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


Not Urinating Enough


Lack of urine production may be caused by dehydration, kidney problems, or blockage in the urinary tract. But unless a horse is confined, and on consistent, clean bedding, it can be very hard to approximate urine production and know whether it truly is less than normal.

  • 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 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, and drinking habits. Consider the color of the urine: clear, light to pale yellow, dark yellow, brownish or other?

Provide free access to fresh water and try to quantify the urine production i.e. how much is the horse really urinating? Consider the bedding the horse is on. Straw and some types of shavings may conceal urine spots. Make sure the horse is drinking, using buckets or water tanks. Turn off automatic waterer and provide clean water in buckets or a tank.

Share your findings and concerns with your vet. You may also collect a sample of the horse's urine for your vet.

What Not To Do

Do not give diuretics like Salyx (Lasyx) without veterinary supervision. They can make the problem worse.

your vet's role

Your vet will perform a physical exam and possibly run blood work (indicators of hydration and kidney function). Blood work in combination with urinalysis is usually required to make a definitive diagnosis.
Questions Your Vet Might Ask:
  • Does the horse seem to be having difficulty urinating?
  • How much water is your horse drinking per day?
  • How do you know that the horse is not urinating?
  • Please describe exactly what you are seeing.
  • Is the horse showing straining, slow or painful urination?
  • 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