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Excessive drinking

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  • Excessive drinking

    Not of alcohol, lol. Water.
    My boarder's horse is drinking and urinating excessively. No other symptoms.
    A urine sample has been tested, and the only abnormality was the specific gravity. My boarder can't remember exactly what the abnormality was, but the urine is more diluted than it should be. The vet is coming back next week to draw blood, however they won't tell her over the phone what they are testing for, and she, naturally, is quite concerned.
    Any ideas?
    Horse is a 2 yo Hanoverian/Swedish gelding. She bought him as a yearling colt, he was in a debilitated state (so thin he had a noticeable weight gain within 1 week, and I was not socking the food to him, hay only and added gradually), and he also had mange, and then developed ringworm secondary to that. I doubt he was every properly dewormed - breeder said he had been on a regular every 2 month program, my belief is that even if this was a true story that the wormer must have been low quality.
    He always drank more water than my other horses. When he first arrived it was something, yes, I noticed, and provided 2 buckets in his stall, but it wasn't an amount you would think of as excessive. I would say late spring/early summer his inflow and outflow have gradually increased to the point where she and I simultaneously arrived at the conclusion he needed to be tested. And here we are.
    Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit amphetamines.

  • #2
    IR or Cushings? I'm not a vet nor do I play one on TV, but given the seasonal component and such, even though he's young, I would be thinking about Cushings.
    A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

    Might be a reason, never an excuse...


    • #3
      My only applicable experience is with insulin resistance, and my horse did drink and pee excessively prior to us figuring out his issue. I also noticed him consuming his salt block at an abnormally high rate then. I'm guessing there are other issues that can cause excessive drinking/urinating, but the IR is the only one I've personally experienced. Having the vet out to do blood work sounds like a good plan. I'm sure they'll be able to talk about what they are looking for then.


      • Original Poster

        Thanks for the response!
        Those are a couple of the thoughts we have tossed around.
        Vet's office keeps asking if he is lethargic, like they think he should be, but he isn't. Just ask his donkey buddy who was being chased mercilessly around the field the other day.
        Aren't there two blood tests to check for Cushing's? I have a 32 yo Morgan who I'd considered having tested for Cushing's a couple of years ago, I do remember the vet said we couldn't do the test too late in the fall, and I seem to recall he said there would be one test at a certain time and then another at a different time. In the end I didn't get her tested so my memory could be quite faulty.
        Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit amphetamines.


        • #5
          There are a couple of tests for Cushings. The ACTH and the low dose dex suppression. The ACTH test isn't good this time of year as all horses have an increase in those levels in the late summer/fall through about Jan. That test is for the hormone that drives growing a hair coat and such. (this is why many times a Cushings horse has a wooly coat (hirsutism) year round)

          I'm not a vet nor do I play one on TV so the best bet is of course to work with your veterinarian.

          My mare has had ACTH testing done and is on the borderline high of normal so right now, she's still classified as IR. But she has muscle wasting on the topline, increased drinking, etc.

          The low dose dex suppression test can be done year round but it is a little more involved.

          Best wishes.
          A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

          Might be a reason, never an excuse...


          • #6
            He could also just be bored. It's not unheard of horses who drink excessive amounts of water simply because they have nothing else to do. Consider getting him a stall buddy, or at least some sort of toy. It might solve the situation.


            • #7
              Or renal issues? No idea, but its something to consider.


              • Original Poster

                Originally posted by SCMSL View Post
                He could also just be bored. It's not unheard of horses who drink excessive amounts of water simply because they have nothing else to do. Consider getting him a stall buddy, or at least some sort of toy. It might solve the situation.
                He is outdoors, in a field, not just a paddock, with his donkey buddy, at least 12 hours a day. Often I leave them out 24 hours as long as the weather is fine and the mosquitoes are not thick in the air.

                Thanks for the ideas folks!

                They aren't thinking renal problems because the urine is completely normal except for the specific gravity.
                Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit amphetamines.


                • Original Poster

                  Update - diagnosis

                  So the ACTH test came back positive for Cushings. Everything else is normal. However I understand from a previous poster in this thread that unfortunately this is not the best time of year for accuracy.
                  He'll be starting on meds today, and we'll see if there's any improvement with his water consumption. As he isn't my horse, and we haven't picked up the pills yet, I'm not certain what exactly those meds are. I know it is a small pill, and it has to be compounded as it isn't approved in Canada.
                  Owner is interested in getting a second opinion, but we're concerned about ruffling the vet's feathers if there isn't a good reason to. Or, maybe he should be retested in January?
                  Other than my 32 yo Morgan, who I suspect has had Cushings for a few years, but have never had tested (and I don't go to great lengths with her diet - I just try to keep weight on her by feeding her whatever she will eat, as she has certain opinions about what her diet should contain. And at her age she is entitled, lol.)
                  So I am a newbie to caring for a Cushings horse, and I'm interested in any tips COTH'ers can share.
                  Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit amphetamines.


                  • Original Poster

                    The medication is Pergoglide.
                    Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit amphetamines.


                    • #11
                      Has the horse had any bute or banamine recently? Just a couple weeks ago one of my boys did just this...after having a dose of banimine for a colic. What we didn't know was that he has renal issues, so this triggered a major episode of kidney failure. He drank about twice as much water as he ought to and peed like crazy for about a week. Looking back, he has always drank a little more than most of the guys in his stable but it wasn't as alarming as this. His creatinine and bun levels were very high. We kept him very hydrated (IV fluids for a few days) and it more or less has cleared the system and his kidneys are functioning well again. He can never have any NSAIDS again because they will shut down his kidneys, even at a low dose.

                      Not trying to scare you, but you may consider having this horse's blood tested just to see what his levels look like. Kidney horses need a low protein diet to prolong their health.
                      Horses don't lie.


                      • #12
                        Sorry, just reread the OP and I see that they are going to pull blood next week. I would think they are suspecting kidney by the looks of it. I would also think that they would want to test blood earlier rather than later to get an idea of what severity it is IF it is a renal issue. Good luck!
                        Horses don't lie.


                        • #13
                          Do horses get diabetes insepidus?

                          Just a thought. It always runs through my mind when I hear of very young animals that are PU/PD.

                          I notice that this horse is only 2 years old. Is it common for this type of warmblood to develop Cushings so young?

                          Anyway- good luck and JINGLES!!!
                          Unrepentant carb eater


                          • #14
                            Seems like 2years old is super young for Cushings. With the history, I'd look for/treat for ulcers. Some try to "put the fire out" in their belly by drinking water. I've seen this be the only symptom, and by just a few days of omeprazole the water obsession goes away. Worth a shot!


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Rooty View Post
                              Not of alcohol, lol. .
                              On reading the heading I was wondering if you knew my inlaws
                              I wasn't always a Smurf
                              Penmerryl Sophie RIDSH
                              "I ain't as good as I once was but I'm as good once as I ever was"
                              The ignore list is my friend. It takes 2 to argue.


                              • Original Poster

                                The horse's ACTH levels are over 4 times normal, all other bloodwork and urine analysis was normal.
                                I work for a physician and we had him look at the bloodwork too, lol, he is the first person to admit he is not a vet, but when you work for someone who has a giant brain you can pick for free you might as well.
                                I am cautiously optimistic that he is responding to the Pergolide - his stall is drier.
                                Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit amphetamines.


                                • #17
                                  If the levels were that high, chances are good that it's more than your standard seasonal increase. Hopefully, the Pergolide will offer some relief.

                                  Keeping him at a good weight, in consistent work, and keeping track of NSCs can go a long way towards managing symptoms as well.

                                  Best wishes.
                                  A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

                                  Might be a reason, never an excuse...


                                  • Original Poster

                                    Well, luckily the only obvious symptom he has is the excessive drinking. He's not in work yet, but he does get lots of exercise chasing his donkey around. Although that activity doesn't seem to keep weight off the donkey....
                                    Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit amphetamines.