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VERY sick horse, excessive diarrhea, ALL THOUGHTS welcome! UPDATE (sad) Pg 3.

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    VERY sick horse, excessive diarrhea, ALL THOUGHTS welcome! UPDATE (sad) Pg 3.

    So as per this thread:

    We have a very sick horse. (DH's "baby" he's had since a weanling). If you didn't read that initial post the deal is that the mare presented with severe diarrhea.

    DH wormed her with Ivermecetin, that didn't help, he took her to the vet (2.5 hr trip) who diagnosed her with probable PHF. The mare never had a fever and we are not in an area where you'd think PHF would be an issue.

    BioSponge, probiotics, PowerPack, etc, didn't help (all perscribed by vet).

    We didn't have the Tetracycline (?) available immediately after the Dx so started her on Naxel, then did Tetracycline once it was mailed to us. This did not help.

    Then we did a round of Dex (5cc 1x day for 3 days), as well as PenG (10cc 2x day for 10 days) and 10 SMZs twice a day for 10 days.

    DH also gave her some Pepto (???). The second day on this regime, she had her first solid poop. Then a few days into the drugs she began pooping solidly. She begain to put weight on. She was drinking lots of water and eating electrolytes in her grain and licking her salt lick a LOT.

    She started nibbling hay again (she'd only eat grain before this, and we were afraid to give her too much, just enough for her meds).

    So the last 5 or so days on the meds she looked good, and then for the first 1-2 days after stopping the meds she looked good. Didn't have that terrible gaunt rescue-horse look anymore, but was rounding out and starting to look DECENT again. 3 days after stopping meds and she started to look questionable.

    We left for the weekend and she looks like hell again. She's worse than before.

    Called the vet, and our regular vet was out of the office but the other vet that has been consulting said to put her back on the SMZs. HE says he has NO IDEA what is going on here. Apparently sulfa drugs can shrink the colon (?) and allow solid poops to form again.

    Today the mare didn't even eat her grain. DH is ready to put her to sleep because he thinks it is the end of the road for her, but she's been his "baby" (even though she's a pasture puff!) for the last 14 years.

    None of the other horses are exhibiting any symptoms or anything, and other than the diarrhea and now excessive thirst, the mare has no other symptoms either.

    ANY AND ALL THOUGHTS are welcome.

    I'm hoping our regular vet is back in tomorrow and we can talk with her about what is going on here. I suppose an option is MSU but I know that DH doesn't want to put the mare through that.
    Last edited by RegentLion; Sep. 14, 2010, 02:05 PM.


    No idea, but I did see a horse in similar circumstances with Salmonella. She did have a low grade fever though.

    I hope you are able to find something and get some relief for the poor mare. No other vets to call and bounce ideas?
    Semi Feral


      Has she been tested for C Diff?
      We couldn't all be cowboys, so some of us are clowns.


        Original Poster

        Originally posted by starrunner View Post

        No idea, but I did see a horse in similar circumstances with Salmonella. She did have a low grade fever though.

        I hope you are able to find something and get some relief for the poor mare. No other vets to call and bounce ideas?
        Any idea how one treats Salmonella in horses?

        Not really as far as vets go--we use the best one available to us, and we are really rural. DH talked to the Jr. vet today and hopefully the SR vet in the AM when she's back in the office.


          Original Poster

          Originally posted by FlashGordon View Post
          Has she been tested for C Diff?
          No. When DH took her down there, the vet (JR vet not the one we normally use) couldn't get a stool sample of any sort on her--she was completely cleaned out.

          I am assuming you do a stool sample to determine C Diff? I didn't know horses GOT this.


            I am so sorry. I don't have any ideas that your vets have not investigated, but I do sincerely hope that your DH's mare gets better.


              metronidazole would knock that out.
              geez i dunno though.
              chaque pas est fait ensemble


                If she was better on the Pepto, put her back on it! That also points to ulcers. I'd try some Gastogard.

                But most definitely, put her back on Pepto to keep her comfortable and hydrated (if it stops the diarrhea) until you can figure out a more long term solution.
                Tell a Gelding. Ask a Stallion. Discuss it with a Mare... Pray if it's a Pony!


                  Original Poster

                  Originally posted by ddashaq View Post
                  I am so sorry. I don't have any ideas that your vets have not investigated, but I do sincerely hope that your DH's mare gets better.
                  Me too. I think he's resigned to this beign the end.... but that doesn't make it easier.


                    Original Poster

                    Originally posted by Petstorejunkie View Post
                    metronidazole would knock that out.
                    geez i dunno though.
                    Is there a way to test for Giardia? Fecal?


                      Original Poster

                      Originally posted by sublimequine View Post
                      If she was better on the Pepto, put her back on it! That also points to ulcers. I'd try some Gastogard.

                      But most definitely, put her back on Pepto to keep her comfortable and hydrated (if it stops the diarrhea) until you can figure out a more long term solution.

                      I'm not sure the pepto was what helped. We syringed a bottle of it into her over the course of a day and either that night or the next day she had one solid poop.

                      After that, no more solid poops even with pepto until we were farther in the Pen G/SMZs route.

                      I'll suggest we try the Pepto again. Can't hurt.

                      Admittedly this whole thing hasn't been very scientific given that the mare was on Dex,PenG, SMZs and Pepto all at the same time.

                      Day 1 Dex, PenG,SMZs, Pepto (solid poop)
                      Day 2 Dex, Pen G, SMZs
                      Day 3 Dex, PenG, SMZs, Pepto
                      Day 4 Dex, PenG, SMZs
                      Day 5-10 PenG and SMZs (solid poops)


                        I'd be doing some serial cultures for Salmonella and C. difficile.
                        and perhaps empirically treating with metronidazole, as has been suggested.
                        "It's like a Russian nesting doll of train wrecks."--CaitlinandTheBay

                        ...just settin' on the Group W bench.


                          First, SMZ can cause diarrhea, second has Colitis X been considered (lived thru that MANY years ago)


                            Have them also check for Lawsonia infection. Friend has filly that vets thought had it so read up on it. Has the violent diarrhea as symptom.
                            I agree with the gastro-guard. Has anyone scoped her or done an ultrasound on her belly?
                            Producing horses with gentle minds & brilliant movement!


                              I'm thinking salmonella or c-diff. Or colitis. Or possibly hind gut ulcers (the ones a scope can't see). Lawsonia is also a possibility.

                              Any recent travel (exposure to other horses or housed in a strange stall)?

                              This lab runs a PCR panel on horses with diarrhea. It tests for lawsonia, c-diff, salmonella & potomac. Turn around time is 3 days.

                              If you're going to do the above test, try getting a sterile collection cup from your pharmacy. You can also use plain red-top tubes to collect the sample. Put gloves on and try to catch the diarrhea without touching cup to the horse (minimize contamination - hold tail to the side if possible). I realize this still isn't sterile but it's a clean catch.

                              If you click on the "Shipping Instructions" tab on the website above, they will tell you how to collect liquid samples. They also have instructions for a rectal swab if necessary.

                              Best of luck & many jingles.


                                Colitis X comes to my mind as well.


                                  Original Poster

                                  Thanks for all the suggestions! Will run this by the vet/DH.

                                  And to answer a few questions:

                                  No to the ulcer scope/ultrasound of belly. No to having been off the property (she lives here exclusively).

                                  No other horses are sick and she pastures with one other horse and shares a fenceline with 2.

                                  With C-Diff, Giardia, Salomonella, is that contagious? Wouldn't one of the others have gotten it too (maybe?)

                                  Keep the thoughts coming. I'm headed to bed but will check in the AM.


                                    One of mine developed Salmonella when on Founderguard - vet was amazing attending my horse 2 hourly at my home. We were lucky to catch it early and 19litres of fluid later he was on the road to recovery.

                                    Really old but very succesful treatment for chronic diaharea is to stomach tube the horse with a fresh dropping from a healthy horse. Fresh dung is dissolved in warm water and then given to the sick horse by nasel tube. The microbes in the fresh healthy dung help to repopulate the gut of the sick horse.
                                    Sounds disgusting but works very well.


                                      Where I work any horse that has diarrhea is put right into isolation and strict protocol is followed in case there is something contagious. Everything and I mean everything is disinfected. You don't want something spreading to other horses. Personally i'd get her to an equine hospital and have them work on her. They have the tools and resources to figure this stuff out. Hope she starts to feel better soon ...
                                      "When a horse greets you with a nicker & regards you with a large & liquid eye, the question of where you want to be & what you want to do has been answered." CANTER New England


                                        Not a vet, but sounds like colitis to me since there is no fever present. I think she needs to go to a vet hospital, but if you absolutely can't do that you could also try a cup of psyllium daily. You would also need to remove hay from the diet. Just grass and soaked feed.