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Discussion on Sudden onset polyuria in recently bred mare.

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Linda H. Schilkowsky, DVM
Username: lindas

Post Number: 16
Registered: 2-2008
Posted on Saturday, May 10, 2008 - 12:43 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

I have a 17 year old Paint mare, recently bred 2 weeks ago for the first time. She has been very healthy except she had a mild, self limiting colic in October 2007 followed by 3 days of anorexia. My large animal vet came out and did a rectal exam, oral exam, etc., and could not find anything wrong. Of course she started eating again immediately after the exam!!! The mare had a
normal CBC and blood profile at that time.
Yesterday my daughter rode her and immediately afterwards she urinated large amounts multiple times in the cross ties. This went on for close to an hour. I grabbed a cup and got urine for a U/A. The pH was 8.0 and the specific gravity was 1.005 (via refractometer). Protein, glucose, bilirubin, blood, etc, were all negative. This morning the stall appeared to have a normal amount of urine, and the water bucket was only half empty. I am concerned about this low specific gravity. The microscopic exam on the urine was normal. The only other thing in the history, other than recent breeding is that I sprayed for weeds a few weeks ago, and most of the weeds in the pasture are wilted. There are oak trees in the pasture, and I suppose she could have gotten some wilted baby oaks. However normally she is very picky and only will eat grass. There are no signs of any other problems. The horse is eating well, active, with plenty of energy and stamina. Even if she did not settle with the breeding, she is not due to come in heat for another week, and this was not normal heat "squirting". I am planning to run a profile on her, but unfortunately I missed the lab pickup today and won't be able to send out a panel until Monday.
Of course I am hoping she was just unusually thirsty that one day and had to get rid of it somehow. But of course I am concerned about all the things that can go wrong. Does pyometra in horses cause PU/PD? (no discharges, feeling fine) How about vaginitis or early pregnancy? I might add that this mare is usually somewhat "witchy" and inconsistant with performance, but over the last week she has been a "dream mount", very sweet and eager to please, with perfect performance, so we are hoping that attitude change is an early sign of pregnancy. Besides a regular CBC and large animal profile what other tests would you recommend? Of course if she starts acting sick or if the results are abnormal I will get my large animal vet out to treat her, but he is the only vet over 5 counties, so I would like to help him out in advance as much as I can. What do you think?
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Vicki Zaneis
Username: vickiann

Post Number: 631
Registered: 3-2005
Posted on Saturday, May 10, 2008 - 8:54 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

I am no Vet, but what jumps out for me most of all (yes, I know of oak toxicity) is the "wilted weeds" statement. Wilted and poisoned weeds seem, in my personal experience, for unknown reasons, to be quite palatable to horses. They would not normally care in the least about eating those weeds, but when they have been poisoned and are wilted, they seem to become quite attractive as forage. Hope that this problem resolves, though it is worrisome that this is a recently bred mare.
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Robert N. Oglesby DVM
Username: dro

Post Number: 20644
Registered: 1-1997
Posted on Sunday, May 11, 2008 - 7:55 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hello DrS,
A one time brief episode of PU in an otherwise healthy horse does not really suggest any serious disease/hormonal process very well. I would note that if last bred two weeks ago, she may be coming back in heat now which might explain frequent urination but that does not explain the low specific fact I cannot explain it at this time. Besides the serum electrolytes, BUN, and Cr if I though this needed further pursuit I would want a thorough physical exam, a second urine sample, and document the amount of water consumed in 24 hours.
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Linda H. Schilkowsky, DVM
Username: lindas

Post Number: 17
Registered: 2-2008
Posted on Sunday, May 11, 2008 - 4:53 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Well, it may have been a false alarm. She only had her usual 3 urine spots in the stall, and only drank 2 gallons water in 12 hours. Don't know about the other 12 hours as she is out in pasture with a 50 gallon water tub, but if she starts flooding her stall we will check out 24 hours water intake. As for the wilted weeds...that is one of my biggest concerns about spraying for weeds. I usually just control them naturally but this year the grass was being choked out over half the pasture...probably due to stress from the drought last summer, we lost a lot of grass and are having to regrow our pasture. But I waited a good 12 days before I put anybody out on that particular pasture, hoping that the wilted weeds would have lost their flavor as they were starting to dry out. At some point we had to start using the pasture again as we have a relatively small property.
I will go ahead and get the blood samples, and attempt a repeat specific gravity if she will pee for me. She is usually a real witch when coming in heat, or else I would agree that perhaps she is coming back in. She has been a real sweetheart lately! (hope she isn't saving up to show her butt at the 4H District show next weekend!!!)
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