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Any ideas for chronic diarrhea?

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    Any ideas for chronic diarrhea?

    A (long distance) client of mine in southern California has a pony mare that is suffering from chronic diarrhea, and they are at their wits end trying to solve the problem. I've suggested everything I can think of, and they've tried it all. The pony is under the care of a vet and a really fantastic trainer, who is very much on top of things. I just thought I'd throw this out for COTH, in case anyone has some ideas we haven't thought of.

    To be perfectly clear, I have not met the pony and it is not mine.

    The owners purchased her in April, from the east coast, and had her shipped to California. She arrived with diarrhea and they've not been able to find anything that totally works. Apparently she colicked very badly 3 years ago -- and I'm not certain if it involved colic surgery (it may have). The story is that the barn she was in had a failure of her automatic waterer, and nobody noticed until she was quite bad off. I have no idea if that has ANY relevance.

    It is unknown if she suffered from this before they purchased her. From what I understand, she was just out on pasture with the previous owner.

    She's had a fecal, which was fine.
    She's been wormed regularly, including a power pac.
    She's getting daily probiotics.
    She's been treated for ulcers.

    They recently switched her from hay to "chaff" -- and I am not entirely sure what that is, as it is not available in my area. At first she seemed to improve, but with a new batch, is just as bad as ever.

    Ideas, anyone??
    Family Partners Welsh Ponies - Home of Section B Welsh stallion *Wedderlie Mardi Gras LOM/AOE
    Click here to buy: A Guide To In Hand Showing of Your Welsh Pony

    I'd remove anything from her diet (especially grain if she gets any) except good grass hay (preferrably free choice). If she does not improve, I would try several different hay varieties - consider pasture for a while if you can.

    I would also treat her with either activated charcoal or Platinum Biosponge and would continue the probiotics, but only after waiting for a bout a week and then introduce them again, in case they are contributing to it also.

    Start from the bottom up, wait a bit to see if she stabilizes and then add one thing at a time.


      I would try her on Biosponge. It is made by platinum performance. I had bought some for when my colt was born because I heard the horror stories of foal diarhea. He never got it, so I still have them!


        We had an old pony who had awful diarrhea. His best diet was Equine Senior, soaked in hot water till soupy mush, and Dengi. Once we started soaking the Senior, his manure dried right up.
        Proud and achy member of the Eventing Grannies clique.


          Definitely get her onto plain grass, and then work forward to see what is causing it. My bet is on oats. My boy can NOT eat oat hay. PERIOD. Phenominal diarrhea. He can eat any grain that is light on oats though, appearantly there is a tipping point with him, when a certain amount is too much.


            pepto bismal. works like a charm yeah go ahead and yell at me but it does work.
            Proud Mama of a BOY rider


              Diarrhea means that feed is moving too quickly through the digestive system. Causes are varied: ingested sand or dirt or something else causing irritation, poor dentition causes horse to ingest feed fibers that are too big, etc.

              Check teeth with dentist, run psyllium (Sand Clear, etc) through the horse, bump the probiotics way up (I give 2 large scoops probios 2x/day at times), and consider taking the horse off all feeds except for grass hay pellets soaked with water. Remove fat sources such as rice bran, which can cause the runs.

              I also have a great herbal article called "First Aid for Foal Scours." I've used it in horses with chronic persistent diarrhea (one very bad off after colic surgery) and it works very well. I'd be happy to fax it to you if you want to give me your fax #. Good luck, Katie


                I had a gleding that had chronic diarrhea and he was diagnosed with Inflammatory Bowel disease. During flare ups we used Biosponge 1/2 pound 2x daily mixed with his senior feed and water. He was also put on metronidazole and Biosponge by the vet in the beginning and eventually he was prescribed prednisone and Biosponge. Unfortunatly we had to put him down in August after a seriously bad flare up. I have to say diarrhea scares me.


                  High sugar can cause diarrhea.......I would look for some low sugar hay 10% or less.



                    Equishure by KER.. the only thing that controlled my gelding's problem.


                      See of they can have a vet check the horse for inflammatory bowel disease (like another poster mentioned). It is like the human "Chrone's (sp?) disease" only the equine version. This sounds like it is very similar to the symptoms you would see for that disease. Hope the pony is ok!


                        Have them test for Clostridium (c. difficle) if they have not already.

                        Relatively easily treated with Metrinidazole, also known as Flagyll.

                        Just a note, if she does have an IBD, she will be more susceptible to secondary infection (like c. diff.) In humans low sugar, low fiber is better for IBD but not sure what the dietary protocol for equines with IBD would be.
                        We couldn't all be cowboys, so some of us are clowns.


                          My gelding was on a diet of TC senior 3x day, probiotic and multivitamin in addition to his meds. My vet also wanted him on either alfalfa hay or hay cubes because he was hypoproteimic- protein was leaching through his bowel walls causing lethargy, muscle wasting. Not only are they susceptible to C. difficile but also laminitis. During flare ups his manure had a foul odor.

                          He was also extremely thirsty during flare ups - to the point where the auto waterer did not fill up fast enough for him so we also put out a stock tank. During these times we kept paste electrolytes handy.

                          To help diagnose him my vet did a rectal exam and was able to tell that the bowel wall felt thickened. She also did an ultrasound and was able to measure his bowel walls and see the infiltration. His bloodwork came back with very low protein and high white blood cell count. She did not biopsy him for lymphosarcoma because he showed almost immediate improvement on the prednisone. The only thing is as time went on we had to gradually increase his dosage which also creates a laminitis risk. He was symptom free for about 6 months prior to his bad flare up in July and was doing well (he lived with this for about 1.5 yrs.) In August when he was not improving and he stopped eating (he was not on metronidazole at this time) we decided it was more humane to put him down.

                          Best of luck and jingles for the pony.



                            My vet told me to give my old gelding SandClear for the runs. It is essentially psyllium fiber and it firms up the poop. It works very well for us.