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Horse drinking a lot of water?

Recently, I did some light work on my horse. Just trot-walk-canter work.

After, I put her away and noticed that both of her water buckets were empty.

It wasn’t hot (about 32-40 degrees that day), and I remember filling them both up the night before, but they were emptied. I filled one up and brought it to her, and she drank up the entire thing with only a quarter of the bucket left to spare.

She was satisfied after that, but it seemed extremely odd to me. The owner of the barn said she refilled them in the morning as well and she had finished all the water I gave her the day before overnight.

A close adult friend of mine said that my mare might have Cushing’s disease, a tumor on the brain stem as I know it.

I am going to have my Vet check it, we have a horse in our barn that has Cushing’s disease so my barn peeps know what to do, even though I don’t.

Is there anything else this could possibly be other than Cushing’s disease? Is the extreme water-drinking normal?

Is she low-level dehydrated? Consuming more salt? Is her forage more dry than it has been? What is her urine like?

If this is a change from her normal, it is a good idea to have a vet check.


My two that are recovering from anaplasmosis are total water hogs right now. Pigs is going through about 15 gallons overnight. They’re otherwise fine, but it is kinda weird.

Are you in tick country?

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It wouldn’t alarm me with my horse, but if its unusual for her, then it would be time for a general physical. Have you taken her temperature?


No, at least in my area of Vermont we don’t have many problem with ticks. Thank you for mentioning that.

She has always loved her salt lick and used it, I haven’t noticed any odd salt consumption. Her forage is definitely not dry, I know that for a fact. I haven’t checked her urine at all or noticed anything but I will look closely next time I go to the barn. My border also checks for these kind of things and she hasn’t mentioned anything but I will check myself. Thank you!

No I have not taken her temperature in a couple weeks, but I can. With our show season starting soon I know she will have a visit from our vet who can do a physical for her. Thank you!

Definitely check for Cushings. Before my horse was diagnosed, he would drink out of the tub during our ride.

We had a mare who drank an unbelievable amount of water, with associated urine. High anxiety mare. As soon as she was on ulcerguard this stopped.

I am never the first person to say ulcers, but consider ulcers.

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Where in VT are you that you don’t have tick problems? I lived there for years and the ticks were brutal.

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It never hurts to test for Cushings, ulcers or Lyme…but I’d also keep an eye on her water for a week or two to see if she is actually drinking it all, spilling it, dunking hay, etc. My horses rub their butts on them when they are shedding. I would also confirm that the barn staff is filling them.

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My horse started drinking a bunch of water, and then urinating a ton, this past summer. He was being treated for Lyme at the time. I threw him on some ulcerguard and that seemed to help. I only about 10 full tubes worth. My understanding is that they drink a lot to try and “cool” their stomachs in a case like this.

Just a couple of thoughts. I am also curious how you don’t have ticks in VT-- I have been in Maine and NH my whole life and they are just horrible!

I would pay attention to average water consumption over time. With fluctuating spring weather, maybe horse didn’t drink all night, then realized she was extra thirsty after the ride. Maybe she forgot to drink before the ride. Some alteration in when they drink is normal. Also if the hay is particularly dry they will go through more water.

I have the opposite problem, this winter maresy decided she doesn’t like to drink water in colder weather, so after a thankfully minor colic incident, I am making all kinds of teas and mashes to get water into her.

I would just track water consumption over the course of a week before bothering the vet, since it doesn’t sound like any of the possibilities for drinking more are really of emergency level.

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My vet told us that it was either a problem, or it was not a problem. As it turned out it was a problem with her kidneys and eventually she was put down. So get the horse checked out.

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