We have a 20 year old horse at the farm that is going down hill fast. He has had severe diarrhea for a while now, which the vet has not been able to get under control despite meds. Blood work showed nothing, neither did an ultrasound of his abdomen. The only thing that has come up so far is protozoa in a fecal sample. Apparently it is the kind that is supposed to stay in his intestines.
Anyone have this happen before? I doubt this horse is going to pull through as he is in bad shape at this point, but I would really like to make sure it isn't something that could affect the others. The other horses in his field have not become ill.
They probably did identify the protozoa but I am getting second hand info from his owner and she just gave me a summary. There was a low fever initially but the vet was out yesterday and the fever was gone. They did start him on an antibiotic per the owner.
I have been told by vets that protozoa are to some extent normal flora in horse colons. HOWEVER. In an animal that's ill with diarrhea I'm not sure I would be accepting anything as "normal". I'd want my vet to be on the phone with a specialist, probably.
I don't know about horses, and maybe this is TMI but I had a protozoal infection once (you do NOT want to have one, trust me) and it was easily cleared up with an anti-protozoal medication, not a traditional antibiotic. No one in my family got it from me, we really don't know how I managed to be the only one to get it but that's how it works sometimes. If my horse were out with the infected horse I'd just watch for diarrhea and know what to mention to the vet if something showed up but I would not be overly concerned about him being infected. If anything, I'd be more worried that my horse would be infected from the same SOURCE as the infected horse. As Heliodoro mentioned, contaminated water is a common, but not only, infection source.
Thanks everyone! The vet is from the big clinic here so she has access to whatever specialists and tests are needed. There is no other water source in field other than the troughs...no streams He is a grey horse, so I am wondering if it could be something like melanoma?
I really doubt this horse is going to be around long enough to get to the bottom of it. He is dropping weight like crazy now. Watching him walk across the field this morning, he looks extremely weak.