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Equine Practice
Differential diagnosis of dysuria in the adult horse
  1. Keith Chandler

    Keith Chandler graduated from Glasgow in 1993 and has since worked both in mixed and specialised equine practice. In 1997, he completed a clinical scholarship in equine and farm animal medicine at Glasgow. He holds the RCVS certificate in equine practice and is currently responsible for the equine side of the Large Animal Practice Teaching Unit at the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies. His main interests include equine internal medicine and geriatric care.


DYSURIA is painful or difficult urination and, generally, is an uncommon presenting sign in the adult horse. Normal horses may grunt on urination and hold the stance adopted for micturition for a minute or so afterwards; owners will often misinterpret this behaviour as a sign of urinary tract disease. In addition, normal horse urine can vary in colour and consistency from pale, clear and yellow to thick, cloudy and mucoid. Upper urinary tract disease is not common in the horse and rarely causes dysuria. Ascending urinary tract infections also do not occur very often because of the anatomical barrier between the bladder and the ureter in the horse. However, when the bladder is distended due to paralysis or some other obstruction it is possible that urine may reflux into the ureter. This article discusses the major differential diagnoses of dysuria in the horse and outlines an approach to management of the condition.

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