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Pony with intermittent diarrhea - suggestions?

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  • Pony with intermittent diarrhea - suggestions?

    My pony mare has been having episodes of intermittent diarrhea, though I can't find much evidence of it other than the staining on her butt and legs. (Disclaimer: I board so I don't clean her stall but I see her often at night when she's got several poop piles, and they all appear normal. Other manure that happens when I'm around has also been normal. )

    She's a 'big drinker' and loves a salt lick. Otherwise she eats grass hay and a cupful of extruded feed that's mostly beet pulp and alfalfa twice a day. She's in good weight, if not a bit fat.

    She is otherwise normal, happy, and content. Her coat is shiny and starting to shed appropriately. She's ridden 3-4 days a week.

    She's recently (about 2 weeks ago) been started on a pre/probiotics. How long should we wait to see if they're going to make a significant difference?

    I've been looking into Bio-Sponge. Should I give that a try or give the probiotics longer to work? Or is there something else to try first?

    I'm also thinking of deworming her with Quest the first week of September to see if that makes a difference. She only arrived to us this summer and I'm fairly certain her prior deworming schedule was erratic at best.

    I haven't called the vet yet. I'm checking to see when she's due to come next (she's at our barn frequently).

    Tell me what I'm missing. Would you suggest a different order to try things? Or some other approach?

  • #2
    Originally posted by Seven View Post
    She's a 'big drinker' and loves a salt lick.
    This could be your problem.

    Too much salt alone can cause loose stools. The big drinking is likely due to the high salt intake, and the combo can easily cause diarrhea.

    How big is her salt lick and how long does it last?
    The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET


    • Original Poster

      I don't know how quickly she'd go through one. They're provided by the barn and are of the red brick variety. They replace them too. I'm not even 100% sure she's been given one in her stall yet. I noticed that she was crazy for it when I sometimes put her in my gelding's stall and I have to forcibly drag her away from it. So if she's had one of her own, I suspected she'd have eaten it. She might also spend time in other stalls that have them. I'm pretty sure there's not one in her turnout. I'll check stall and turnout tonight.

      Salt lick or not - she drinks a lot of water.


      • #4
        I have 3 ponies with the same breeding that all have this. When they get at all nervous, poop goes projectile. And even when nothing exciting is happening, they have intermittent loose poop. They all have funky butts from it, so we do alot of butt scrubbing and desitin at our house. I have tried probiotics with limited success on one pony last year, but am going to try again with all 3 and see what happens. I'd be interested to hear other suggestions.

        FWIW, all 3 had fecals done late spring. Two were very low shedders, one was borderline high. Low shedders were wormed with Quest Plus, borderline high was powerpacked. Interestingly enough, the borderline high has the LEAST problem with this...and he is also the one with the most nervousness/anxiety issues.


        • Original Poster

          BelladonnaLily - Nice to know I'm not alone with a leaky pony pooper. What are you using to wash the staining/poop off? I've tried some shampoo but I have to scrub a lot to get it off and that seems to irritate her. I am hoping to find there was something better that would allow for less scouring. I'm thinking of getting some gentle liquid soap - like Ivory or Dove.

          Interesting that my pony not an outwardly anxious type at all. But if there's nothing dietary or medical causing it (still to be ruled out), she must be feeling some anxiety?

          I think I'm going to try the deworming before I do the BioSponge. I'll do Quest this fall and then a PowerPac this winter.

          I checked her stall and turnout. No salt lick in either right now. She was in a stall with one today and was very excited over the salt. I let her have some. Not sure if she needs it or not.


          • #6
            Quest is essentially a Power Pack, and using Quest means nothing after for at least 3 months. So, I wouldn't do Quest and then a Power Pack in the Fall and Winter
            The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET


            • Original Poster


              By winter, I mean late winter for PowerPac (Jan/Feb). I'd do it now but it's not the right time really and I know the others will get it at that time, so I'd rather her be on the same schedule. So Quest now and the PowerPac later.


              • #8
                Is she on pasture? Another possibility is high sugar grass which can cause intermittent diarrhea. While you see it most often in the spring or when introducing pasture, it also happens when grass is recovering from drought. This year, in PA, the grass went brown twice and is now in it's second recovery after rains. When it starts to green up, one of the first signs it is too much sugar for you horse to handle is poop stains. I would be especially concerned with a pony that tends to be on the plump side.

                Since I have an IR horse with white hindquarters, I have felt your pain on the issue of poop stains. I found that wetting the, umm, crustier areas and letting them sit a minute softens them and allows it to come off without scrubbing. For the stain underneath, Cowboy Magic's Green Stain Remover works wonders!

                Good luck!


                • Original Poster

                  Thanks Snowdenfarm! I'll try to let her soak a bit first to soften the stains. Lately I've just been brushing off what I could and leaving the rest.

                  There's no grass in our turnouts (suburban stable - land is at a premium). She only gets grass from hand grazing and what she can reach through the fence. Interestingly when she moved to the stable this summer she moved off about 30 acres of fairly lush pasture to stalls and smallish dry lot turnouts.

                  I did see some poop tonight after she had her evening meal that was soft-ish (some formed shape but also cow-patty-ish.) Still

                  I wonder if the hay could be too sugar-y? Not sure I can do anything about it. She does love the hay we have.

                  Anyone know how long I should expect to wait to see if the probiotic is working?

                  I did see that she got a new salt lick yesterday or today. I'll see how long it takes for her to go through it. She hadn't eaten as much as I'd suspected she might have.