Horse Side Vet Guide ®

Equine Health Resource

Incontinence, Urine Dribbling or Dripping

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 the results of the Whole Horse Exam (WHE) suggest the horse is otherwise normal.

Several different bladder and urethral reflexes are required for normal urination. These reflexes requires normal neurologic function and normal functioning of the muscular wall of the bladder and urethra. The nerves that supply the bladder come off of the spinal cord far to the rear of the animal around the peak of the croup. If this nerve supply is damaged, the ability to urinate normally, and normal continence can be compromised.

There are transient reasons why neurologic dysfunction might exist such as recovery from anesthesia. Horses that are weak or ill from other causes often have a very weak urine stream and may dribble urine. Beyond this, there are a variety of conditions associated with this observation that either involve compromised neurologic function or blockage of urine flow.

WHAT TO DO

Assess your horse’s general health using the Whole Horse Exam (WHE), paying particular attention to their attitude and appetite. Look for signs like wobbliness or unsteadiness. Try to collect a urine sample and assess the color and amount of urine produced. Most underlying causes require prompt attention, so immediately share your findings and concerns with your vet.

WHAT YOUR VET DOES

Your vet assesses general health, general neurolofic function, the urine, the urethra and the bladder. Rectal palpation and ultrasound are helpful diagnostics to evaluate the bladder. Bladder catheterization is a different procedure and uses different instruments for male versus female.

Author: Doug Thal DVM Dipl. ABVP

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