Horses are wonderful companions of human beings. These graceful animals have served human beings for thousands of years. Owners of horses should take care of them with love and attention, especially when they fall sick. It helps the owners if they are knowledgeable about various diseases related to horses.
Urinary tract infections (UTI) are not common in adult horses. But when it occurs it affects the lower urinary tract. Mares are more likely to suffer from UTI. This is because the urethra is shorter in mares when compared to their male counterparts. This makes it easier for bacteria to reach the bladder. Foals less than a month old are most susceptible to this ailment. They generally develop upper urinary tract infections, which is harmful to the kidneys. In some cases foals treated with antibiotics for bacterial infections may develop fungal infection of the lower urinary tract.
Bladder paralysis is a known cause of UTI in horses. A paralyzed bladder makes it impossible for the affected horse to relieve itself of urine. As a result of this, urine remains in the bladder causing infection. Owners should make sure that they are feeding good quality grass to their horses. Droughts, frosts and other stresses may cause an accumulation of cyanogenic glycosides. These are known to cause bladder infections. UTI in the horses is caused by organisms like E. Coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Enterobacter sp., Ptoetus mirabilis, Corynebacterium sp., Klebsiella sp and Staphylococcus sp.
Horses affected by upper UTI generally suffer from fever. They also appear to be depressed. Horses affected by lower UTI, find it difficult to urinate. They may also squirt frequently without emptying the bladder completely. Lower UTI caused by stones can cause death if the stones block passage of urine. Stones cause UTI and can also result out of UTI. Traces of blood in the urine is another symptom of UTI.
Veterinarians generally collect a urine sample and diagnose it before starting treatment. This is usually done by using a catheter. After the UTI is confirmed they administer antibiotics.
UTI is very rare in healthy horses but it is always a good idea to take the horse to a certified veterinarian if it displays the above symptoms. This will go a long way in preventing further complications.