Excessive Urination

Last post 09-11-2009 8:17 PM by paints4me. 14 replies.
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  • 08-19-2008 11:07 AM

    Excessive Urination

    I've a perplexing situation at the stable where I board. I also help with barn duties (to work off some of my board). There are three horses in our barn who I refer to as 'the three little pigs'. I've been around horses over 20 years and I've never seen horses urinate so much. According to the vet, none of these horses have a problem. However, it seems really wrong to me.

    We have automatic waterers, which may be a contributor to the problem. The horses are turned out for at least half the day, so while they may be bored, it's not because they never get out.

    One horse is a gelding, who saturates the entire center of his stall. If we have to keep them in 24 hours due to weather, you may as well strip his stall to the floor. When he first arrived, he was rather tidy. He becomes daily more like the piggy mare in the next stall. Part of his wetting problem is that he likes to play in the waterer - the wall is always wet. So it is possible that he's just drinking a lot out of play and boredom.

    The other two are mares. One has a drinking problem. If I put her in a neighbor's stall while cleaning hers, she will stand at the waterer and just suck up water non stop until I turn it off. It's amazing. She doesn't do this in her stall, although she is obviously drinking enough. Her stall is a disaster - she urinates EVERYWHERE and then paces in her stall so everything is a mixed up mess. We can literally remove three wheel barrow-loads of bedding and muck every day. At first we thought this was an 'in season' issue ... but since it doesn't let up, that can't be the source of the problem. The turnout she shares with a couple other horses, you can tell wherever she or her compadre have been because the pee spots never dry out, the ground is totally saturated.

    The remaining mare is part dog, i swear. She urinates along the wall of her stall. And there is so much, when you clean the stall, the bedding is literally saturated and dripping. It looks like someone has turned a hose on and left it running, or dumped several buckets of water. There are craters in the floor of her stall that we have to fill in regularly because so much ground/bedding is removed in order to provide her with somewhat of a sanitary environment. Again, out in the turnout, the pee spots never dry out. The owner (owns both mares) says they've always been like this and she is considering giving them salt supplements because she doesn't think they drink enough. Ay!

    This can't possibly be healthy behavior. I don't want to reduce water availability because we live in south Louisiana and it's hot and miserable here, so they need to drink. But, this is utterly ridiculous. I've never seen anything like it. 

    Has anyone else ever experienced this or have some idea what to do...if anything?
  • 08-20-2008 8:13 AM In reply to

    Re: Excessive Urination

    My friend has a horse that will just obliterate his stall with pee.  I had never seen anything like it until I met him. Just the way he is, but he is almost 17 hands tall. I dont know if that has anything to do with it.  I had never met another horse that pees that much until I met him.  There is nothing wrong with him either, we just learned to deal with it. Maybe someone else has an idea of something to do.

     If he is bored maybe try some toys in his stall? Like the jolly balls or fill old water jugs with rocks and seal really tight so it makes noise.

  • 08-23-2008 6:55 PM In reply to

    Re: Excessive Urination

    There are many a pig at the barn where I board. My horse I'm sad to say is one of them. He's over 17 hands and usually drinks about three full buckets of water a day so most of his stall is pee. The mares tend to be the worst. Any tbs? Tb mares are possibly the most distgusting stall keepers ever. Some horses are just messy I don't think there is anything you can do to get them to clean up.
    Lover of Ponies.
    Owner of a Fabulous Argentine Warmblood.

  • 08-26-2008 10:00 PM In reply to

    Re: Excessive Urination

    Is the vet certain these horses don't have health issues causing the excessive drinking and urinating?  Are they on feed with too much protein, like alfalfa, that the body tries to flush out by excessive drinking and urination?

    ...and God took a handful of southerly wind, blew his breath over it and created the horse...

    ~ Bedouin Legend
  • 08-27-2008 4:25 AM In reply to

    Re: Excessive Urination

    Thanks for the comments and concerns, folks. Yes, vet insists everything is 'normal'. Their diet is basic, everyone gets pretty much the same thing: a mix of sweet feed and pellets and some basic grass hay (not high quality, to be sure, but sufficient). My horse gets some alfalfa and has a mineral block in his stall, but he's not one of the pigs. Most of the horses do not have access to mineral blocks or salt blocks, so they're not being excessive with that, and as a general rule they don't get alfalfa unless their owners give them a treat. It just seems weird to me that i've never seen this level of 'piggish-ness' before. Are mares generally more messy? Most of the ones at my stable are not, but i don't know what is typical since i've dealt with mostly geldings.

    For the record, they are a mix of breeds: one App, one QH and one TB cross.
  • 09-02-2008 7:15 AM In reply to

    Re: Excessive Urination

     This thread really gave me a laugh.  I boarded once at a barn where the owner complained daily about my mare using too much bedding . She just peed up a storm!  Then there's the mare thing, of course.  Her stall was disgusting! 

    I also had a gelding who wouldn't pee in public.  Never, ever, ever if anyone was looking.  He could stop in mid-stream!  So the minute he walked into his stall, the floodgates opened.  LOL  Now I've got a pensioner who does little but eat, drink, and pee.  He's perfectly healthy.  That's just who he is.  He's been here for 11 years and his stall has been sodden that whole time.  Fortunately they're on turnout almost 24/7, and he's fine with peeing outdoors as well.  Otherwise I'd be buying a full load of bedding just for him!

    "Four things greater than all things are
    women and power and horses and war."
  • 09-02-2008 8:00 AM In reply to

    Re: Excessive Urination

    That's too funny!  One of mine absolutely will not load if he has to pee; I don't care how much of a layer of shavings is in the trailer.  He just can't stand to get 'splashed' by it.  I'm just glad I figured it out, now I know if he even hesitates to load, I just have to find the right spot with plenty of grass or hay so it won't get him, and wait a minute.  oh brother. 

  • 09-02-2008 10:02 AM In reply to

    Re: Excessive Urination

     TXSPOTS, my daughter had a Morgan who was always just too busy to pee.  He could hold it all day.  We did a hunter pace.  Three hours plus.  He got to the finish line, put his front feet over it and peed buckets right on the line!  LOL  

    "Four things greater than all things are
    women and power and horses and war."
  • 10-14-2008 2:49 PM In reply to

    Re: Excessive Urination

    My mare is now 6 yrs old and this summer, she has gotten really bad with excessive urination.  It's always been a problem off/on but now really bad.  We are in the process of checking blood work and urine but all was fine in the past and she seems really healthy so don't expect any surprises there.  We also try to keep her diet as low protein as possible since that aggravates it. 

     Did anyone try just limiting water when their horse is stalled?  I hate to not give her what she needs but if she can drink as much as she wants when she's turned out, I've thought of limiting her water when she's inside.

     Any tips on bedding that is super absorbant?  Price for shavings keeps going up in my area and there is a shortage on top of that.  Any ideas to make the shavings last longer or something to better to use?


  • 09-04-2009 3:54 PM In reply to

    Re: Excessive Urination--I feel your frustration

    I've had my APHA gelding since he was a yearling.  He began this behavior at about 6 years of age when we moved to a boarding barn on a military base with only paddocks for limited timed turnout.  Prior to this, he was free to come and go in his stall and actually spent all of his time outside despite the weather.  I had a vet check him out and he got a clean bill of health...the vet told me he had seen a few horses who exhibited this behaviour, he felt it was out of boredom and that he needed more turn out.

    Curiously, ever since I have had my horse, I would greet him with a whistle, and he would immediately urinate.  I did not train him to do this...and to this day....he is 14 now....he still does it. 

     He is what I call a "recreational drinker".  He is fascinated by water and loves also to play in the water trough.  On hot days, if he sees me filling his water tank, he presents himself to be hosed off and will spin in endless circles so that I may hose his entire body.  He never seems to tire of this.

    He, too, is messy with his stall toileting habits.  During a period of three weeks when I sent him to a trainer, she commented that he was "just awful" and ended up keeping him in a small pasture because she could not keep his stall clean. 

    Our barn is set up so that he has a huge run from his stall and can come and go as he pleases.  Our stalls are concrete floors covered by rubber stall mats and to keep his stall clean, I sprinkle some Pead-Eze on the mats--it looks like cat litter but is not---it absorbs moisture and the ammonia smells but is not clay based like a cat litter.  Then I spread only 1/3 of a bag of shavings in the middle of the stall where he pees.  Each day, I remove any piles (which is rare because he racetracks them into the shavings) and wet bedding.  If it is totally soaked, I just strip it and there's not that much since I only used part of the bag and redo it.  If it somewhat dry, I recycle those shavings into the pee spot and add a little shavings if necessary.  Basically, I do not keep more than 1/2 wheelbarrow full of bedding in his stall at one time so I can strip it in a matter of minutes.

    Since he does not like the urine splashing on his legs in his stall (due to the small amount of bedding) he has been using the  run more to relieve himself and of course, I whistle to him to encourage him to pee outside before I enter the barn.  This is the only way I have been able to keep his stall manageable but I have to stay on top of it everydayHuh?.


  • 09-04-2009 4:09 PM In reply to

    Re: Excessive Urination--I feel your frustration

    I have no advice for you, but I'm sitting here chuckling!  When my mare was on stall rest this summer she was drinking out of boredom.  She'd easily go through six or more buckets a day.  She was fully vetted (the vet was out to see her regularly anyways so I had everything checked out) and came back completely normal.  I came in one day and one of the barn staff had written "lifeguard on duty" on her whiteboard because her stall was such a swamp!

    photo by FallingForNova
    RIP my beautiful girl -- April 4 2002 - August 21, 2012
  • 09-04-2009 8:54 PM In reply to

    Re: Excessive Urination

    I have seen some horses who are just total pigs; also, some larger horses obviously need to drink more than their smaller equine buddies, so their stalls are always flooded.

    However, there could also be a problem with these horses which would not show up on regular blood tests. Are either of the mares overweight, have long or thick coats, cresty necks, or are prone to founder? If so, they could be insulin resistant. This could be exacerbated by the fact that they are given sweet feed (which has a very high amount of sugars and a very high NSC rating, which is pretty much like poison to an IR horse).

    If any of the horses are exhibiting the above symptoms in addition to the constant drinking/peeing, they need have a vet perform a blood insulin and glucose test. In the meantime, they could also be switched to a special low-starch grain (be sure to ask for the exact NSC rating from the manufacturer) and have their hay soaked to reduce the NSC.

  • 09-08-2009 9:46 AM In reply to

    Re: Excessive Urination

    If you're looking for bedding that is more absorbent, try the wood pellets. They are much more absorbent than shavings. You spread them in the stall--for the first use, 5 to 6 bags of them do a 12 x 12 stall nicely--and spray a bit of water on them to start them breaking down into sawdust. The pee will be absorbed by the sawdust and form "pancakes" when they have  taken up as much liquid as they can. Every day, scoop out the manure and the pancakes, and add another bag of pellets if needed. I only need to add a bag every 4 or 5 days with my girls, but if you've got "equine fountains" in your barn you might need to do it more often.

    These wood pellets are great. Check with your local feed store to see if they carry them. Where I live in WA, the brand is Eagle Valley and they come from British Columbia, which is not too far from my town. I know there are US brands, as well. They save time and money, and easily beat shavings.  Check them out.


    "The horse you get off is not the horse you got on. It is your job as a rider to ensure that as often as possible, the change is for the better."


  • 09-10-2009 8:18 AM In reply to

    Re: Excessive Urination

     Aw, bless your heart having to clean that! I use to work at a barn and there was one 18 hand draft that I could get an entire Gator-type vehicle load out of every day.  It was so much fun...

    Is any of their coats long, thick or curly?  Mojo, my 28yr old rescue has Cushings, and that causes him to be a fountain, and besides his cushings he is 16 1/2 hands and part draft, so that is a lot of pee, but he doesn't spend much time in the barn, it is open 24/7 so he can pick where he wants to be. I am scared my colt is going to be a super pee-er but I think right now he is peeing like he is becuase he isn't gelded yet.  I would def check for Cushings though.  Suprisingly young and healthy looking horses may start developing it so you never know...

    Mojo, 1980?-10/1/2010. RIP Mo-man. I know your life had many bad times in it, and I sincerely hope I made your last few years here on Earth happy and comfortable, with as much love and yummies as your huge heart desired. I love you bud, have fun running in the pastures of heaven. Until we meet again...
  • 09-11-2009 8:17 PM In reply to

    Re: Excessive Urination

    No, she doesn't have Cushings.   I was able to figure out that she can't tolerate high amounts of protein in her diet.  If I keep her off of alfalfa and put her on lower protein hay (brome, timothy) and also use lower protein/low carb feed, she does very well.  She also has to stay away from clover since that seems to aggravate her also.

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