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Is This Normal?

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  • Is This Normal?

    Let me give you a little background. My horse is in during the day, out at night. He comes in around 7-8 in the morning and goes back out between 5 and 7pm at night. While in his stall, he has access to two 5 gallon buckets. Without fail, he drinks both of them down everyday so there is just an inch or two of water left in each. He does not get electrolytes, but has access to a salt block on the wall that he always uses (I have to replace it every 1 1/2 - 2 months. I just thought he was a good drinker and was thankful I never had to worry about his water intake.

    Yesterday, my friend and I got to the barn around 4:30 and he had already drunk both his buckets so I took one down to re-fill for him because I could tell he wanted more. My friend commented that it was a little unusual that he had already drunk both buckets and asked if I had ever gotten his thyroid checked.

    Is this something I should be concerned about? We do live in FL, so it is freaking hot here, but he does have a fan on him all day so he doesn't get sweaty just hanging out in his stall. He does have access to water all night when he is in his paddock as well. Just wanted to see if any of you had a horse with a thyroid problem or one that just happened to be a really good drinker. I've had him for over two years now and he's always been this way. Thanks for any input you all have, let me know if you have any questions.

  • #2
    1 gallon for every 100lb of horse is the general rule. That's 10 gallons for the average 1000lb horse.

    Some horses drink more, some drink less. My WB gelding can easily drink 12-13 gallons at night if he's in his stall with hay, and like your situation, that doesn't even count whatever he's drinking outside.
    The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET


    • #3
      My mare can drink 3 full 5 gallon buckets when in all day/all night... she eats a ton of hay as well, i dont think i would worry... im not sure about the salt block part however, i dont know the average replacement time on one of those in the stall, we always have the huge ones out in the field...


      • #4
        The other missing piece of information is your horse's normal drinking pattern. Some are guzzlers ... they will down gallons and gallons at one sitting and be completely uninterested for hours between their marathon drinking sessions. When I boarded, one of my clients had a horse like this; worried me dreadfully until I caught on to his normal patterns. He would guzzle most of his buckets right after eating his dinner, for instance, but never touch them again all night long, even if refilled, more buckets added, etc.

        Others may be sippers, making frequent trips to the water bucket but only taking in a small amount. I have one like this. In fact, she likes to take a bite or two of food, take a sip of water, another bite or two, another sip. She also makes much more frequent trips to the water trough during turnout than my others.

        And there is a whole range in between. Just another factor you will need to consider in deciding what actions you may need to take going forward.
        Equinox Equine Massage

        In the depth of winter, I finally learned that there was in me invincible summer.
        -Albert Camus


        • Original Poster

          Thanks for the input, that makes me feel better. I don't know what his drinking patterns are (i.e. when he drinks and how much at a time) I could ask the BM to keep an eye on it as I work full time and am only out there for 2-3 hours in the evening several times per week. Thanks again, from the 1 gal per 100 lbs. I would say he is about normal.


          • #6
            My youngster is very tall and robust. He drinks like there is a draught coming, year round! (I live in a Northern Climate) My oldest (26) drinks maybe a bucket or two a day. Then go through spells in the summer where he drinks alot in the heat or in really cold weather. The latter could be because it is pre warmed and nice going down.


            • #7
              I don't know of any relationship between thyroid function and polydipsia...
              "It's like a Russian nesting doll of train wrecks."--CaitlinandTheBay

              ...just settin' on the Group W bench.


              • #8
                Originally posted by Ghazzu View Post
                I don't know of any relationship between thyroid function and polydipsia...
                Neither do I.

                The OP doesn't mention whether or not the horse has access to water during turnout? If not, two buckets while inside is not unusual.

                If he does have access to clean, fresh water while outside and makes regular use of it, there could be an issue. Polyuria (excessive urination) and polydipsia (excessive drinking) can be a symptom of PPID (aka Cushings Disease). Use of corticosteroids (or too abrupt withdrawal of same) can also cause it.


                • #9
                  I think it is normal. My wb drinks about the same in his stall, and drinks in the trough outside. He also dips his hay in his water bucket.
                  My tb mare drank almost as much all of her life, but didn't dip her hay in her water bucket. Water consumption is spread out throughout the day.
                  We are in SE GA and even inside, under fans, water consumption is high.
                  I'd much rather have horses that drink a lot of water and the ones that don't drink a lot. Really helps in the winter, when I'm heating water and nagging them about drinkiing more.


                  • #10
                    Our barn had a horse once that had this strange need to drink. There was no reason to drink, or physical anyway. If you put 10 buckets in there overnite, they would all be drunk . IIRC they would be drunk over an hour or two, all of them.

                    Not that I think your horse is like that just a story about a wierd beast unless yours drinks 10 buckets!
                    “Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.” Peter Drucker


                    • Original Poster

                      Haha, no, he doesn't drink 10 buckets, just his two 5-gallon ones every day. He does have access to fresh water all night while he is in his paddock.

                      And to the poster that mentioned his drinking habits, I was out there around noon today and one bucket was drunk all the way down and the other one was still full. So I guess he drinks throughout the day? I know one day isn't exactly a large enough sample, but thought I'd mention it.

                      I had never heard of anything relating thyroid problems to excessive water drinking either, so thought I'd check with you all. From what I've heard today, it sounds like my boy is just fine. Thanks for the responses!


                      • #12
                        Could you add a third bucket and see what happens?
                        Maybe he does like to drink more and there is none when he is thru with those two buckets?