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Horse with loose stools

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  • Horse with loose stools

    We recently purchased an 18yo TB gelding. He spent the first week at my trainer's barn and has been with us for 10 days. My trainer was unable to get an answer from his previous owner about what kind or how much grain he was on, so she had me start him on 3/4 of a pound twice a day for two days, then 1 1/2 pounds twice a day for two days, then 2 1/4 pounds twice a day for two days until he is now on 3 pounds twice a day. We have him on Purina Senior because that's what her horse is on (the one she's loaning me as a companion). I just purchased Senior Flex for him from SmartPak, but it hasn't arrived yet.

    I think he was pastured for a good bit of time at his previous barn (but don't know what kind of grass they had) and am not sure how much time he was kept in a stall. I take him out every morning around 7am and bring him in at 8:30pm. He also comes in for about 30 minutes at 8am and again at 6pm for his grain. I also bring them in if it gets over 90 degrees in the afternoon. Otherwise, they are pastured all day.

    I haven't received his medical records yet, so I don't know when he was last wormed or given shots. Hopefully I'll get that information this week.

    Yesterday he started having loose stools. They aren't runny, but they don't really have any defined shape. Any ideas about why he would be loose?

  • #2
    Stress, change in feed, needing deworming, all these can be factors. Also, sandy or bare dirt conditions, sand can cause loose stools when ingested in excess.

    What I do with this:

    Feed a small bucket of SandClear (or similar), recommended amount daily until the bucket is gone...two weeks?

    I have had a couple of horses that stayed on the SandClear for extended periods until the sand has worked itself out of their systems or it just helps with their systems.

    Then, just letting their systems adjust. I have one horse that gets the runs from timothy, but is fine on a mixed grass hay. Pasture time helps too, green grass has lots of good things for their tummies.


    • #3
      After quite a while of my horse having loose stools, probiotics and all, my vet suggested I try Pro-Entera. Reasoning is that if the small intestine is low or devoid of a certain digestive enzyme SACCHAROMYCES BULARDI, the horse will have loose stools whether they are on probiotics or not. So, the ProEntera has that enzyme. It worked wonders with my guy-stools firmed up within a few weeks. Vet also said that some worms only live in the small intestine and unless you use a wormer specific to those worms, they will continue to live. The strongid plus is one such wormer-we treated my horse first with the wormer, which did not help, then the ProEntera, which nailed it.


      • #4
        I had this problem with a mare I got last September. Shipped her from Back East to California. I thought the change of feed might be the problem but after a month on only alfalfa, she still had loose, formless stools that looked more like cow paddies than horse apples. I didn't worm her for that first month because she was thin and I wanted to get her settled before adding any new stress.

        I read that most horses from the eastern U.S. (60%? 80%? I don't remember which) have antibodies which show exposure to tape worms, compared to a very small percentage in the west, maybe 10%. This is due to the availability of fresh grass/pasture in the east, compared to dry lots in the west.

        So I chose a wormer which treats tapeworm and after a week or two her stools firmed up to normal. I was also adding oil over a few cups of senior food to help her gain weight, so I can't say for sure it was the worming which fixed the problem or whether she just finally became accustomed to her new surroundings or food.
        "Random capitAlization really Makes my day." -- AndNirina


        • #5
          Strangely enough, a dose of Ozibendazole turned Rico's normally loose stools into regular looking apples and they never got loose again, so I'm thinking there was a particular parasite that was bothering him. He'd been on a regular 2 way de-worming rotation of Ivermectin / Strongid for 2 years when I decided to go with a 3 way rotation, and after one dose of the Oxibendazole, he never had loose stools again.

          I now do the new protocol of yearly fecals with Moxi/Praz in late winter for encysteds and tapes, and a dose of Ivermectin after first frost for bots, then add whatever is necessary according to fecal count in mid-summer, which is usually almost zero for Rico and very low for Inky,
          Lowly Farm Hand with Delusions of Barn Biddieom.
          Witherun Farm


          • #6
            Originally posted by islandrider View Post
            a certain digestive enzyme SACCHAROMYCES BULARDI, the horse will have loose stools whether they are on probiotics or not.
            Saccharomyces boulardii is a yeast, not an enzyme, and as such is classified as a probiotic. S. boulardii is closely related to Saccharomyces cerevisiae which is brewer's yeast.

            In any case, there's not much evidence many enzymes get past the very low pH of the average equine stomach. They are digested like any other protein. However, there is some evidence yeasts in the Saccharomyces family may improve the symptoms of IBS and diarrhea in some species.


            • #7
              It may simply be a case of more and better pasture than he is used to having.
              Taking it day by day!


              • #8
                Someone once told me that calcium can help with horses that have loose stools. I have no idea if this is true and have never tested it, but thought it was worth mentioning.

                My QH tends to get loose stools when transition from pasture to hay, or hay to pasture. Also when he is lucky enough to be out on really nice pasture. I keep him on SmartDigest and that seems to do the trick.
                come what may

                Rest in peace great mare, 1987-2013


                • #9
                  I had a gelding that had chronic loose stools for about two years! I changed hay many times (which is one reason the stools took so long to clear up, I was taking a long time transitioning to different hay, and wanted to give the new hay ample time for him to become accustomed to it) I also dosed with probiotics, psyllium, powerpac wormer all with very little to no change! This whole time I was working with my vet. No teeth issues, he could chew just fine. I was getting very worried he might have some serious issues with his GI track, but since he held his weight fine the vet wasn't overly concerned about cancer or anything-my boy is starting to get up in his teen years so that's why it came to my mind. As a last stitch effort we pulled him from hay entirely and put him on a pelleted feed only, within a week of no hay he dried right up and has had zero problems since! That was 7 months ago! He can now eat pellets and hay no problem! The vets reason being that maybe his GI needed a reset. I have suggested pellets for another horse with similar problems to my guy ( intermittent loose stools, excessive/juicy gas and aging) it worked for her right away. I would recommend trying pellets after you try a wormer, probiotic, and psyllium with no results


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by HorseKrazy View Post
                    I was getting very worried he might have some serious issues with his GI track, but since he held his weight fine the vet wasn't overly concerned about cancer or anything-my boy is starting to get up in his teen years so that's why it came to my mind. As a last stitch effort we pulled him from hay entirely and put him on a pelleted feed only, within a week of no hay he dried right up and has had zero problems since! That was 7 months ago! He can now eat pellets and hay no problem! The vets reason being that maybe his GI needed a reset.
                    He might have had right dorsal colitis. Pellets and no hay is the treament for that. I have had similar issues with my gelding. He's had loose stools since I got him and none of the typical treatments have done a thing.

                    Now that he's out alone, I've been thinking of trying it although my vet said he'd have to be fed the pellets 4-5 times per day. Don't think I can manage that as I work full time, the horse is boarded 12 miles away from home and 20 miles from work. How did you do it? Is your horse at home? Did he develop any vices such as wood chewing?


                    • #11
                      Mine is at home and I work night so it was fairly easy to feed 3 times a day, but if I were you I'd look into one of those automated feeders, I saw one on my local cl for about $150 and was VERY tempted to buy it. The only weird behaviors I've noticed is he is now eating his poo. I don't know if this is out of boredom or an imbalance. So I started added about a half of a flake in the am and pm. He only does this if he is stalled, I haven't noticed it in the turnout yet- there is a small amount of grass to keep him entertained. We never got a diagnosis, but since he seems back to normal now I am feeling better about him!


                      • #12
                        HorseKrazy, thanks for sharing.


                        • #13
                          Make sure you check his temperature. Potomac Fever can cause diarrhea. There have been recent cases in our area.