I didn't want to be too descriptive in the title, so if you're eating, you might want to read this later.
Zee is 21 years old, out of work for the last 5, and purchased by me a month ago. I've been riding him for two months, and have seen a liquid discharge prior to pooping soft, but formed manure, not what I would consider diahrea. Sorry, there's no nice way to explain it! He actually has the runs down the back of his legs and a messy hiney when this happens. The previous owner kept incredible notes, and I see that she has "diahrea" noted since July. He had been on Previcox for his arthritis, and I think she thought that what was causing it. He has been off the Previcox for about 6 weeks. We also switched his feed and supplements a month ago, when I bought him. He had been on Triple Crown Low Startch, and we put him on Purina Senior. He only got handfuls at a time to gradually change him over, so it wasn't a sudden switch that started a problem.
So, even with all the changes, the watery poopie discharge is still happening. It actually leaves a little puddle behind him when he's on the cross ties. Last night, this happened 3 times while I was grooming before he finally passed a load of softish manure. We're all kinda stumped. I've heard allergies, ulcers, too much dirt/sand in his belly (our pastures are very overgrazed), or just not digesting something well enough. I would contributue it to being back in work and changing his diet, but this was happening before I got him. He's been on Probios for a month too, when I put him on new supplements, along with SmartProtect and SmartEnergy (both are vitamin supplements, including Selenium A, E, C, and various Bs).
I'm waiting to hear back from the vet, but has anyone else seen this before? Some may say it's just age, but there has to be something I can do to help him out a little bit. I feel so bad for him. He's girthier on the days when I see more discharge, so he's obviously uncomfortable. He also has good days when I don't see this at all for 2-3 days at a time. Could it be richer hay with more alfalfa in it? With a barn of 40 horses and huge hay deliveries, I'm sure his hay varies slightly from day to day and bale to bale.
Zimpatico, it sounds as if you've done a marvelous job with this boy in trying to keep him happy and healthy.
The watery poo sounds to me that he might be getting something too rich for his system. It may be the hay, especially if it's an alfalfa mix.
It's not likely happening because he's older, although an older horse's digestive tract isn't as efficient as it once was.
I have a 24 y/o gelding who is fat and happy, and doesn't have watery feces. His are just as firm as the two younger horses'.
Glad you're having the vet come. Sometimes even under the best of care, an animal will have something that only a vet can figure out.
Good luck, and please let us know what the vet says.
Well, the vet just got back to me. "This is not an uncommon problem in geriatrics. It usually is related to hind-gut deficiencies. The first thing I would try is Succeed. But a lot of the time nothing seems to resolve it completely. As long as the TP component of his bloodwork is normal (it was) I don't worry."
My older QH (he's 26) went through this. He had "the runs" for 2 years. We tried the equine senior for a long part of it. We gave him hay stretchers which helps. I'm curious about your guys teeth. Is he eating hay easily or kind of chewing it into a cud? I give my guy alfalfa cubes because he can't eat the hay. I also switched him to the triple crown senior brand of feed which he seems to do better with. I give him sand clear once a month as well.
I think with these older guys it's just kind of a play around and see type of game. My guy has pretty solid poop right now but it does get runny a few times a year....
One more suggestion... With the overgrazing of the pasture you are right that you could be looking at sand in the belly. Take a few of his poop balls and put them in a cup or a bucket. Add a bit of water and let it sit for a half hour or so then dump out the water slowly and see if there is dirt on the bottom of the bucket. If there is, you will want to do sandclear once a month. (you feed it 7 days each month).
He just had his teeth done last month (sharp, but very healthy), complete senior blood work about two weeks ago, and has been totally healthy otherwise. He doesn't have problems chewing, but loves to dunk his hay in water, making it kinda clumpy. I was also thinking of something to clear any sand / dirt, and giving the Purina Senior another month or so before trying something else. I know everyone loves Purina, but I just don't like the idea of feeding something without clear ingredients.
I was a big fan of purina. Used it for YEARS, I was having this exact problem a few years ago and one of our members, Peggysue gave me a ton of advice. The triple Crowne Senior was one of her suggestions. I've been pretty happy with it. My other senior horse (who lived into his 30's) never did have any feed issues. I just switched him because I had Pistol on the TC.
Usually when they dunk their hay it's becuase they have some sort of teeth issue but he may just like his hay soaked. Pistol dunks his hay. His water buckets are always nasty because of it. I usually go ahead and hose his hay for him....but he still dunks it.
Yeah, I think the hay dunking thing is for fun, apparently, he's done it forever! His water bucket is always empty and always nasty! I clean and fill it twice every time I'm there, and the stablehands fill it every time they walk by! They're getting a nice Christmas present this year...
So, I think I'm going to try the Succeed paste for a month since his smartpak supplements are ready to ship tomorrow and I can't change it. Next month, I'll add the powder to his regular supplements. I'm also going to do the sand check tonight. Will a monthly dose of Sand Clear hurt if they don't have an abundance of sand?
Also, I'm assuming I can cancel the Probios if I'm putting him on Succeed. Doesn't that have pre and probiotics in it?
My boys get it in their feed once a week. The Arabians get 1 oz. each and the TB gets 2 oz.
It's just psyllium fiber, so no, it won't hurt them even if they don't have sand in their gut.
Thanks SpeedRacer. I'll definately give the Metamucil a try. I'm not in an area that's a serious risk for sand colic, so I'm not as overly concered about spending $$ on the Sand Clear.
Also just wanted to share what my life has come to. I've spent all morning at work googling "horse squirts" and "horse liquid discharge manure." Thank god nobody is in the office today...
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