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


Discharge from One or Both Nostrils (Clear)


A small to moderate amount (not actively dripping from the nostrils) of clear nasal discharge from one or both nostrils is usually normal in horses. A normal, clear discharge is made up of secretions from the nasal passages, and from tears that drain from the eye through the naso-lacrimal duct and into the nostril.

If nasal discharge becomes excessive, thicker (mucous consistency), more opaque (white, yellow or green), contains feed material, or is accompanied by other abnormalities there may be cause for concern.

  • Code Green

    Contact Your Vet to Obtain Useful Advice & Resources
    • 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 whether this observation is accompanied by any other abnormalities or illness. If the nasal drainage is not clear or seems excessive, or the horse seems dull or depressed, share your findings and concerns with your vet.

your vet's role

Your vet will likely tell you this is a normal finding, unless it is accompanied by other signs of illness or abnormalities.
Questions Your Vet Might Ask:
  • Do you notice a cough?
  • Does the discharge appear to be coming from one or both nostrils?
  • When did you first notice this problem?
  • Do you think the horse's attitude and appetite are normal?
  • What are the results of the Whole Horse Exam (WHE)?
  • 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

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
more treatments

Author: Doug Thal DVM Dipl. ABVP