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


Urine Spatters or Sprays in Male Horse


Normal geldings and stallions relax and drop their penis to urinate. If urine spatters out of the end of the dropped penis, it likely indicates an obstruction to urine flow near the tip of the penis, most commonly a large "bean" (accumulation of smegma). Tumors or other growths can also interfere with urine flow and cause this sign.

Sometimes, the penis does not relax out of the sheath during urination, and urine splatters out of the end of the sheath. This likely relates to a horse's inability to drop the penis from the sheath, due to some condition that restricts normal movement of the penis within the sheath.

  • Code Orange

    Call Your Vet at Their First Available Office Hours
    • If sheath swelling or a sheath lesion is obvious, in addition to this sign.
  • Code Yellow

    Contact Your Vet at Your Convenience for an Appointment
    • If you consider this a chronic and relatively mild problem that is not changing rapidly.

your role


What To Do

Assess the penis and sheath, and clean it if possible. If the urine spattering continues after a cleaning, or you have any other concerns given your evaluation or efforts contact your vet. They will evaluate the area in attempt to determine the underlying cause.

your vet's role

Vets typically tranquilize horses for sheath examination and cleaning. This drops the penis and provides much better visualization of the penis and sheath.

Periodic sheath cleaning, by a horse owner or a vet, encourages visual inspection of the penis and sheath. Problems such as tumors (that affect this region frequently) can therefore be diagnosed and treated early, improving prognosis and lessening treatment costs.
Questions Your Vet Might Ask:
  • Does your horse drop his penis down when he urinates?
  • Are you able to see or feel a bean or mass near the end of the penis?
  • What is the horse's age, sex, breed and history?
  • Is the horse a stallion or a gelding?
  • Do you notice any abnormalities of the penis or sheath?
  • What are the results of the Whole Horse Exam (WHE)?

further reading & resources


Helpful Terms and Topics

Written, reviewed or shared by experts in equine health

Author: Doug Thal DVM Dipl. ABVP