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


Manure is Slimy, has Mucus, Pale Colored


Stringy viscous or rubbery pale material on the surface of a horse's manure is a sign that the manure has been in one location within the small colon for longer than normal.

The normal lower intestinal (colon) lining constantly secretes mucus to protect itself from irritation and to prevent adherence of manure to its surface. When the movement of the intestinal contents slows or stops and mucus production continues, mucus accumulates on the surface of manure. Manure coated in mucus is a sign of abnormally reduced intestinal movement that may result from a variety of disease processes. It is a sign that we often see in horses that have had other conditions causing abdominal pain (colic).

  • Code Red

    Call Your Vet Immediately, Even Outside Business Hours
    • If you notice signs of colic, along with this sign.
  • Code Yellow

    Contact Your Vet at Your Convenience for an Appointment
    • If you notice this more than occasionally.
    • To discuss your equine's general health and management.
    • If the results of the Whole Horse Exam (WHE) suggest the horse is otherwise normal.

your role


What To Do

If a horse seems otherwise healthy, finding a single pile of manure with mucus on it may not be cause for concern. Evaluate your horse's general health using the Whole Horse Exam (WHE), and pay particular attention to their attitude and appetite and listen for intestinal motility. Look around for other manure and assess it too. Look for signs of colic and other signs of illness, and share your findings and concerns with your vet.

your vet's role

Mucus on manure may be seen in conjunction with (or following resolution of) conditions causing colic. Our exam is therefore directed at ruling out any other signs that the horse may have had or be experiencing intestinal problems.
Questions Your Vet Might Ask:
  • Does the horse's appetite and attitude seem normal?
  • How much manure has the horse passed over the last 24 hours?
  • Have you noticed any signs of abdominal pain (colic)?
  • Does the horse appear normal other than this finding?
  • Has the horse had any Banamine or pain reliever in the last 24 hours?
  • Does the manure currently look different than usual for your horse?
  • 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.

Very Common
Less Common
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Treatments Your Vet May Recommend

A way to resolve the condition or diagnosis. Resolving the underlying cause or treating the signs of disease (symptomatic treatment)

Very Common
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Author: Doug Thal DVM Dipl. ABVP