What you see. The starting point for addressing any equine health related issue is your observation.


Soiling of Hind Limbs or Cannons


Geldings and stallions sometimes splatter their hind limbs with urine. This commonly occurs when the urine stream is scattered or deflected by a bean, or mass on the penis. This is also common in geldings that urinate into their sheath.

Mares may soil the insides of their hind limbs during estrus, or if they have persistent vaginal discharge from uterine infection or abnormality.

Dermatitis, scurfiness, and crusting may develop on the skin in the cannon area or anywhere else where the soiling regularly occurs.

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You also might be observing
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your role


What To Do

Watch male horses urinate and look for obvious causes; look for a swelling or mass on the penis or sheath that might cause urine to spatter.

For mares, assess the vulvar area and tail for evidence of discharge or watch mares for estrus behavior.

You can try to treat this condition by cleaning the affected area, but contact your vet if it continues or worsens because it may be the result of a treatable condition.

your vet's role

Your vet may assess the urine stream to determine if it is normal. In geldings, they might inspect and clean penis and sheath. In mares, they may pay attention to the reproductive tract for abnormalities such as a chronic infection.
Questions Your Vet Might Ask:
  • When did you first notice this problem?
  • Is the horse a mare, gelding or stallion?
  • Can you tell what is causing the problem?
  • What are the results of the Whole Horse Exam (WHE)?

Diagnoses Your Vet May Consider

The cause of the problem. These are conditions or ailments that are the cause of the observations you make.

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further reading & resources

Author: Doug Thal DVM Dipl. ABVP