Horse Side Vet Guide ®

Equine Health Resource

Stretching, Dropping Penis, Trying to Urinate

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 are convinced this is a sign of colic (abdominal pain).
  • If you notice other signs of abdominal pain (colic).
  • 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.

This behavior is often assumed by horse owners to be caused by a condition affecting the urinary tract. In fact, it is more commonly a sign of abdominal pain (colic) in geldings and stallions. Male horses in abdominal pain often stretch, posture to urinate and dribble small amounts of urine.

As expected, this behavior can also be a sign of conditions affecting the urinary tract and other body systems. Horses with urinary conditions like bladder stones and large “beans” may also posture this way.

WHAT TO DO

Watch the horse carefully for a few minutes. Look for other signs of abdominal pain and consider the horse’s attitude and appetite. Offer a small amount of hay to test appetite. Examine the appearance of the penis and sheath, looking for any abnormalities and note the color, quantity and appearance of the urine.

Assess the horse’s general health using the Whole Horse Exam (WHE), paying particular attention to heart rate, mucous membranes, and intestinal sounds. Contact your vet with your findings and concerns.

Keep in mind that sometimes this is the only sign of colic that you will see.

WHAT YOUR VET DOES

Your vet will rule out colic as the cause before focusing on the urinary tract as the cause for this behavior. If colic is ruled out, they will also assess the urinary tract (bladder and urethra).

Helpful Terms & Topics in HSVGWritten, Reviewed or Shared by Experts in Equine Health

Author: Doug Thal DVM Dipl. ABVP

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