Harley's loose stool - again...
I've posted this before, but after seeing countless vets including two from the nearest veterinary college in the next province over, and another equine vet (the only one in our province I think and came highly recommended), we still do not have an answer. So I am turning once again to this forum in the very slim hopes that maybe someone somewhere has an idea we haven't thought of yet. Warning, this is long.
Harley is a 20 year old Arab gelding. He lives at home with two other horses. We've had him for 4 years.
- Respiratory issues for the first year. Those have been treated and with good management, they are completely gone.
- arthritis in hocks being treated with Previcox since July 2019. Hocks are fused (as per xrays) so he is still functional and cleared for riding (in fact the vet encourages it to keep him moving as much as possible)
- skin issues such as scratches are an annual occurrence, usually starting late summer and continuing into winter. We finally have it under control again
- loose stool: this is the bane of my existence. It starts in the fall as the grass dies down. We first noticed it this year in October. It continues until he is back on grass in the spring, so around May. Has been like this the last three years (the only year we didn't have it was the year he had respiratory issues). Runny to the point where it runs down his legs, coats everything in dark, liquid stool which freezes on his legs and tail.
- his metabolic profile was done twice (including recently) and everything looks great so no IR or Cushing's
- equine vet did bloodwork to test organ function and everything is fine. He should be in great health
- negative for Potomac Horse fever
- several small feedings of hay throughout the day (4-6), in haynets at night or if I will be out for a few hours to stretch it as far as possible. Free choice is not an option - he had to go on a diet last winter because he got too fat.
- in the summer he is on pasture but still gets a bit of hay since we don't have that much pasture
- timothy hay cubes + beet pulp (molasses free) soaked
- 1 tbsp table salt
- Mad Barn's Amino Trace + supplement (contains yea sacc and probiotics among other things)
- winter only: flax seed (and yes, I tried removing it - no change with the loose stool)
- added recently to help with joints: turmeric, camelina oil and freshly ground black pepper - he had loose stool before I fed him this so again, not related
What we have tried:
- Omega Alpha's Biotic 8 in as high a dose as we could give him as per an OA rep
- different hay suppliers, different cuts (early, late, grass hay)
- taking all the supplements out for a few days
- treating him for ulcers for 3 months last winter (no change)
- Omega Alpha's Gastra FX
- slippery elm bark (does help somewhat)
- marshmallow root (maybe helps a little)
- he is dewormed twice a year and every fecal count I have ever done for him showed no infestation
- 24/7 turnout except in the worst of storms, with access to stalls, heated water buckets in winter
- on timothy pasture in summer using rotational grazing
- ridden year round, but works a bit harder in summer since he still shows with my daughter
I'm probably forgetting something here so feel free to ask questions. Anything else we can test for? Short of growing grass for him in my basement, any other ideas?