Patrick, is a 7 year old billy goat who belongs to one our clients. Ordinarily, we don’t treat goats or other farm animals, however, Patrick is a beloved pet of the owner of the stables where Dr. Henderson keeps her thoroughbred, Alibi. When Patrick’s owner asked her to take a look at Patrick, she found him dripping bloody urine all over his stall. On closer inspection, the area around the prepuce was very bruised and swollen. Patrick had been off his feed for a few days and the owner had noticed the dripping urine as he labored around.
Breaking out some dusty books regarding farm animals, and doing research on the internet, we found that Patrick, like many male goats, had urinary stones stuck in his penis. This is a common ailment in goats. First because they have a tendency to form stones, but more importantly, because the end of their penis has a very narrow area called the urethral process in which the stones get trapped. When the stones are unable to get out of the penis, urine backs up in the bladder and ultimately back into the kidneys. The longer the pet remains obstructed, the worse the prognosis goes. Therefore we opted to try to help Patrick by performing a surgery know as a scrotal urethrostomy. In this surgery, we incise the skin near the scrotum (hence “scrotal”) and dissect down to the penis. We open up the urethra and attach it to the skin. This leaves a much larger opening for the stones to go out of. We were able to then pass a catheter up into the bladder and get out the stones.
Frequently, this surgery is attempted under poor conditions, in the field on hay bales with injectable anesthetic. Under these conditions, the outcome is not often favorable and many of the goats do not make it. Fortunately, we were able to perform the surgery under sterile conditions with all the appropriate equipment and Patrick survived the surgery and went on to heal normally. He is back to his happy self up at the barn, keeping an eye on all the horses.
Patrick before surgery dripping blood
Patrick being prepped for surgery.