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At wit's end: older horse, rapid weight loss, chronic diarrhea

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  • At wit's end: older horse, rapid weight loss, chronic diarrhea

    Title pretty much says it all. One of my oldies, my 25-year old Appaloosa, had very sudden weight loss about 2 1/2 weeks ago. He currently looks like one of the CL horses we rescue here. Along with this, he has chronic diarrhea -- all the time. There is no consistency to it at all, it's mostly just water. He also has a ton of watery gut sounds, mostly right after eating or drinking.

    The vet ran blood work and did a fecal exam. The blood work came back normal except for "a little anemic" and low protein levels. Vet put him on antibiotics (Uniprim) for 7 days. No change.

    Fecal exam showed no worms, but vet wanted to do a PowerPack in case of encysted strongyles. We are now on Day 3 of the PowerPack, but there is still no change. There is no slowdown of the diarrhea, there are no dead worms in the stool, nothing.

    The next step is a ten-day course of ulcer medication, but frankly, I don't think that's going to help either. However, we will do it.

    Scrappy eats Equine Senior (as do two of my other horses, and they are fine, so I don't think that's it). He is eating plenty of grass. He's getting electrolytes daily, along with FatCat to up his protein levels (it also has probiotics in it), and an iron supplement.

    ANY advice on what to try next, what we can do to get the diarrhea under control, etc. would be greatly appreciated. It is breaking my heart that we can't get this stopped. There are so many supplements out there, I don't know what to try. If there are other tests we should run, or something else to look for in the blood work, I want to hear about that, too. Thank you in advance.

  • #2
    Did the vet do a liver panel? My guy has chronic issues, and when they spike the weight disappears. That is another place to look. Good luck!
    Don't wrassle with a hog. You just get dirty, and the hog likes it.

    Collecting Thoroughbreds - tales of a re-rider and some TBs

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    • #3
      Have you tried biosponge? My oldie had a bought of diarrhea after 20 years of never having it. Vet checked everything out, he was never off his food and wasn't spiking a fever. She recommended biosponge (through platinum performance) and it worked like a charm. I lost him a year later at 30, but was unrelated (kidney failure).

      Since then, I've always kept a tub of biosponge around, just in case.
      Ulysses- the most perfect all-terrain vehicle ever. Hencho en Mexico

      Mr. Walter Bumblepants - Foster Dog Extraordinaire

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      • Original Poster

        #4
        I don't think he did; I will call him after lunch and make sure. Thank you!

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        • Original Poster

          #5
          No. I keep hearing about it, though; what exactly is it?

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          • #6
            Daily metamucil sometimes works wonders on diarrhea. I know my friend put her 27+ year old on 3 tablespoons daily when his horse had the worst diarrhea ever. Worked like a charm and never took him off.
            Kristen

            Kiwayu & Figiso Pictures:
            http://community.webshots.com/user/kiwayu

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            • #7
              It provides intestinal support. When i used it, his diarrhea cleared up completely and he was back to normal stool within about 24-36 hours.

              http://www.platinumperformance.com/E...ctinfo/EBIOP4/

              Check with your vet before administering it though. It's a nice tool to have I'm your horsey toolbox, but if he has something else going on...you'll want your vet on board with whatever treatment you go forward with.
              Ulysses- the most perfect all-terrain vehicle ever. Hencho en Mexico

              Mr. Walter Bumblepants - Foster Dog Extraordinaire

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              • #8
                I think I would pull him off grass and put him on hay for awhile just in case there's something funky going on that way. (In addition to all your other efforts) Good luck!
                Kerri

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                • Original Poster

                  #9
                  I actually tried that this weekend, thinking something might be off in the grass that he didn't like, but he refused to eat the hay and I was afraid to let him be w/o roughage for too long.

                  Comment

                  • Original Poster

                    #10
                    Originally posted by UlysMom View Post
                    It provides intestinal support. When i used it, his diarrhea cleared up completely and he was back to normal stool within about 24-36 hours.

                    http://www.platinumperformance.com/E...ctinfo/EBIOP4/

                    Check with your vet before administering it though. It's a nice tool to have I'm your horsey toolbox, but if he has something else going on...you'll want your vet on board with whatever treatment you go forward with.
                    Thank you! I will definitely talk to him about this.

                    Comment

                    • Original Poster

                      #11
                      Originally posted by Kiwayu View Post
                      Daily metamucil sometimes works wonders on diarrhea. I know my friend put her 27+ year old on 3 tablespoons daily when his horse had the worst diarrhea ever. Worked like a charm and never took him off.
                      Now that I can try immediately -- I will get some and see if it works. Surely it won't hurt him, will it?

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Alex and Bodie's Mom View Post
                        I actually tried that this weekend, thinking something might be off in the grass that he didn't like, but he refused to eat the hay and I was afraid to let him be w/o roughage for too long.
                        Can you find some nice soft alfalfa bales to mix in with his regular hay? Is he on the same pasture he's been on all winter? Where do you live? Is he drinking from a creek?
                        Kerri

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                        • Original Poster

                          #13
                          Originally posted by kasjordan View Post
                          Can you find some nice soft alfalfa bales to mix in with his regular hay? Is he on the same pasture he's been on all winter? Where do you live? Is he drinking from a creek?
                          He normally lives in a 40-acre pasture with five other horses (3 of whom are over 20); they come up to get grain in the morning and at night. It's the same pasture he's been on since I got him at 18 months of age. I live in SC Kansas. There is a creek and a pond, but I also offer fresh water in a stock tank that gets dumped/cleaned regularly. There have been no environmental changes that I'm aware of in the past few weeks that could be sparking this.
                          Last edited by Alex and Bodie's Mom; Jun. 3, 2013, 01:34 PM. Reason: Added something!

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                          • #14
                            We had the same issue with a boarder horse, we are currently treating him with Red Cell & Succeed and the diarhea is gone. We had teeth done, blood panel, powerpacked him and changed his grain (was on TCS) to a complete feed and allow him access to as much grass as we can. He looks awesome now. It was getting very frustrating for a while... His energy is up and his weight is great, coat blooming...

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Are you in a sandy area? Sand can cause it..........?
                              Kerri

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                              • #16
                                We went through something very similar with a mid-20's WB gelding this winter. The weight melted off him, he had constant diarrhea, and had a wonderful appetite for grain (4 daily meals of 3+lbs each just to try to keep weight on), but wouldn't/couldn't eat hay unless he was on Previcox; in his case, he was hungry enough to try to eat it, but would just quid and spit it back out. His teeth checked out fine. Being in MN in the middle of winter, trying him on grass was not possible, and would not have been the best idea anyway considering he had equine metabolic syndrome.
                                Our vet thought the most probable cause in his case was colitis. We took him off the Previcox and put him on a course of steroids and he initially improved; however, when we started tapering the steroids down he crashed again and we were ultimately unable to keep him comfortable enough to eat hay even with Previcox on board. We euthanized him in January. I hope you're able to successfully resolve your horse's problem.

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                                • Original Poster

                                  #17
                                  Originally posted by Dad Said Not To View Post
                                  We went through something very similar with a mid-20's WB gelding this winter. The weight melted off him, he had constant diarrhea, and had a wonderful appetite for grain (4 daily meals of 3+lbs each just to try to keep weight on), but wouldn't/couldn't eat hay unless he was on Previcox; in his case, he was hungry enough to try to eat it, but would just quid and spit it back out. His teeth checked out fine. Being in MN in the middle of winter, trying him on grass was not possible, and would not have been the best idea anyway considering he had equine metabolic syndrome.
                                  Our vet thought the most probable cause in his case was colitis. We took him off the Previcox and put him on a course of steroids and he initially improved; however, when we started tapering the steroids down he crashed again and we were ultimately unable to keep him comfortable enough to eat hay even with Previcox on board. We euthanized him in January. I hope you're able to successfully resolve your horse's problem.
                                  Thanks for your reply. and I'm so sorry you had to put him down. I am also wondering about colitis or some kind of irritable bowel syndrome; if the ulcer meds don't help and we can't get the diarrhea under control in the next week, that will be the direction I want my vet to start heading.

                                  Comment

                                  • Original Poster

                                    #18
                                    Originally posted by kasjordan View Post
                                    Are you in a sandy area? Sand can cause it..........?
                                    Not really, no -- the closest truly sandy area to us is about fifteen miles away. I wondered that too, but all we have is good old dark dirt. Not even red clay (thank God).

                                    Comment

                                    • Original Poster

                                      #19
                                      Originally posted by SunkenMeadow View Post
                                      We had the same issue with a boarder horse, we are currently treating him with Red Cell & Succeed and the diarhea is gone. We had teeth done, blood panel, powerpacked him and changed his grain (was on TCS) to a complete feed and allow him access to as much grass as we can. He looks awesome now. It was getting very frustrating for a while... His energy is up and his weight is great, coat blooming...
                                      See, I was thinking about trying him on Triple Crown Senior (closest place to get it is an hour away, but that's okay); what did you switch him to? Vet checked his teeth and said they are definitely not the problem, and he doesn't really have trouble eating, so I don't think there's anything like an abscess or broken tooth issue, either.

                                      Comment

                                      • Original Poster

                                        #20
                                        Originally posted by kasjordan View Post
                                        Can you find some nice soft alfalfa bales to mix in with his regular hay? Is he on the same pasture he's been on all winter? Where do you live? Is he drinking from a creek?
                                        I'll have to wait until first cutting (another week or two, depending on the rain) before I'll be able to get any alfalfa for him. I've seen alfalfa cause diarrhea in cattle and horses, though, so I'm not sure how he'd react to it.

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