dribbling urine again. I've never been so happy to see dribbling urine before in my life. They said his bladder was about as big as it could have gotten without bursting. I'm so glad I called.
They left me with some anti-inflammatory medicine to reduce the swelling and allow him to keep dribbling. I started him on an ammonium chloride drench, where I dilute 2 teaspoons of ammonium chloride in a cup of water or juice and use a drenching syringe to get that mixture down his throat in a day. The ammonium chloride will slowly dissolve the crystals that are still in him (that are only allowing him to dribble urine). Every day I'm hopeful that I'll go out there and see a stream of urine, but four days out now and it's still dribbling. I've started crushing up a chewable vitamin C pill and adding it to the mixture, hoping the ascorbic acid will help too. I guess it's a waiting game now. Poor Heston.
I'm kicking myself because I did this to the goat. I started buying alfalfa hay for Dym during the winter to get some weight on her, and whatever she eats her babies eat (they will always be her "babies" even though they are three years old). Boy goats shouldn't have alfalfa because it throws off the calcium to phosphorus ratio that is so critical in keeping their urinary tract healthy. So no more alfalfa for him.....if he makes it. Ugh.