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


Urination, Frequent & Small Amounts of Urine


Frequent voiding of small amounts of urine can be a sign of bladder dysfunction or irritation. Possible causes include a bladder or urethral stone, inflammation of the bladder, or some other bladder disease or dysfunction. Problems with neurologic (nerve) dysfunction of the bladder can also present this way.

Horses that have abdominal pain (colic) in general, or are very ill from other causes may urinate frequently and in small amounts. Healthy mares in heat often urinate frequently.

  • Code Red

    Call Your Vet Immediately, Even Outside Business Hours
    • If you notice signs of colic, along with this sign.
    • 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 behavior continues but the horse has good appetite, attitude and shows no other signs of colic.
    • If the results of the Whole Horse Exam (WHE) suggest the horse is otherwise normal.

your role


What To Do

Assess your horse's general health using the Whole Horse Exam (WHE), paying particular attention to attitude and appetite, rectal temperature, heart rate and gum color. Take note of the urine color and amount. If you can catch a small amount of urine, do so, keep it refrigerated and provide it to your vet as soon as possible. If this pattern of urination continues, or you notice any other signs of illness or abnormalities, contact your vet right away.

your vet's role

Your vet's approach is to consider overall health first, then focus on the urinary signs. A urinalysis (lab tests on the urine itself) can be a very helpful test in determining the nature of the problem. Ultrasound and endoscopy are also useful tests for evaluating the urinary tract.
Questions Your Vet Might Ask:
  • How old is the horse?
  • What breed is the horse?
  • When did you first notice this?
  • Does the horse's appetite and attitude seem normal?
  • What is the horse's age, sex, breed and history?
  • 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