Urolithiasis (Water Belly)

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Water Belly

Formation of calculi (urolith) within the urinary tract resulting in obstruction of urine excretion.

Causes:Water Belly

  • The primary cause of urinary calculi is feeding concentrate diets which are excessive in phosphorus and magnesium and/or have an imbalance of calcium and phosphorus.


  •  Blood in the urine
  • Straining to urinate
  • Decreased urine production
  • Painful urination
  • Vocalization during urination
  • Prolonged urination
  • Dribbling urine/ abdominal hair around prepuce remains wet
  • Tail flagging
  • Abdominal pain (stretching out all four limbs, kicking at the abdomen, looking at the side)
  • Loss of appetite
  • Lethargy (apparent depression)
  • Abdominal swelling (from a ruptured bladder)

Transmission:Water Belly

Ruminant urolithiasis is considered primarily a nutritional disease. The prevalence of urolithiasis in the USA is highest in calves, lambs, and kids castrated at an early age and fed high-grain diets with roughly a 1:1 calcium:phosphorus ratio or a diet high in magnesium. Ruminants fed high-grain diets with a low calcium:phosphorus ratio are at increased risk of developing struvite uroliths


  • Urinary acidifiers
  • Urinary catheter
  • Urethral process amputation
  • Perineal Urethrostomy
  • Tube Cystostomy
  • Prepubic Cystostomy
  • Urethral Translocation


  • Concentrate (grain) diets are excessive in phosphorus and magnesium.
  • The availability and palatability of the water supply.

References:Urolithiasis (Water Belly)

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