How to treat a urinary tract infection in horses

Written by michaele curtis
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Unlike humans or dogs, urinary tract infections in a horse are a rare occurrence. They most often occur in horses that have other health problems. An equine UTI can be either mild or severe, depending on the area of the urinary tract it affects. As a rule the higher up the urinary tract the infection affects, the worst the equine UTI. As with most health conditions, the earlier an equine UTI is treated, the better the prognosis.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Recognise the signs of an equine UTI. Your horse may be urinating more frequently than usual and squirting small amounts instead of emptying the bladder completely. Your horse may also appear uncomfortable during urination or seem to be in pain. In some cases, urinary tract infections can cause blood to appear in the urine of your horse.

  2. 2

    Call your vet and explain the symptoms that you observed in your horse. He will collect urine from your horse for testing by using a catheter to drain the bladder. The urine will be tested for the presence of bacteria, a sure sign of urinary tract infections.

  3. 3

    Your vet will order a bacteria culture. The lab will grow the bacteria and identify the strain of bacteria. Based on the identification, your vet will choose an antibiotic for your horse that can disarm this particular type of bacteria.

  4. 4

    Administer the antibiotics to your horse according to your vet's instructions. Make sure to administer it regularly to keep the antibiotic levels in your horse constant. Even though you may see an improvement in your horse right away, continue to administer the antibiotics until the prescription is gone.

Tips and warnings

  • If your horse is still showing the symptoms of an equine UTI after the antibiotic prescription is all gone, see your vet. Your horse may be experiencing complications from her equine UTI.
  • Urinary tract infections rarely occur horses and almost never occur in healthy horses. Even if the equine UTI has been treated, your horse needs a complete checkup to diagnose any further health problems.

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