Testing acidity of urine

Discussion in 'Goats' started by Nancy_in_GA, Jul 8, 2005.

  1. Nancy_in_GA

    Nancy_in_GA Well-Known Member

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    Hi,
    Just read on another (emergency only) group that someone is going to try testing their wether's urine for acidity using pH strips or sticks. Supposedly one type of UC stone forms when the urine is too alkaline. Has anyone tried this?

    If the urine were found to be too alkaline, would using Ammonium Chloride change it to be more acidic, or does it just dissolve stones? Same question with vitamin C? Is there some food that could be used to lower the pH level without messing up the goat's digestive system on the other end?

    ps: Have done a lot sillier things in my life than follow a goat around all day with a plastic cup.

    Nancy
     
  2. Croenan

    Croenan Well-Known Member

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    Do we even know what the proper pH is for a male goat and would keeping the pH at a certain level even help? I too have better things to do than play with goat penis' to dislodge any stones that I find! (right now the plastic cup thing seems pretty good to me!!!)

    I have a wether who just had surgery 2 days ago for stones and I am very interested in keeping the stones away!! :bash: I don't understand how the ammonium chloride would help and how to administer it. (can the does and babies drink it too?)
     

  3. Nancy_in_GA

    Nancy_in_GA Well-Known Member

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    Hi Croenan,
    Hope your wether is doing well after surgery.

    Below is a paragraph from the only article I've found so far mentioning pH testing of urine. According to this, AC does acidify the urine. But there are so many other factors involved, it sounds like a crap shoot to me.

    I think I'll just keep mine eating vines and blackberries all summer, no grain, chase them up and down the hills so they get lots of exercise and drink plenty of water, and leave it at that. ;)

    Urine Acidifiers
    If calculus analysis consists of phosphate minerals, prophylactic use of urinary acidifiers can be helpful. Normal urine pH in herbivores is alkaline (greater than 7) and in this environment phosphate calculi are more likely to precipitate. Administration of ammonium chloride salt at a level of 2% in the concentrated ration is recommended. For example, if you are feeding 1/2 cup of grain/day - that equals 120 ml and 2% of that equals 2.4 mls, or 1/2 teaspoon of ammonium chloride a day. I usually have owners divide that into 1/4 teaspoon salt in 1/4 cup grain morning and night. By testing their urine with litmus paper (available in drug stores) owners can assess urine acidity. One must be very careful in the amount of ammonium chloride given. There is a fine line between therapeutic benefits and toxicity

    The full article (reprinted from Pygmy Goat WORLD magazine, Nov. 1995) on UC is at:

    http://kinne.net/urincalc.htm

    Nancy
     
  4. Starsmom

    Starsmom Well-Known Member

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    The ammonium chloride acidifies the stones and keeps them from forming and blocking the urinary tract. After my bucks bout with UC, I rarely feed the males grain. The get to graze to their hearts content and get some hay. I will give them an occasional handful of grain, but it always has a little AC in it. Since our water is awful I fear that could cause the UC as well, so I dissolve about a tsp in a small container and give them that first thing in the morning and they drink that up and then they get their regular water. It also makes them thirsty, so it promotes drinking more water.
     
  5. Nancy_in_GA

    Nancy_in_GA Well-Known Member

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    The only trouble we've had in our first year with goats was during the very first week. We got one wether that was weaned too young. The breeder said he was 7 weeks. I said, "Isn't that too young?" She said, "Oh no, he will be just fine. He gets one cup of grain per day."

    In 5 days he got pinkeye, then soremouth, then coccidiosis (but NOT pneumonia, thank goodness). He would not touch grain or hay, only browse. Maybe I didn't have the same kind of grain. The vet prescribed Primor and terramycin, and I spent 10 days hand feeding him in my basement. I'm still kicking myself one year later for not knowing enough to supplement with a bottle. But he pulled through eating chopped alfalfa hay mixed with bananas, honeysuckle, privet hedge, and crackers, and appears to be fine now.

    I remember every detail vividly. And, of course, he would be the sweetest-tempered one of all, but this is off the original topic.

    Anyway, that episode scared the heck out of me in my first 5 days of owning goats, so I've been overprotective, expecting something awful to happen, like UC, ever since.

    They really don't get any grain, and I really do make them exercise when it's cool. But they are on alfalfa pellets in the winter, and I am really pleased with the way the pellets worked out last winter. Then this article says too much alfalfa causes UC. Other articles say just the opposite. And then there's the long-stem roughage controversy, and mine won't eat hay. And some articles say there really isn't any proof that AC helps prevent UC. Geesh!

    It just drives me crazy that there doesn't seem to be any consensus, even among the university researchers, about a lot of things concerning goats. I am willing to do anything it takes to keep healthy happy goats, but it's so confusing.

    Sorry for the rant. Had to get a couple of things off my chest.

    Nancy