Horse Side Vet Guide ®

Equine Health Resource

Grunting or Groaning when Moving

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 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 this seems to be a slowly changing problem not seeming to cause the horse much difficulty.
  • If the results of the Whole Horse Exam (WHE) suggest the horse is otherwise normal.

Grunting when moving is an uncommon sign and is usually associated with extreme pain during movement. It may be associated with a variety of conditions including peritonitis, pleuropneumonia, rib fracture, tying up and severe lameness, among others.

WHAT TO DO

Assess your horse’s general health using the Whole Horse Exam (WHE), and look carefully for other signs of illness or abnormalities. Pay particular attention to heart rate, rectal temperature and gum color. Assess lameness at the walk. Contact your vet to discuss your findings and concerns.

WHAT YOUR VET DOES

Your vet assesses general health using a physical exam. Other tests will help rule out the common causes for this behavior.

What Not To Do

Do not force the horse to exercise until you have a better sense of what the problem is and have ruled out physical causes.

Author: Doug Thal DVM Dipl. ABVP

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