Last Updated on March 24, 2022 by Allison Price
Horse kidney disease is not a common problem. However, it’s important to recognize the problem as soon as possible and get treatment. This article will explain how to identify signs of kidney disease in horses and what to do if your horse needs medical attention.
Information about Equine Kidneys
The kidneys of your horse can be found just below the saddle area on either side. The same principle applies to horse and human kidneys. They are responsible for eliminating waste products from blood. This prevents it from building up and making horses sick.
There are many reasons why horses may have kidney problems. The most common cause is side effects of anti-inflammatories or antibiotics given to horses for colitis. But kidney problems can also be caused:
- Consuming toxic plants
- Bacterial infections
- A tumor or kidney stone can cause a urinary obstruction.
- Dehydration and heatstroke
Different types of kidney problems
The progression of kidney problems can be slow over many months, years, or very fast. Chronic kidney disease is the first. Although it’s not curable, many horses live for months, or even years with this condition. Chronic kidney disease develops slowly and is often ignored. Many horses will already have significant kidney damage by the time they experience clinical symptoms.
Acute kidney disease, which is the second type of kidney disease, can occur suddenly. This happens more often in cases of heatstroke, shock, and even hemorhage. Most horses with acute kidney disease can be treated quickly and most will recover.
Signs and symptoms of kidney problems
Horse kidney failure can cause a variety of symptoms. These symptoms include, but not limited to:
- Appetite loss
- You may notice unusual changes in your pet’s urine such as an abnormal smell or color, high volume, or low volumes.
- Weight loss
- High blood pressure
- Ulcers around the tongue and mouth
- Severe swelling in certain areas, including the lower abdomen or legs
- Tooth problems such as swollen teeth and tartar buildup can be caused by excess ammonia in the horse’s bloodstream.
These symptoms can also be indicative of other health issues. Your equine veterinarian will need to run some tests to confirm the diagnosis. Blood testing can be used to check the health of your horses, including their kidney function.
Kidney failure is when your horse’s kidneys become clogged with waste products. This can lead to internal poisoning. A late-stage diagnosis is not likely to be successful. If your horse displays any of these symptoms, it is important that they are evaluated by an equine veterinarian as soon as possible.