Do you know what causes diarrhea in horses?


As with many animals, what comes out of your horse is just as important as what goes in. One of the first signs of ill health is diarrhea in horses. An increase in frequency, volume, or fluid content of a horse’s manure is evidence of something wrong inside. Two types of diarrhea can occur, chronic and acute. Acute diarrhea is very severe and should be treated as a medical emergency. Diarrhea that lasts longer than two weeks is considered chronic. Both types of diarrhea can have a variety of causes; fortunately, there’s also a range of treatments.

What causes chronic diarrhea in horses?

Chronic diarrhea is characterized by the length of time it lasts and is potentially accompanied by weight loss, rough coat, dull eyes and general lethargy. Your horse feels lousy, and it shows. Chronic diarrhea may not be non-stop symptoms in the stool but show up frequently over a period of days to weeks. Keeping an eye on your horse’s output is important! Chronic diarrhea can be caused by parasites, excessive sand, a minor salmonella infection, neoplasia or an inflammatory bowel disease amongst other thing things. Fortunately, it’s typically manageable with preventative treatments and help from your vet.

Vet will take samples to find "bugs" causing diarrhea

Vet will take samples and locate what causes diarrhea

Treat diarrhea in horses immediately- seek advise

Acute diarrhea in horses comes on suddenly and strongly. Your horse will likely spike a fever, have loud gut sounds, have abdominal pain that manifests similarly to colic, and will be very lethargic and weak. They may also have fluid accumulation in their lower limbs and underneath the abdomen. Dehydration is a severe risk of acute diarrhea and must be treated as soon as possible. A horse with acute diarrhea can potentially lose as much as forty liters (ten gallons) of water and salt per day, which can lead to serious problems such as electrolyte imbalances, kidney failure and possibly the death of your beloved partner. Acute diarrhea can be caused by several different types of infections, viruses or having eaten toxins. Too many antibiotics or NSAIDs can also lead to severe digestive problems.

Finding out what doesnt belong in a horses stomach

Finding the cause of your horse’s illness is a job for your favorite veterinarian. Since their patient can’t talk, your vet will likely do a thorough physical of your horse, treat any dehydration and secondary symptoms, and then take blood samples and fecal samples. From there, they will likely test for infections, infestations, toxins, or other fun visitors that just don’t belong in your horse’s digestive system. If your horse has been having chronic diarrhea, likely your veterinarian will end up doing an abdominal ultrasound or even and biopsy.

Treatment for diarrhea in horses

Specific treatment for your horse’s diarrhea is of course dependant on what your horse has. However, treatment will typically start with electrolyte therapy and rehydrating your horse. From there you could end up going to deworming, antibiotics or other medications. Prebiotics and probiotics can also help your horse feel better and be better able to battle their illness. They should have clean, unending access to water, and lots of hay.

Promote a healthy gut and restore good flora to the the horses stomach

Promote a healthy gut and restore good flora to the horses stomach




About Author

Betsy OReilly, Managing Editor of Blog Abler dedicated to Equine Ulcers. Born and bred in country Victoria, Australia, is a lifelong horse owner who has dabbled in Pony Club and Horse Racing. Enjoys hearing and writing about Equine Ulcers.

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