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At a loss: mare has intermittent diarrhea

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  • At a loss: mare has intermittent diarrhea

    I'm just not sure what's causing it. Her poop is normal for awhile, then maybe a little wetter for 1-2 poops, then she may have a tiny bit of pure liquid after a ride.
    It initially started a couple months ago. We did sand clear (sand test was not obvious and even xray not abnormal) and that aggravated it temporarily. Her fecal was negative and we wormed her.
    She looks great, gorgeous, in good weight. She acts great - perky.
    I do know she's a worrier and she internalizes. Take her on trails and she really gets diarrhea!!
    She also eats anything... She loves eating leaves in turnout. I think we have the poisonous maple leaves, some pine, not sure what else. I'll get the leaves cleaned up.
    Sometimes she has dirt in her nostrils, as if she's out there chewing on dirt!! The soil doesn't seem super sandy.
    (She leaves the hay and pokes around in the leaves!)
    I'll call the vet again. Wanted to put this out there in case folks have any advice.
    Born under a rock and owned by beasts!

  • #2
    Ulcers. Foregut or hindgut, maybe even both.


    • #3
      #1 rule out for horses with diarrhea: PARASITES.
      #2 rule out for horses with diarrhea: PARASITES.
      #3 rule out for horses with diarrhea: PARASITES.

      Some parasites don't show up on fecal egg counts, and some horses are more sensitive than others to just a few parasites hanging around.

      Davistina67 was right also - ulcers can cause diarrhea (not directly, but through a complicated process of increased acidity affecting GI capillary permeability, death and change in type of GI bacteria and endotoxemia), and they'd have to be colonic ulcers (not stomach ulcers) to cause diarrhea.

      Has your horse had any antibiotics or NSAIDs (bute, banamine, firocoxib etc) lately? Any of these drugs can cause intermittent diarrhea after use.

      Other causes include too much grain in the diet, partial obstruction (like from sand - and Sand Clear may not get all of it - the only way to really get rid of sand is to remove the "beach" surgically), bacterial causes (Salmonella, Clostridial species, Neorickettsia - Potomac Horse Fever), inflammatory bowel diseases such as granulomatous enteritis, etc. etc. etc.

      And OMG, if you have red maples in your fields they need to GO and ASAP! Red maple toxicity is nothing to joke about - the dried or wilted leaves are the most toxic, and eating enough can be fatal. Horses typically don't eat them though if there is ANYTHING else to eat. Maybe you could ask if your horse can go out somewhere with more grass? Or try a different type of hay, like alfalfa so she'll eat that instead of dirt and detritus?


      • #4
        I was having some issues recently, we ruled out parasites but my vet did tell me that Panacur power pak is helpful because it is also an anti-inflamatory. If you do need to worm it is a thought.

        She has me treating for sand colic....not a blockage but just sand in the intestine causing irritation. I am also ordering Equishore as recommended for hind gut health.

        Good Luck. It is so frustrating not being able to pin point a cause.


        • #5
          Chat with your vet about trying diarsanyl plus.

          Always have a tube on the shelf. Dog, horse, calf....if someone is a bit off/ NQR and passing wetter stool then usual I give them a dose. We weaned calves a few days before the nasty weather from Sandy made its way into the Great Lakes area. The instant weather change and stress from weaning caused stool to turn to liquid in a snap of the fingers. One click of diarsanyl plus and everyone was back to normal. Still bawling for their mommies....but acting and eating great.

          As for the constantly seeking something to munch on, are you using a slow feed hay net? Might as well put some alfalfa in it if she is a worrier.


          • Original Poster

            Thanks, all!
            Will get those leaves out pronto.
            I'll give the vet another call and work thru the next round. I do suspect ulcers because of her personality, but I would rather try GastroGuard and see if it helps than put her thru fasting and scoping.
            Good to know about the PowerPak. I gave her one tube initially when this cropped up. I must say, she did very well on a daily dewormer, never had any problems. The diarrhea started a few months after I stopped the daily (in favor of fecals etc).
            Born under a rock and owned by beasts!


            • Original Poster

              I need to get a slow net, too. She gets a lot of hay but gobbles it too fast.
              Are the nets safe?? I've heard all sorts of stories about hay nets.
              Born under a rock and owned by beasts!


              • #8
                Small hole mesh nets are very safe when hung properly. I use an Interlocking Spring Snap and take up 4 sections (north, south, east, west) of the draw string into the snap. Then hang the snap at head level. This way, even when all the hay is consumed, it doesn't reach / drag down to knee or hoof level. The large one I linked to is from old Miller Harness (now part of Dover). They are VERY tough!!!
                Last edited by ChocoMare; Nov. 29, 2012, 10:46 AM.
                <>< Sorrow Looks Back. Worry Looks Around. Faith Looks Up! -- Being negative only makes a difficult journey more difficult. You may be given a cactus, but you don't have to sit on it.


                • #9
                  Originally posted by ako View Post
                  I need to get a slow net, too. She gets a lot of hay but gobbles it too fast.
                  Are the nets safe?? I've heard all sorts of stories about hay nets.
                  Use them frequently and never had a issue with the nets harming the horses.

                  I however do have a gelding that gets angry with his net (cuz he can no longer inhale) and tears one up every now and then. He is barefoot and will even strike at the net as best he can. If he was shod I would be worried he would get a shoe heel caught up in the net I think tho.


                  • Original Poster

                    My mare is shod and paws at her hay all day. (More like pulls it under her and eats from there.) I'd hate for her to get a shoe caught.
                    Born under a rock and owned by beasts!


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by ako View Post
                      My mare is shod and paws at her hay all day. (More like pulls it under her and eats from there.) I'd hate for her to get a shoe caught.
                      Hang it high if you decide to use one. High enough she can not strike it.

                      This gelding of mine will grab it with his teeth in a fit of anger. Shake, shake, shake! Strike it, knock it around and more. I have never had a safty issue but as I said he is not shod.

                      His buddy is much more a mellow fellow. His only other behavior other than eat slowly from it is to use it to scratch his backside every now and then.


                      • #12
                        Agree, red maples should go!
                        Other things to try that I have had great luck with for loose manure, Bio-sponge and the probiotic from Plat Performance called Balance. Ranitidine tabs have worked far better than Gatroguard on one horse gastroguard was good on another, so try the less expensive route first! For one old pasture mare that is retired and had some loose manure issues along with some bouts of gas colic the probiotic Opti-Zyme worked wonders for her, can't get much less $$ than that, it is $14.00 for a month supply.


                        • #13
                          My gelding has loose stools when out on group rides.

                          Vita calm seems to have reduced this problem.

                          How do I know.....He is a grey. Pre Vita calm, I'd come home with the nastiest tail and hind legs, I felt sorry for the people riding behind me. Post Vita calm I don't have this problem. YMMV


                          • Original Poster

                            Thanks, all! Will work on it and let you know how it goes.
                            Born under a rock and owned by beasts!


                            • Original Poster

                              Any kind of alfalfa? Maybe soaked cubes? Those might last longer than chops, especially as an extra meal, rather than with grain? Or is there a bigger benefit to giving it with the grain?
                              She's boarded, so I think cubes or something bagged may be easiest.
                              Born under a rock and owned by beasts!


                              • #16
                                Could def be from eating leaves. My gelding scared me a few weeks ago with bad diarrhea for about 24 hrs (but no fever). I am pretty sure he did not get his full serving of morning hay so he was hungry and probably ate a bunch of leaves in his paddock.