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Loose stools, barn problem?

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  • Loose stools, barn problem?

    There are 4 horses at the barn where my daughter's horse lives that have chronic diarrhea. The severity varies from one mare who is loosing weight and condition, who is starting to look sick to cow plops instead of normal balls. The mare has had the problem for a couple of months now. The vet has seen her multiple times. They've tried antibiotics and ever increasingly expensive probiotics and done "blood work" with no results that would indicate any cause. Our gelding has now had loose stools for 2 weeks. The BO's vet finally took fecal samples from the worst mare. We're waiting on results as he sends the fecals to Cornell. Although our gelding looks fine otherwise, I'm uneasy with this turn of events. When it is 4 horses from one farm out of about 40 horses, what might be the problem? Parasites? Which ones? The horses are all wormed regularly under the vet's supervision. Giardia? Salmonella in the hay? Has anyone who has been through this got any ideas? I don't think they are all eating the same grain but they are eating hay from the same fields.
    "The captive bolt is not a proper tool for slaughter of equids they regain consciousness 30 seconds after being struck fully aware they are being vivisected." Dr Friedlander DVM & frmr Chief USDA Insp

  • #2
    Sand? Has anyone bagged poo to see if sand drops out of solution?


    • Original Poster

      I don't think so but they eat out of rubber tubs in their stalls. Although they do have hay outside. I will check it. If I got it right, I mix manure in water, let it sit, then poor off the water to see if sand is left. Is that right?
      "The captive bolt is not a proper tool for slaughter of equids they regain consciousness 30 seconds after being struck fully aware they are being vivisected." Dr Friedlander DVM & frmr Chief USDA Insp


      • #4
        Nobody ever mentions water. I have a sensitive stomach and our local tap water upsets it, I don't know if it's the PH or too many minerals or what, but for me water makes a difference. I wonder if that ever effects horses.


        • #5
          Originally posted by ptownevt View Post
          I don't think so but they eat out of rubber tubs in their stalls. Although they do have hay outside. I will check it. If I got it right, I mix manure in water, let it sit, then poor off the water to see if sand is left. Is that right?
          You can...only I generally get it everywhere that way. The easiest way is to bag it with water and air in a gallon sized ziplock. Carefully mix well and then hang by a corner on a very thick diameter nail. The sand will settle out in the bottom corner. It will be obvious. Even feel gritty thru the plastic. The fecal matter will float above the sand.


          • #6
            At my barn 2 horses were having issues with a looser stool, not quite cow pies, but enough to make a mess on their rear ends. One was mine, the other my trainers older packer horse. Since we've had such a mild "winter" our thoughts were that the grass is going through some wierd changes in nutrients from the cycling of cold to warmish and very wet, the horses perfer the grass to the nice round bales set out and our 2 might be the most sensitive to it. The only other thing the horses have in common is they are both on Adequan. Tried Probios, no change. I did finally worm my horse with ivermectin in late December (it wasn't consistently cold enough for so long!) and seemed to clear up the problem. Trainer wormed her guy with praziquantel, no change.


            • #7
              I would also check what feeds the affected horses are on.

              One boarder's horse, an older TB geld was recently switched to TC senior because he was getting picky about the former feed. The boarder and I discussed this in advance and agreed to try the new feed. With the former feed, he was also getting 2 oz of Cocasoya per day, so he was used to having fat added to his feed.

              He developed loose stools on the new feed, so I cut out the additional fat because TC senior is a higher fat feed. He still had loose stools-not obvious when looking at the manure because it was well formed, but the horse had manure on his hind legs and rump. After discussing it, we decided to try 1/2 TC senior and 1/2 Purina Sr as his feed ration. The gelding wasn't too wild about straight Purina Sr so that's why we tried the mix. Within a few days, the problem cleared up and he's been fine ever since.


              • #8
                I dunno but if it was a "barn problem" there would be more showing up with it. 4 out of 40 is not really enough to rule out coincidence.

                Just work with the vet and the BO, direct any questions to them. I wouldn't turn on the old barn grapevine at this point. Just the facts from those that know them.

                JMO based on what was shared in this post but it sounds like the mare has something more systematic then your gelding does. Slightly loose stools this time of year are not that unusual (hay and pasture variance), long as it does not turn into a lengthy bout of the "squirts" it's not a panic button issue.
                When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.