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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep. 11, 2007
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    Oxford, PA
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    Default Chronic Diarrhea

    I've posted in the past about my mare and her chronic diarrhea (my computer isn't cooperating so I can't seem find my old posts)... Anyway, now that winter has (sort of) arrived, we're dealing with fun diarrhea again. That said, the diarrhea/loose stool is constant throughout the year, but it's a different consistency in the winter. It's actually a little thicker in the winter which results in her tail (and legs) becoming a poop-filled mess and when temperatures are below freezing, a giant poopcicle (in the summer/fall her tail is usually fine even though her stool is more liquidy/loose).

    So at this point, the vets assume it's a hind gut issue/IBS and since we've tried more or less everything we can think of (diet change, supplements, ulcer treatment, elimination diet, grass and no hay, hay and no grass, alfalfa only, grass hay only, metronidizole, prednisone, antibiotics, other sterioids, etc.) over the past 3+ years, chances are we can't solve the diarrhea issue.

    But, how can I keep her tail clean? I washed it the other morning and by the evening it was impossible to tell I'd washed it. And with temperatures getting cold and no hot water outside, I can't exactly be hosing her legs/tail daily with freezing water. I'm so sick of diarrhea right now! Winter is the only time it's that much of an issue.

    Any suggestions?



  2. #2
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    Sep. 9, 2008
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    Default

    I'd buy a couple of cheap tail bags and keep her tail up in the winter. There's no flies, and you can just swap out the bags every day or two and toss them in the wash.



  3. #3
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    Jan. 23, 2007
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    CT
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    A friend of mine has a horse that contracted giardia, the same thing that effects people from bad drinking water (AKA beaver fever). Her horse had just about constant diarrhea that persisted even with probiotics, feed changes etc.

    It might be worth asking the vet about a stool test for it.



  4. #4
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    Sep. 11, 2007
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    Quote Originally Posted by CatPS View Post
    I'd buy a couple of cheap tail bags and keep her tail up in the winter. There's no flies, and you can just swap out the bags every day or two and toss them in the wash.
    That's not a bad idea. I did try it a couple years ago, but I think I was doing something wrong and I could never get the bag to stay on longer than a couple of hours. How do you properly tie them to make them stay on? The other thing is the worst of the tail poop is up by the tail bone. Still, if I can get them to stay on, it might help part of the tail.

    Quote Originally Posted by mlb722 View Post
    A friend of mine has a horse that contracted giardia, the same thing that effects people from bad drinking water (AKA beaver fever). Her horse had just about constant diarrhea that persisted even with probiotics, feed changes etc.

    It might be worth asking the vet about a stool test for it.
    I have to say, giardia is one thing we never even discussed. I may have to ask about that one next time I have the vet out. It can't hurt to test. That said, I think one of the treatments for giardia is metronizazole and she did NOT respond much to it.



  5. #5
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    Jun. 30, 2009
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    Default

    Your (much) earlier topic
    - now I'll go read



  6. #6
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    Sep. 11, 2007
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by alto View Post
    Your (much) earlier topic
    - now I'll go read
    Thank you! Each time I try and search or access old posts, my computer freezes and it's time to restart. It's on it's last legs...



  7. #7
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    Jun. 30, 2009
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    Yes, she was on Probios for 4-6 months and it really made no difference
    Refrigerated stuff (usually $$) or the useless RT shite that most places sell?

    How long was she on Metronidazole? (I assume it was as a followup to a Power Pack type dewormer)

    Allergy panel?

    Has she ever been starved/emaciated? - this can be as a consequence to illness as well, ie, anything that wipes out the gut bacteria (eg, antibiotics followed by bacterial overgrowth - the wrong sort) or damages the intestional wall sufficiently (severe parasites, bacteria).
    Since you never answered these questions back when, I'll admit they are still one's I'd ask

    Note that Flagyl=Metronidazole & giardia can be difficult to diagnose unless it's a raging "infection".

    Given the length of time your horse has had diarrhea, I suspect that any supplements will need a 3 month trial to really assess, meds such as Metronidazole will need 1 month to assess ...

    Have you tried herbal remedies such as those marketed by Silver Lining Herbs?

    ETA
    The other thing is the worst of the tail poop is up by the tail bone.
    Dock wraps?



  8. #8
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    Oxford, PA
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by alto View Post
    Since you never answered these questions back when, I'll admit they are still one's I'd ask
    Oops. Sorry! I'll answer now.

    Refrigerated stuff (usually $$) or the useless RT shite that most places sell?
    I can't remember. I've done the probios powder, probios paste, and fastrack. There may have been another probiotic that I've tried. I know she was on the powder for close to a year and the fastrack for at least 6 months.

    How long was she on Metronidazole? (I assume it was as a followup to a Power Pack type dewormer)
    Metronidazole for either 21 or 28 days. It was 2 years ago so I'm fuzzy on the exact time.

    Allergy panel?
    No. 2 vets have talked me out of the allergy panel. So that I didn't do.

    Has she ever been starved/emaciated? - this can be as a consequence to illness as well, ie, anything that wipes out the gut bacteria (eg, antibiotics followed by bacterial overgrowth - the wrong sort) or damages the intestional wall sufficiently (severe parasites, bacteria).
    This I don't know. It's possible in the past prior to her time with me/previous owner. I have her papers. She's from the midwest and somehow ended up at New Holland (not in the kill pen) where she was purchased by the farm I bought her from for their lesson program. Her weight was evidently fine then. She's had loose stool since before that point. She is very broke western but has soundness issues. It's been suggested that she might have been buted for a significant length of time which may have done something to her stomach. BUT, that's just speculation.

    Note that Flagyl=Metronidazole & giardia can be difficult to diagnose unless it's a raging "infection".

    Given the length of time your horse has had diarrhea, I suspect that any supplements will need a 3 month trial to really assess, meds such as Metronidazole will need 1 month to assess ...

    Have you tried herbal remedies such as those marketed by Silver Lining Herbs?

    ETA

    Dock wraps?
    I do try and keep her on supplements for 2-3 months as a trial. Usually it's cheaper for buy larger buckets anyway.

    Hopefully those answer help? Let me know if I missed answering anything.

    No, haven't tried anything from Silver Lining Herbs. I have however tried some herbal remedies including stuff with slippery elm in it.



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun. 14, 2006
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    VA
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    Default

    As for a tail bag....

    Here's what has worked for me, though I'm not a pro at this....

    First, I start french braiding the tail hair at the tail bone. I start weaving in the straps of the tail bag when I'm about half way down. At the end of the tail bone, I tie off the first braid with a pony tail holder. Then, you can either braid the rest of the tail or twist. THen cover/put in tail bag. Then you tie around BELOW the tailbone--not around. But having the ties braided in makes it hold better.

    That said, I still undid the bag/braid every few days. That may not be the best way, but it worked for me. You can make a pretty functional tail bag out of a long tube sock, btw.

    You don't have to buy something.
    A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

    Might be a reason, never an excuse...



  10. #10
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    May. 25, 2006
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    I have tried just about everything on my daughters aged pony (except metronidazole)---what has helped the most was treating extensively for sand, deworming and switching him to a complete feed designed for seniors (taking him off hay completely- He has access to year round pasture). The biggest change came with removing long stem forage (hay) and switching to the senior. His D is very manageable now an (going from the nasty tail/constant squirts to soft formed)--he is a Senior though (late twenties in otherwise excellent health).



  11. #11
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    I like the slinky-material tail bags that you actually braid in, personally, because they do start at the base of the dock... not sure how much that would help you in this particular case, though. If the poo soaks through, I can see how they would just make a bigger mess Maybe you could start french braiding above the dock and tie the bag in up that high so that it covers the tail starting at the bottom of the dock???



  12. #12
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    Default

    Have you tried Saccharomyces boullardi?



  13. #13
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    Jan. 23, 2007
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    FWIW I believe my friend's horse only responded to flagyl for the giardia.

    Edited to add it was for an extended period of time. The first round was not long enough and it did not clear up.

    Also, from what I understand from a microbiologist friend, you can get false negatives depending on the skill of the person doing the test and how bad the infection is.
    Last edited by mlb722; Dec. 23, 2012 at 09:19 AM.



  14. #14
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    Fort Collins, CO
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    Default

    Bio-sponge, psyllium and a really good probiotic would be how I would approach.

    And I'd vet wrap the tail up like arab people do.



  15. #15
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    I had one who we tried everything and then everything again including bio sponge, all sorts of pro, prebiotics, feeds, etc. What worked was Dr. Xie's Equine GI. Don't know why it worked, but he never had diarrhea again...



  16. #16
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    Jan. 27, 2006
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    Default

    I've seen Bio-Sponge do amazing things. I now keep it on hand and at the first sign of loose poo, my guys will get a dose. Could be that there is just a bad in balance.



  17. #17
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    Sep. 11, 2007
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    Hopefully I'm responding to everyone...

    Quote Originally Posted by BuddyRoo View Post
    As for a tail bag....

    Here's what has worked for me, though I'm not a pro at this....
    Thanks. I think that's what I've done in the past, but it's worth another try. I'm terrible with braiding which doesn't help. The one issue I have is that the tail bag gets heavy/filled with poop and the weight pulls it off. Usually in less than a day.

    Quote Originally Posted by goodpony View Post
    I have tried just about everything on my daughters aged pony (except metronidazole)---what has helped the most was treating extensively for sand, deworming and switching him to a complete feed designed for seniors (taking him off hay completely- He has access to year round pasture). The biggest change came with removing long stem forage (hay) and switching to the senior. His D is very manageable now an (going from the nasty tail/constant squirts to soft formed)--he is a Senior though (late twenties in otherwise excellent health).
    She's typically on pasture in the summer w/o hay and her manure is actually more liquidy than it is now. That said, the consistency in the summer is so loose/liquidy that her tail is actually better. She's not a senior though. Just 12/13.


    Quote Originally Posted by CatPS View Post
    I like the slinky-material tail bags that you actually braid in, personally, because they do start at the base of the dock... not sure how much that would help you in this particular case, though. If the poo soaks through, I can see how they would just make a bigger mess Maybe you could start french braiding above the dock and tie the bag in up that high so that it covers the tail starting at the bottom of the dock???
    That's the other part of the problem. The slinky material bags get soaked/filled with poop. Then I have to wash them by hand before they'll see the inside of my washing machine... Then there is still tail washing to do as well.

    Quote Originally Posted by Meadow36 View Post
    Have you tried Saccharomyces boullardi?
    This I haven't. I'll google it today, but can you tell me more?

    Quote Originally Posted by Simkie View Post
    Bio-sponge, psyllium and a really good probiotic would be how I would approach.

    And I'd vet wrap the tail up like arab people do.
    Bio-sponge, as wonderful as it is, does nothing. Haven't had any luck with psyllium or any of the probiotics I've tried.

    My vets keep telling me not to worry about it. And most of the year I agree. But they're not the ones dealing with the poop and the frozen poopcicle tail in the winter! Temperatures below freezing last night and her tail is a frozen poopy mess!

    I'm thinking I'll give the vet wrap a try and see how that works. I'm sure I've tried it in the past, but in conjunction with a tail bag. I'll see what vet wrap alone does.

    Quote Originally Posted by candico View Post
    I had one who we tried everything and then everything again including bio sponge, all sorts of pro, prebiotics, feeds, etc. What worked was Dr. Xie's Equine GI. Don't know why it worked, but he never had diarrhea again...
    Hmm... What is this stuff?



  18. #18
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    Jul. 2, 2008
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    We had problem with diarrhea for two years, trying everything! Certain time of the year, or a particular product, or taking new advice would appear like the problem was solved but it was always temporary. Finally, tho (and I should knock on wood) and for almost a year, we have wonderful poop. What we did was switch off hay entirely and began feeding speedi-beet mixed with Triple Crown feed and Timothy pellets. We feed 3 - 4 times a day depending on the pony's workload. A friend at a neighboring barn feeds her horse a similar diet and for the same reason and it's worked well for her, too. Both her horse and our pony graze in pasture w grazing muzzles. Hope this helps.



  19. #19
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    Nov. 18, 2010
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    I also had diarrhea with my older gelding for several years. I don't have the problem now that he is on smartpak Omega 3 and TLC anti-inflamatory. The supplements have pre-biotics and no more diarrhea and a lovely coat. He is also getting timothy pellets with his rice barn.

    I do agree with twhs in that the hay is often the problem, I cannot feed my older guy alfalfa so he gets grass hay which is part of the problem. However, we are doing very well right now and no more hind end washing every day... so I am hopefull.
    Last edited by stolen virtue; Dec. 23, 2012 at 04:43 PM.



  20. #20
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    S. boullardii is a probiotic that has been proven in horses to be useful for colitis in hospital settings. Mostly used for acute colitis (like associated with antibiotics, stress or colic); but I know a lot of vets prescribing it for chronic cases with good success. It certainly couldn't hurt and it's not that expensive (about $1/day for the Swanson product).

    You can buy it at a store like GMC, or I get it online from Swanson. 3 capsules twice a day (the Swanson ones easily twist apart and you can sprinkle it on the feed).



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