Chronic Diarrhea

Discussion in 'Horse Health' started by RachelB47, Feb 5, 2019.

  1. RachelB47

    RachelB47 Registered

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    My horse has had chronic diarrhea pretty much his whole life. It goes away almost entirely when he is in consistent work, on grass pretty much 24/7, and in warmer months. He gets 1/2 lb pro elite diet balancer and 1/2 lb alfalfa, along with 3 flakes of hay morning and night. In the summer he doesn’t get the hay or alfalfa, just the 1/2 lb of balancer each feeding. He can not tolerate any grain other than that (will colic) He hasn’t been in work much lately due to the temperatures and ice... i don’t have an indoor. He has terrible diarrhea (like running down his legs) and I’ve tried almost everything as far as supplements. Gastrotech, daily gold, succeed, probios, etc. I’ve heard bio sponge by platinum performance is the way to go, but I am also looking into platinum performance’s platinum balance. He DOES NOT have stomach ulcers, but I have pretty good reason to believe it may be hind gut ulcers which are of course a pain to treat and diagnose. Any thoughts/suggestions? Thank you!
     
  2. Mcdreamer

    Mcdreamer Senior Member

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    Are his poops cow pies or fecal balls with leaking fluid?
    What's the history of this horse? Had a rescue mare that had chronic cow pies. Treated with antibiotics basically gut infection and it took care of it. The next option was a fecal transplant.
    If it's leaky butt syndrome it could be a colon issue. Biosponge works in those cases.
     
  3. RachelB47

    RachelB47 Registered

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    It’s like fecal balls with leaking fluid I’ve had 2-3 different vets try to diagnose the issue but every time they haven’t pinpointed it but did shift toward hind gut ulcers/colon issue. I have owned him since he was 13 months, he’s now 15 years old.
     
  4. Mcdreamer

    Mcdreamer Senior Member

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    I would try the biosponge but that usually just takes care of the symptoms. Could range from inflammation of the colon to full blown colitis. The only way you'll know is if you put a butt ton of money into it but as long as he's otherwise healthy, it might just be an annoying life long thing.
     
  5. slc

    slc Senior Member

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    I think a vet needs to get a little more involved. There is a test for blood in the manure, that may be a place to start.

    How long total time has he had this?

    Often, these horses need to be on a complete feed such as equine senior, and not get any hay, because the problem is that due to colitis or other issues (there are a handful of disorders that affect the colon) they have a hard time fully processing hay. Some of these horses can digest grass pasture ok.

    I doubt the hind gut ulcer thing, but colitis is not the same as ulcers. Colitis causes a thickening of the wall of the colon over time, and over time, some of the cells are replaced with inflammatory cells, so that's why the digestion doesn't work as well. And colitis can be due to, as I noted, a couple different disorders (there are 4 of them that are inflammatory in nature).

    Many of the causes of colitis don't respond much to any changes in diet or home remedies or supplements. Nothing much of anything works, other than a complete feed and no hay.

    Biosponge? It works because clay (it's clay) has some extremely mild anti-inflammatory properties. But it won't work for long.

    This condition of your horse, you've already tried many things, talked to vets...I'm going to guess that this is probably one of these inflammatory diseases.

    I went through this with one of my horses and it was awful. EVERYONE had a cure for me: yogurt, no soy, no corn, more oats, less oats, this supplement, that supplement, this magic product, that magic product, blah blah blah, none of it worked.

    If you've tried different things - all the usual, like no soy feeds, no corn feeds - and none of those remedies have worked, you may have a horse that needs to be on a complete diet and not get any hay. Some of them can get pasture. But no hay.

    The complete feed doesn't necessarily have to not include corn or soy. Most people insist that has to be the problem but quite often that's not the problem at all.

    A vet needs to get more involved. Many vets don't encourage a lot of effort to get to the bottom of this, largely because it can be incredibly frustrating and expensive to track down, and their clients have generally already spent a lot of money trying to track down what's going wrong, and in many cases no actual 'cause' is found.

    The conclusion is usually that it's probably one of these 4 inflammatory diseases, they're all 4 fairly similar and require the same treatment. The other things it can be? Different types of cancer? That would be bad.

    And in almost all cases, the 'treatment' is the same: put the horse on a complete feed and he'll probably do well for years.

    My horse is in a feed that is beet pulp based. We wet it and soak it overnight. She gets 12 lbs of it (dry) per day. That makes about 22+ lbs of feed.
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2019
  6. Alsosusieq2

    Alsosusieq2 Senior Member

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    I've never dealt with this, but it seems hay is a key on it.
     
  7. RachelB47

    RachelB47 Registered

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    Thank you for your help! He has had it on and off most of his life, but it seems to come around when he is on hay. As soon as he is off hay for the winter and back on the grass during warmer months, it goes away entirely. I will talk to my coworker about switching him to less hay and working toward a more complete diet. I will have my vet come out if it continues after that, I have just already spent so much money on him between 2 colics and one leg surgery in the past 3 years. Because of that I am hesitant about feeding him more (grain wise) But hey it’s a place to start. I was planning to put him on a mostly hay stretcher diet anyway and cut down on hay because I noticed that seemed to help last year when he couldn’t have hay after his colic. Also there are other horses being fed beet pulp at the barn as well. Thank you again!
     
  8. Smartee Pants

    Smartee Pants Senior Member

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    We had one at the farm like this for years. For him - it did come down to hay (of any variety). We fed soaked beet pulp shreds.
     
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  9. mybigbrownie

    mybigbrownie Registered

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    I do feel for you and your horse Smartee Pants. Do try to wean him off long stem forage and see if it improves. It may take up to 3 months or it could take only a week to see results. I say this because it was too late for my horse. I had to put him down at 14 yrs old as he would not have made it through the last arctic blast. It is a very frustrating, expensive and heartbreaking condition--especially in the winter. My horse suffered with this going on 6 winters. poster slc is spot on with the scenerio of a gazillion diff sups meds feeds with no real improvement over time. Early on there was lots of bloodwork and other tests with 2 diff vets and no answers. He was finally dx 2 years ago by a university with inflammatory bowel disease of the lymphocyte type. They performed belly tap, rectal biopsy and of course more blood work and fecal tests--at the time no cancer cells were found but there was some thickening of the intestinal wall and protien loss. The causes including sand impaction, cancer or dietary were not ruled out but most of the vets thought it could be food related. He was on a course of dex, then metronidazole and those things didn't touch it. Non of the vets at the time recommended taking him off long stem hay, but I have run across quite a few articles as well as other owners who had to rermove long stem forage from the diet for at least 90 days to rest the colon so it was able to heal. This late fall I bought hay pellets to replace some of his hay ration. he was already on a senior feed and beet pulp nutramino from horsetech {which helped him gain weight and muscle this summer) but I increased the senior and started soaking his hay which eventually I'd planned on weaning him off that. Unfortunately the first really cold week was very rough on him and he started rapidly losing weight before I could wean him off the hay. He was still pretty much hoovering it down but it was going right through him. The vet and I tried a few things over a weekend but I just could not envision him suffering any longer when he could be at peace and rid of this terrible condition. I hope some of that information is helpful and that you are able to be successful with removing the hay and see what comes of it.
     
  10. CarlisleChipper

    CarlisleChipper Senior Member+

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    If he needs to be on a complete feed I suggest "One and Only."
     

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