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


Grunting or Groaning when Moving


Grunting when moving is an uncommon sign and is usually associated with extreme pain during movement. It may be associated with a variety of conditions including peritonitis, pleuropneumonia, rib fracture, tying up and severe lameness, among others.

  • 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 this seems to be a slowly changing problem not seeming to cause the horse much difficulty.
    • 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), and look carefully for other signs of illness or abnormalities. Pay particular attention to heart rate, rectal temperature and gum color. Assess lameness at the walk. Contact your vet to discuss your findings and concerns.

What Not To Do

Do not force the horse to exercise until you have a better sense of what the problem is and have ruled out physical causes.

your vet's role

Your vet assesses general health using a physical exam. Other tests will help rule out the common causes for this behavior.
Questions Your Vet Might Ask:
  • Do you notice any other problems?
  • When did you first notice this?
  • How is the horse's attitude and appetite?
  • Do you notice any lameness?
  • 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
more diagnoses

Author: Doug Thal DVM Dipl. ABVP