Urinary Diseases

Urinary Disease is a concern for any horse owner. The urinary organs are responsible for helping to get rid of toxins in the body. When the system isn”t working correctly, it doesn”t just affect those organs. Other areas can develop problems as a result, such as the skin and nervous system. Because of that, it”s important to understand the causes and signs of urinary disease.

Causes of Horse Urinary Disease

One of the most important ways to maintain horse health is to understand how one area affects the other. When a heart or lung is diseased, it can create a backward pressure of blood that ends up hurting the kidneys.

Another way horses come down with urinary disease is by taking in poisons through their feed or eating musty food. Hoar frost on green vegetables and food rich in phosphates can also damage the kidneys. Some of those foods are wheat bran, beans, peas and lentils.

Even back or loin sprains can end up causing bleeding in the kidneys.

Spotting Horse Diseases Early

One of the best ways to ensure a healthy horse urinary tract is to know how to spot a problem early on. Stiffness in the hind legs can mean trouble as well as not being able get up or down without groaning. If they urinate more or less than they usually do, that”s another sign of a problem. Other signs are swelled legs, dropsy, skin problems, not being able to make sharp turns and tenderness.

If you notice any of these signs, it”s a good idea to get your horse”s urine tested. Healthy urine will be a deep amber color and have a very strong smell to it.

Diseases of the Horse Urinary Tract

There are many kinds of Urinary disease. Some are not technically a disease of the urinary organs but are classified with the others because of their effect on a horse”s urine. One of these diseases is saccharine diabetes. It”s actually a disease of the nervous system or liver but causes sweet urine.

Another disease that has an effect on the horse urinary tract is diuresis. This disease is also known as excessive secretion of urine. The disease causes extreme thirst and clear urine. Diuresis is usually found during wet seasons and is treated by providing the horse with good quality feed that is not musty or heated, among other things.

Hematuria, also called bloody urine, is another urinary disease. Usually, it is caused by injuries such as loin sprains and fractures. The blood can either be seen in clots or mixed with the urine. The first step to treating this is to treat the injury that caused it. After that is taken care of, other treatments are used, such as removing any stones in the bladder or urethra.

Acute inflammation of the kidneys is yet another disease that affects horse health. It has many causes, including fever and inflammation of other organs. Heart disease is another thing that can bring this on. Treating this means figuring out and treating whatever caused the inflammation of the kidneys. When treating this, make sure the horse isn”t exposed to cold and wet environments and that he is allowed to rest until all the symptoms are gone.

Other urinary diseases include parasites, spasm of the neck of the bladder, irritable bladder and tumors.

Before you begin a treatment plan, it”s a good idea to check with your vet to find out exactly what your horse is suffering from. Your vet will then be able to tell you exactly how to treat the problem. A clean environment and quality, well-prepared food are also recommended.


Law, J., F.R.C.V.S; et al (2007). Diseases of the Urinary Organs. Retrieved March 8, 2008, from the Project Gutenberg Web site: http://www.gutenberg.org/files/23403/23403-h/23403-h.htm#Page_134.