Harley's chronic runny stool
Yes, it's me again, complaining about Harley again. It isn't the first time I post about this, but honestly, I cannot figure this one out. Maybe someone has an idea I haven't tried yet.
To sum it up, Harley is my daughter's 16 yr old Arabian gelding who is pretty healthy overall, but tends to have little issues like skin problems and mild coughing (I'm mostly staying on top of that, for now). When we first got him in November of 2015, he had very runny stool for at least two months. I chalked it up to the changes in diet, etc. Spring and summer came and went, and he went on pasture, his stool firmed up and all was well. He really does best in 24/7 turnout in the summertime, but in our climate, that isn't possible year round so he went back on hay in the fall and is now in his stall at night. The bitter cold makes him cough so I shut him in during the coldest part of the day and steam his hay.
The runny stool came back around November and just isn't going away. Or I should say it comes and goes really. He can go days with good, round droppings, then suddenly we're back to the wet stuff. It runs down on his hocks and tail and makes a mess, which is a problem because I can't wash him when it's -20 C. I brush off as much as possible, but I know it's not good for his skin.
His diet: hay and hay cubes. The vet recommended we try second cut hay because he says it will help firm up his stool. After about 3 weeks of feeding him second cut hay (which is really a more grassy type hay), his stool is still runny. Maybe it hasn't been long enough? As for hay cubes, I had bought timothy/alfalfa cubes and decided to switch to timothy alone. I know some horses don't do well on alfalfa. I switched him to timothy alone about 2 weeks ago. Again, maybe I'm not being patient enough, but today, he had particularly messy stool.
Supplements: he was on Cal Trace, but they will no longer ship to Canada, so I worked with an equine nutritionist to basically re-create the Cal Trace formula. She is also my trimmer and I trust her completely. I'd be happy to provide you with the breakdown of all the nutrients if it helps, but basically, they're the same as what was in Cal Trace. Selenium, vitamin E, flax, biotin, zinc, iron, copper, salt, and a few other things. I went through a whole bottle of Probiotic with him and it didn't seem to make any difference whatsoever. He has access to warm water (heated water buckets) 24/7 and drinks about 25-30 liters a day (I know, because I had to haul water to the barn when my pipes froze).
He moves around less than he would in the summer, but we still ride him occasionally. Still, I'd say he is being used very lightly at the moment. Oh, and I had a fecal egg count done from his stool in the fall and it came out clean. I still treated him with a broad spectrum dewormer (my mare had an egg count of 200 so I wasn't going to take chances). He has had a full metabolic workup in the fall as well and everything looked good.
Thoughts from the hive mind?