Mustang with diarrhea
We have a 2 1/2 yr. old filly, we adopted in Sept.
She has had diarrhea this whole time. We had a vet out and they put her on a program with Safeguard, followed with Ivermectin, followed with Fastrack probiotic granules, and a lesser quality hay. We've been doing that for 3 months and she still has it.
She eats well and has actually gained some weight.
We feed grass hay, oats, and a little beet pulp,(just recently) and have been told she looks like she has a little "hay belly".
Now we are putting her on "Invigor" which is supposed to help with the diarrhea AND hay belly.
Has anyone ever used it, or have any other suggestions?
Well, if she was just recently caught when you adopted her, her system is likely still trying to adjust from her sparse diet in the wild, vs a domestic horse diet. Also, assulting her with massive amounts of dewormers isn't going to help at this point. A regular deworming routine is fine, but with a diet, exercise change, and water source has changed, not to mention just the overall stress she's going through is enough to cause problems. Esp if you consider the BLM pretty much just feeds Alflalfa hay, so that was a shock, now you are feeding your own stuff, another change...
Right now, I'd not worry about a hay belly. As long as she's looking otherwise healthy. Mustangs do tend to have a different look than domestic horses. I had a couple I adopted a few years ago. One was mature, one was a yearling. The yearling looked frumpy for over a year, before he really looked pretty, and he was healthy, it was just his awkward growth that made him look funny. Big head, big belly.
Deworming on a 2-3 month schedule is more than adequate. When the BLM gets them, they work them over pretty good, with shots and worming, and overowrming can cause be harmful. Remember, if she had worms before her system has some immunity to them, and massive die-offs of worms can cause colic on its own.
It's quite possible she has an ulcer from the changes of diet, the chemicals and stress. Just give it time, try not to change anything eles, except to drop the oats from the diet.
I would omit the oats-if she's underweight maybe she needs them, but really, grass hay and beet pulp with a mineral is plenty. Grain should be a supplement to hay if they are struggling to keep weight on with hay alone.Remember, horses are hay burners, and aren't meant to be fat. As long as you can still feel the ribs, but they aren't highly visible, you are in a good weight range. The round, full belly is more comsmetic than anything. It will tighten up with exercise.Feeding her a bunch of grain to make her grow is a bad idea as well. Another point worth mentioning is that the oats translate to sugar to your horses's system-something I doubt she's ever had before and that can take a while for the gut to adjust to-causing diarrhea.
All very good information, but since it's been 4 mos. we thought her system should have adjusted by now. We bought her a 4 yr. old companion mare, who we feed exactly the same, and she has never had a problem.
She has actually been captured for over a year, and we have all her medical records from that time, and her worming was actually right on schedule.
Her weight is good, she looks healthy, and got very hairy for winter, but the diarrhea is nasty.
We just want to make sure we're doing the best for her that we can.
I would still cut back on the worming, maybe do a fecal before you do decide to medicate her again, to make sure she needs it.
The hay belly, still, wouldn't be concerned too much right now.
The diarrhea, hmmm. Well, the probiotics are a good idea. Could it be the water? Maybe there's something in the tap that's irritating her.
I really would just cut back on the grain, and feed her hay, keep up with the beet pulp if you want,make sure the sugar is rinsed well. And let her just relax into routine. No new horses, no more diet changes...and besides basic handling, don't worry too much about training her for a couple of months. If she's not getting dehydrated, and is keeping good weight, then I'd kinda wait and see a little longer, personally.
If you figure out the cause, please keep me posted!
Thanks I will keep you posted.
Just FYI we have well water, so I don't know if that's good or bad.
Just a thought that occured to me.
Do you have goats or chickens that might be around the horses? I ask because they can carry coccidia (my spelling could be off). It's a little bug (protozoa)they can carry, dogs, cats, cattle, ducks, etc are better carries than horses, but if your water was ever contaminated it could very well be that. It's main symptom is nasty diarrhea, somes blood in the stool. If her poo is dark, that could indicate some blood. If she has any other stress factor, her immune could have been weakened enough for her to develop it, when a healthy horse would have no problem with it.Your vet can test for it and give proper meds.
Another similar bug,Trichomonisas, is another protozoa, and according to my handy lil' vet book says it most commonly affect horses 2-3 yrs old, esp after they've been stressed with environment change, feed change or recent illness, esp if anitbiotics have been given that altered gut flora.
Symtoms include persistent diarhea that's greensih, and watery. No blood or mucus present. Abdominal sounds resemble water splashing. This may be the only symtom, but could also inculde fever 104-108 degrees, rapid pulse, sweating, weakness and abdominal pain. Appetite remains normal, but there may be weight loss and dehydrationg, but not always.
The vet will test for the protozoa, and meds will be given, and possibly manure from a healthy horse mixed with water administred via stomach tube (THIS BOOK SAYS THIS< NO LIE!) and most recover within 3-5 days treatment. If not treated, can become a chronic life-long issue with cow-like manure for life.
Anyways, that's what I've found. Wouldn't hurt for a vet to check for either bug, and see. Just food for thought.
Like I said, it's kind of a reach, but worth looking into.
Thank you so much for all your research.
None of the things you mention, being around other animals, contaminated water, antibiotics, blood or dark poo. Vet said abdominal sounds were good, no weight loss, and they have been in the same location since Oct. so they should be used to it by now.
We have a vet coming tomorrow to castrate a bull calf, maybe we can send a fecal sample back with him for analysis.
We'll keep you posted if anything changes.
My mare was like that two years in a row, for just a few months each year. We did tests for parasites and a couple other things and, tried a couple things but still couldn't figure it out. Then it would go away on its own.
My final conclusion was that the new bark mulch that I was putting on the riding ring each spring, was leaching into the soil, which then went into our well, and was affecting her. As soon as the weather improved, i.e. much less rain, the diarhea would go away.
Are you on a well, and is there maybe something leaching into your water that could be affecting her/his tummy?
We do have a well, but it's only 3 yrs old, and it's 95 feet deep, and nothing around it has changed.
We had her at a neighbors stable for the first month we had her, and she had it then too. It's been since Sept.
We just put her on a supplement called "Invigor" that is supposed to help, so we'll see.
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