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#449620 - 03/29/12 09:55 AM Possible causes of frequent urination?
Firefilly Offline
Grand Prix Member
Registered: 07/21/06
Posts: 1681
Loc: Haldimand/Niagara, ON Canada
It is a 6 year old mare, but she is not acting like she is in season. She is not drinking abnormal amounts of water - if anything I wish she would drink more water! She has had this problem for some time now - we pulled blood last spring and nothing showed up out of the ordinary with her liver or kidneys. When I have the vet out for spring shots, we will be going over this issue again - will likely even pull blood again. But in the mean time, any ideas what it could be? I have run probably 3 or 4 different types of liver and kidney flushes through this mare since getting her a year and a half ago. No apparent changes with doing these flushes however. But this mare feels the need to try and pee ALL THE TIME! Could it be hormonal? Cysts? She does not act "in season" though - no winking, etc. But here is an example of her behaviour.

I bring her inside in to her stall. She pees (and it's a normal pee - not discoloured, and she doesn't seem to be straining). I go and get everyone's grain. She sees me back (its not even 10 minutes later) and she pees again. This time there is not a lot coming out, but she tries anyway. Then, while I am giving everyone their grain (she gets hers last) and while I go towards her stall with her bucket, she turns and tries to pee AGAIN! And when I bring her out and put her on cross ties to groom her, have the farrier out, etc. we have to keep a bag of kitty litter nearby at all times! She can be on cross ties for 1/2 hour - and she will have peed maybe 3 or 4 times!

What do you think it could be??
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#449654 - 03/29/12 11:09 AM Re: Possible causes of frequent urination? [Re: Firefilly]
Gryphon Equine Offline
Grand Prix Member
Registered: 01/21/07
Posts: 1161
Loc: Toronto and Raleigh
A few things come to mind... but both would likely also have increased drinking... (how sure are you she doesn't drink a lot while outside?) If she isn't dehydrated (skin pinch test?) then she must be drinking enough water somehow...

1) Her diet. Is it high in protein? Like alfalfa hay? When a horse consumes more protein than they need (which is very common, more so if they consume rich hays like alfalfa) the excess nitrogen needs to be excreted, and is excreted in the urine.

2) Diabetes. Not very common at all, but I've certainly seen it. Is she (or has she ever been) overweight? Any idea what her glucose/insulin values are? Fasted and fed? If a horse is either severely insulin resistant or diabetic - they can't use their glucose properly and it gets high enough in their blood to spill into their urine - causing frequent urination.

But if it just small amounts of urine, without a significant increase in drinking - I would think it seems a bit like marking her territory. (my female JRT does that)
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Gryphon Equine, Equine Nutritionists
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Shannon Pratt-Phillips, PhD & Vicky Walsh-Nelson, MSc.

Read: Understanding your Horse's Weight - by Dr. Shannon Pratt-Phillips
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#449676 - 03/29/12 12:15 PM Re: Possible causes of frequent urination? [Re: Firefilly]
Firefilly Offline
Grand Prix Member
Registered: 07/21/06
Posts: 1681
Loc: Haldimand/Niagara, ON Canada
Interesting options. I have been fighting an underweight issue with this mare since I got her. And have also treated for ulcers time and again. There is no real way to see how much she drinks outside, but in the barn it is not uncommon for her to go with almost no water consumption at all through the night (she does get beet pulp, so she is getting moisture from her food).

She has not been on super high protein diets - now I am trying to get her to eat alfalfa pellets right now though - but she was doing this long before I introduced the alfalfa. My hay is a timothy/alfalfa mix.... but predominately timothy. First cut.

If she is underweight could that have anything to do with diabetes or insulin or anything? When I get bloodwork done the next time around, what other things should I consider getting checked?

And I guess it could be marking her territory.... but even in the cross ties? Should I try and collect a urine sample and maybe have that tested as well?
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#449682 - 03/29/12 12:50 PM Re: Possible causes of frequent urination? [Re: Firefilly]
Small Change Offline
Grand Prix Member
Registered: 04/02/02
Posts: 3795
Loc: Brantford, Ont.
What about anxiety? Does she pee that frequently when left alone in the field, or is it just when you're getting ready to do something with her?
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#449707 - 03/29/12 01:55 PM Re: Possible causes of frequent urination? [Re: Firefilly]
Gryphon Equine Offline
Grand Prix Member
Registered: 01/21/07
Posts: 1161
Loc: Toronto and Raleigh
Certainly if a horse is truly full out diabetic they do actually lose weight (because they are losing glucose/calories in their urine). But in horses because it is tied to insulin resistance is usually seen in obese horses. When you do get bloodwork done, try to get both a "fasted" (no hay or grain for 6 hours) and a "fed" sample (after some hay and/or grain, about 30 min post feeding). Then have them run both glucose and insulin on it (if she's IR then both glucose and insulin should be high post feeding, but if she actually has diabetes then glucose should be high but insulin low).

If you do get a urine sample you could test that for glucose (taste it? eewww!). We've used a human glucometer on equine urine before and detected glucose - but we were also infusing glucose into the horses at very high levels so it was kind of expected. I would assume normal equine urine doesn't have any glucose in it, and the detection limits on the glucometers are pretty low - but I'm not entirely sure of the accuracy of the amounts it might report (we just tested urine to see if we detected any, we weren't interested so much in the value, which I suppose might be true for your horse, as it shouldn't have any in it either!).

Doesn't sound like alfalfa/protein is the problem.

And yeah, the cross ties are funny. Hmmmm... Keep us posted.
_________________________
Gryphon Equine, Equine Nutritionists
gryphonequine@gmail.com
Shannon Pratt-Phillips, PhD & Vicky Walsh-Nelson, MSc.

Read: Understanding your Horse's Weight - by Dr. Shannon Pratt-Phillips
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#449724 - 03/29/12 03:05 PM Re: Possible causes of frequent urination? [Re: Firefilly]
bxrgurl Offline
Grand Prix Member
Registered: 02/18/05
Posts: 6000
Loc: GTA
Weight loss in diabetes is caused by the sugar not being able to be used for energy... So the body uses fat stores (and muscle!) instead.

You could probably use a glucometer (properly) if you are able to lance a small vessel say in the ear. That's how cats and dogs are tested using glucometers.
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#449744 - 03/29/12 05:10 PM Re: Possible causes of frequent urination? [Re: Firefilly]
Queenrider Offline
Grand Prix Member
Registered: 11/08/04
Posts: 1433
Loc: Brampton, Ontario
Have her checked for kidney/bladder stones. Yes, horses do get these and vets never think to check for this. From a vet website:

One of the most common urinary tract disorders in horses is cystic urolithiasis, or urinary bladder stones. Although the cause of bladder stones in many animals is related to diet, the cause of bladder stones in horses is still not known. Infection has also been incriminated as a cause of stone formation but this is usually secondary after a stone has developed. There are two main types of stones and both are believed to be formed from desquamated cells and mucous in the bladder. It would be expect bladder stones to be a common problem in horses due to the large amount of minerals in normal horse urine. Fortunately, this is not the case.

Signs of bladder stones include difficulty in urinating, straining to urinate, urinary incontinence, and blood in the urine. Some horses will get in a position to urinate and keep this stance for an extended period. Others will show penile prolapse, may lose weight, or show recurrent colic. Diagnosis of the stones is possible with endoscopic exam of the bladder as well as ultrasound. It is not possible to dissolve these stones with diet or drugs. Consequently, the stones must be removed manually or surgically. It is sometimes possible in mares to enter the urethra through the urethral sphincter and manually remove the stone. In males, the process is much more difficult because of the length of the urethra. Some smaller stones can be removed with endoscopic forceps. Larger stones require lithotripsy to reduce the size of the stones for easier removal, whereas others require laparoscopic surgery for removal. Addition of salt to the diet to increase water consumption may decrease future stone formation

http://www.veterinarypartner.com/Content.plx?P=A&A=1932&S=0&SourceID=69
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#449777 - 03/29/12 08:21 PM Re: Possible causes of frequent urination? [Re: Firefilly]
HorsesFirst Offline
Grand Prix Member
Registered: 05/23/07
Posts: 134
Loc: Guelph, Ontario, Canada
Is she an OTTB or other type of ex-race/competition horse? Possibly trained to urinate for drug testing purpposes?
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#449790 - 03/29/12 09:10 PM Re: Possible causes of frequent urination? [Re: Firefilly]
Firefilly Offline
Grand Prix Member
Registered: 07/21/06
Posts: 1681
Loc: Haldimand/Niagara, ON Canada
She is off the track. Now I've never noticed any blood, but she does hold the position for some time with nothing coming out. And she is a SUPER HARD keeper as well. She's still too lean for my liking. She was on Brooks, then Masterfeeds... Now mixing it up with some beet pulp, alfalfa pellets, etc - but this peeing behaviour has been there the whole time. Middle of winter, heat of the summer.... Whenever.
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#449791 - 03/29/12 09:13 PM Re: Possible causes of frequent urination? [Re: Firefilly]
Firefilly Offline
Grand Prix Member
Registered: 07/21/06
Posts: 1681
Loc: Haldimand/Niagara, ON Canada
I was wondering if she had ovarian cysts, would that cause this? She does always seem back sore (she's not ridden, so its not from that).
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#449816 - 03/29/12 11:23 PM Re: Possible causes of frequent urination? [Re: Firefilly]
jumper50 Offline
Grand Prix Member
Registered: 08/13/02
Posts: 91
Loc: Toronto, canada
Bladder infection

or possible stones but being a mare she would most likely pass them unlike a gelding. Get her checked for a bladder infection had a mare just like that.
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#449819 - 03/29/12 11:47 PM Re: Possible causes of frequent urination? [Re: Gryphon Equine]
CiscoKid Offline
Grand Prix Member
Registered: 10/14/06
Posts: 4013
Originally Posted By: Gryphon Equine
A few things come to mind... but both would likely also have increased drinking... (how sure are you she doesn't drink a lot while outside?) If she isn't dehydrated (skin pinch test?) then she must be drinking enough water somehow...

1) Her diet. Is it high in protein? Like alfalfa hay? When a horse consumes more protein than they need (which is very common, more so if they consume rich hays like alfalfa) the excess nitrogen needs to be excreted, and is excreted in the urine.

2) Diabetes. Not very common at all, but I've certainly seen it. Is she (or has she ever been) overweight? Any idea what her glucose/insulin values are? Fasted and fed? If a horse is either severely insulin resistant or diabetic - they can't use their glucose properly and it gets high enough in their blood to spill into their urine - causing frequent urination.

But if it just small amounts of urine, without a significant increase in drinking - I would think it seems a bit like marking her territory. (my female JRT does that)


Agreed , BUT I'm going to add another interesting possibility.

I've been at WAR with a plant here on my new property. It's Queen Anne's Lace. "Wild Carrot"

Don;t laugh. It's not a CARROT. It's AS related to the domestic carrot as it is to wild Hemlock.

Anyways ~ the plant produces a huge carrot root, which at this time of year, when the ground is soft,(and most of this winter) is easily unearthed and munched on (I've watched them do this). MY horses are ALLERGIC to this plant. So they come in with severe breathing issues.

ALSO ~ the plant has several medicinal properties.
1) a diuretic!
2) An abortificient !! (will cause abortion)
3) A vermicide (my horses scored zero on their fecal cultures this spring with no worming since fall)

Just something to consider. Look up the plant.



Edited by iloveGSDs (03/29/12 11:47 PM)
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#449857 - 03/30/12 08:08 AM Re: Possible causes of frequent urination? [Re: Firefilly]
Firefilly Offline
Grand Prix Member
Registered: 07/21/06
Posts: 1681
Loc: Haldimand/Niagara, ON Canada
Thanks everyone!! Lots of ideas to ponder over with the vet now smile smile
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