Horse Side Vet Guide ®

Equine Health Resource

Urination, Frequent & Small Amounts of Urine

Code Red - Call Your Vet Immediately, Even Outside Business Hours

Code Orange - Call Your Vet at Their First Available Office Hours

Code Red - Call Your Vet Immediately, Even Outside Business Hours

  • If you notice signs of colic, along with this sign.
  • If the results of the Whole Horse Exam (WHE) in the resting horse indicate fever (Temp >101F/38.3C) or heart rate greater than 48 BPM.

Code Orange - Call Your Vet at Their First Available Office Hours

  • If the behavior continues but the horse has good appetite, attitude and shows no other signs of colic.
  • If the results of the Whole Horse Exam (WHE) suggest the horse is otherwise normal.

Frequent voiding of small amounts of urine can be a sign of bladder dysfunction or irritation. Possible causes include a bladder or urethral stone, inflammation of the bladder, or some other bladder disease or dysfunction. Problems with neurologic (nerve) dysfunction of the bladder can also present this way.

Horses that have abdominal pain (colic) in general, or are very ill from other causes may urinate frequently and in small amounts. Healthy mares in heat often urinate frequently.

WHAT TO DO

Assess your horse’s general health using the Whole Horse Exam (WHE), paying particular attention to attitude and appetite, rectal temperature, heart rate and gum color. Take note of the urine color and amount. If you can catch a small amount of urine, do so, keep it refrigerated and provide it to your vet as soon as possible. If this pattern of urination continues, or you notice any other signs of illness or abnormalities, contact your vet right away.

WHAT YOUR VET DOES

Your vet’s approach is to consider overall health first, then focus on the urinary signs. A urinalysis (lab tests on the urine itself) can be a very helpful test in determining the nature of the problem. Ultrasound and endoscopy are also useful tests for evaluating the urinary tract.

Author: Doug Thal DVM Dipl. ABVP

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