AABP Executive Director Dr. Fred Gingrich is joined by AABP registered veterinary technician member Pamela Armstrong. Armstrong is the author of a case study novel treatment paper published in The Bovine Practitioner titled “Urolithiasis: Review and case description of a Wagyu feeder steer with struvite crystalluria and urolithiasis treated with calcium boluses”. Armstrong is the owner of Maple Row Farms in Clarence, N.Y. where she manages a horse rescue operation and a Wagyu beef cattle farm. They begin their conversation by discussing the value of registered veterinary technicians in bovine practice and how they can be a resource to help alleviate rural veterinary workforce challenges. Armstrong discusses the patient that was involved in this case study, a 27-month-old Wagyu steer owned by her. The steer presented with a painful abdomen, hunched appearance and sandy grit on the hairs of the prepuce. Diagnostic testing included urinalysis, CBC and chemistry profile. A diagnosis of struvite urolithiasis was made, and treatment involved analgesics, antibiotics and oral calcium boluses to increase the calcium concentration in the blood and decrease urine pH. Serial urinalyses were performed to guide the treatment with calcium boluses. Pen mates were evaluated and found to have crystalluria but no clinical signs of urolithiasis. The animal was successfully harvested and the urinary tract was grossly examined post mortem at harvest.
This case study demonstrates a novel approach to treating urolithiasis in a non-invasive manner using calcium boluses instead of the traditional treatment with the urinary acidifier ammonium chloride. Urolithiasis is the fifth leading cause of mortality in feedlot steers due to the high concentrate diet and effects on urine pH and calcium:phosphorous ratio. Armstrong recommends that a feed analysis be performed to evaluate the calcium:phosphorous ratio and to perform serial urinalyses to monitor the effect of treatment on crystalluria and urine pH.
Armstrong, P. M. (2023). Urolithiasis: Review and case description of a Wagyu feeder steer with struvite crystalluria and urolithiasis treated with calcium boluses. The Bovine Practitioner, 57(1), 41–48. Retrieved from https://bovine-ojs-tamu.tdl.org/bovine/article/view/8573