Contents:  Can Horses get hemorrhoids? — What are hemorrhoids in horses? — Problem of diagnosing horse hemorrhoids — Horse hemorrhoid symptoms — Causes of piles in horses — Treatment for horse hemorrhoids & what the the vet said to do — Prevention of horse hemorrhoids — Hemorrhoids in horses, the concluding comments.

Can Horses get hemorrhoids?

Horse with hemorrhoids showing and was diagnosed by a vet.
These were diagnosed by a vet as hemorrhoids, it was the first horse the owner had out of a hundred, that ever developed them.

The condition of Horse Haemorrhoids, Horse Hemorrhoids, Horse Hemroids, Horse Piles is so rare that when I asked horse experts if horses could suffer from hemorrhoids, the answer was either “yes” or “I don’t know”, but NO one had seen an actual case of a horse with hemorrhoids!

So horse hemorrhoids was quite an interesting page for me to work out.  The answer is, YES, hemorrhoids in horses can, in fact, exist!  I found out by going to another web site I own on old time vet treatments and found this entry for hemorrhoids in horses:


Is rare in the horse. It is peculiar to dogs, and is the
result of congestion of the mucous membrane around the
anus and dilatation of the hemorrhoidal veins.”


What are hemorrhoids in horses?

Horse haemorrhoids are a condition whereby there is an inflammation in the muscle tissues near the anus region or the lower rectum and sometimes part of the bowel will prolapse outside.

Horse hemorrhoids are not normally a serious condition and it can be cured easily once diagnosed, it is necessary to take precautions and to give timely treatment to your horse to help the animal regain it’s health and prevent more serious problems from developing, such as infection.


Problem of diagnosing horse hemorrhoids

If we human beings get hemroids, we are able to express the pain or the symptoms  in words, following which we can visit a doctor, provide a verbal description and get our diagnosis and treatment.

However, in animals, it becomes very difficult to understand what they are going through, as obviously, they cant tell us in words.

Sometimes, the horse might be ill, but the person in charge might not know that, as there may be no tell tale visible symptoms.

The horse might be in agony, but the owner will often have no clues about the condition, about what is causing the agony in their horse – they just know the horse is in pain.

For people who love horses, they may have seen them suffer from colic, or other forms of common illness, but not realize for several days that their beloved horse was ill.

The condition of piles in horses is not very widespread at all, but horses can indeed come down with hemroids, in spite of it’s rarity.

What we look for in animals when trying to diagnose hemorrhoids, is the symptoms the animal, in this case horse, is portraying.


Horse hemorrhoid symptoms

Hemorrhoids in a horse are usually very painful and there might be bleeding as well around the area.

When you have been with a horse for a period of time, you will likely become familiar with its habits and eating patterns.  If you observe a change in this routine, or a drop in appetite, you may need to check for internal problems.  Such changes could be due to constipation, or pain during bowel movement, or an illness that causes a loss of appetite.

If it is not detected early, horse hemorrhoids could become very painful and interfere with the horse walking or carrying on with any routine activity.

You might notice your horse is becoming very cranky or irritable and keeps rubbing it’s backside on rough surfaces. This is the horse trying to get relief from the pain or discomfort in that region.

Sometimes, you would notice the horse trying to lick or rub itself in the posterior region. They may do this over and over again, which is a symptom that something is bothering them in that area – it may therefore be a symptom of horse hemorrhoids as well.

If your horse refuses to sit, or goes through discomfort while sitting, well, that’s another symptom of hemorrhoids in horses.

What many horse hands and trainers don’t know, is that constipation, which can lead to hemorrhoids, can also cause stomach ache and colic in a horse via impaction of the poop / stool.  So, although stomach ache and colic are not directly symptoms of horse hemorrhoids, they can occur with hemorrhoids, as they are also caused by horse constipation.  So if colic and or stomach ache are present, that may be indicative of hemorrhoids being present as well.

To complicate matters, there are two kinds of horse haemorrhoids – there are internal horse hemroids and external horse hemroids.

If the condition is internal, there will be swelling and inflammation near the anus region on the inner wall, and if it is external, it will be visible outside.

Unlike the external hemorrhoids in horses, internal horse hemorrhoids are much more difficult to diagnose.

If you notice a change in the habits of your horse, AND there is blood in the stool, you need to consult a vet immediately.


Causes of piles in horses

There are several causes of horse hemorrhoids.

Horse piles may be hereditary; in which case it gets passed down from the steed and or mare to the colt or filly.

Nothing you can do about the genetics as far as I know, but you can help control or stop hemorrhoids in such genetically inclined horses through diet and lifestyle.

Lifestyle is a major contributor to horses getting hemorrhoids. If the diet does not include food rich in fibre or enough liquid, or if the diet contained too much food that can bind the horse up, like cheese, it could lead to swelling and inflammation.

I have to admit, I found the idea of horses not getting enough fibre difficult to swallow.  They eat hay and grain.  When I talked to an old farmer, my father-in-law, about it, he said that the fiber content in poor quality hay may not be all that good and most farmers wouldn’t normally use grain to feed a horse.  So much for the old Bonanza series where the horses always had a grain sack or grain trough to feed from.

So, even if the horse looks healthy on the outside, if it does not get enough water and a balanced diet, it can get constipated and in turn the horse may succumb to haemorrhoids.

When the bowel movements are disturbed, as in constipation, it leads to an increase in pressure applied to the rectum region. Unlike humans, the increased pressure from constipation does not come from straining to get the poop out, but from the impaction of the poop / stool within the horse and the resultant pressure that causes.  This in turn leads to expansion of the blood vessels around the anus and this can cause hemroids and eventually bleeding.

Another common cause of horse hemorrhoids, is when the horse strains while delivering young ones. When your horse has just delivered, get the vet to do an internal exam to help control the development of any horse hemorrhoids or other conditions.

In some cases, it has been noticed that horse hemorrhoids may be due to the horse being overweight, having inadequate exercise, or if the horse remains sitting too often.  This can occur when the horse has grown very old and is unable to move much, for example, because of arthritis.  Depending on the temperament of the animal, it still needs to be kept active if at all possible; else it will lead into a variety of ailments, such as hemorrhoids.

Periodically, vet checks become a very good idea, once your horse crosses the age of 5-8 years.  This is the age when they start growing old and are more prone to ailments, like hemorrhoids, plaguing them.


Treatment for horse hemorrhoids

Once you have figured out that something is wrong with your horse, you need to consult a vet immediately. The more you delay, the higher the intensity of pain and discomfort is going to be for your horse.

Also the kind of horse hemorrhoids your horse has needs to be diagnosed before starting treatment.

For external horse hemorrhoids, topical application of medication or ointment will often do the trick. These will sooth the inflammation, and provide relief from pain as well.

Most of the hemorrhoids creams that are used for human beings can be used on horses and other animals as well. Just make sure to check with your vet prior to picking up the ointment from your pharmacy.

Apply such topical hemorrhoid remedies based on the instructions given in the pack, to help reduce the inflammation and hopefully heal the hemorrhoids.

Remember though, that the horse’s lifestyle needs to be corrected at as well.

For internal horse hemroids, your vet might give you suppositories for your horse – things to insert inside the horse’s rectum – to tone down the inflammation.

Bowel softeners may also be prescribed to help ease the bowel movement in horses with constipation.

If nothing works, then surgery might be the only option left – remove the hemorrhoids from the horse using a scalpel under anesthetic.

The old time doctor and vet treatments site I mentioned above also suggested the following for the treatment of horse piles:

“Remedy.—Oily aperients, laxative injections. Remove
hardened dung. Return prolapsed bowel. Cooling, diges­
tible diet. Gall and opium ointment, or zinc benzoate

The site also contained the concentrations to use and so on.

If you know how to, you may be able to help control the hemorrhoids in your horse by removing the hardened dung and returning the prolapsed bowel (hemroids) carefully back into the rectum – mind you don’t get attacked by the horse.  Cooling can be achieved through a walk in a deep stream or lake.


How did the vet say to treat horse hemorrhoids?

The vet who handled the horse in the photo at the top of the page told the owner to mix sugar with a bit of water to make a slurry. Then you have to rub it into the hemorrhoids for 30 minutes. After an hour the horse hemorrhoids had reduced in size by 75%. As it wasn’t completely gone, the vet then said to use a hemorrhoid cream, and again rub it in for 30 minutes. 16 hours later the hemorrhoid was gone and the horse was back to its old self.

“Vet told me that if the slurry didn’t work and the cream didn’t work not to worry and give it at least 3 days before thinking of surgery. One thing I forgot to mention is that after the sugar slurry if no change or little change make sure to clean off the slurry mix with water and put some Vaseline on to keep the flies off the swollen area.”

Photo of Pixie, the colt, and the vets information was made available to by Robert and Lorna Werner. So a big thank you for confirming that horses can and do get hemorrhoids, and for the photo proof a well.

Prevention of horse hemorrhoids

As they say, prevention is better than cure. So, when you bring home a horse, make sure you give it a good balanced diet. The food must be high in fibre content, and the horse must be made to drink plenty of water on a daily basis. Make sure the trough of water is always filled and kept near the animal, so they can drink from it whenever thirsty.

Another regime that one must follow, with all animals, especially horses, is including some form of exercise on a daily basis for them to remain fit.

All these in turn will help keep their body healthy and make way for the easy passing of stools, the avoidance of constipation, which will help keep hemorrhoids away.


Hemorrhoids in horses, the concluding comments

Well, I think the topic of horse hemorrhoids has been well covered.  Almost 2,000 words detailing the definition, rarity, diagnosis, causes, preventions and treatments of horse hemorrhoids.

Question is, will anyone ever look up Horse Haemorrhoids, Horse Hemorrhoids, Horse Hemroids, Horse Piles?

The answer:  Next to none!


A number of people highly experienced in the care and handling of horses have helped me write this very difficult page.  If it contains any errors, which I don’t expect it will, please let me know.  Thank you. Donald


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