Horse Side Vet Guide ®

Equine Health Resource

Dog-Sitting, Sitting on Hindquarters, Forequarters Raised

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 other signs of abdominal pain (colic).
  • If this behavior persists without an apparent cause.
  • 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 mild or occasional and the horse seems normal otherwise.
  • If the results of the Whole Horse Exam (WHE) suggest the horse is otherwise normal.

Dog-sitting is an uncommon behavior. It is usually associated with either abdominal pain (colic) or hind limb weakness, paralysis or pain. Horses with sand accumulation seem to dog-sit more frequently than horses with other conditions causing colic. Occasionally, normal healthy horses do this too.

WHAT TO DO

Assess your horse’s general health using the Whole Horse Exam (WHE) and look for other signs of abdominal pain and especially assess attitude and appetite. Get the horse up and watch the behavior that ensues.

Did the horse have difficulty getting up? Did it stay up or return to this position? If the horse goes down again after you get them up or shows any other sign of illness, call your vet and share your findings and concerns.

WHAT YOUR VET DOES

If this behavior is repetitive, your vet will try to rule out conditions causing abdominal pain (colic), as well as perform general physical and neurologic evaluation of the horse.

Author: Doug Thal DVM Dipl. ABVP

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