Harley's loose stool - again... - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 96 Old 01-15-2020, 06:34 PM Thread Starter
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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.

Patient:
Harley is a 20 year old Arab gelding. He lives at home with two other horses. We've had him for 4 years.

Health history:
- 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

Diet:
- 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:
- Probiotics
- Prebiotics
- enzymes
- 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)
- spirulina
- he is dewormed twice a year and every fecal count I have ever done for him showed no infestation

Lifestyle:
- 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?
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post #2 of 96 Old 01-15-2020, 08:05 PM
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Where do you buy your hay from?
Have you ever had it tested nutritionally?


If it seems to happen when he's on hay as a primary diet, that would be my first thing to investigate.


Side note -- alfalfa does seem to be a better buffer for upset tummies .... like runny stools. Have you ever tried an alfalfa mix type hay?

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post #3 of 96 Old 01-15-2020, 08:28 PM
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My 22 year old gets like this when it gets colder and the grass disappears. I put him on Neighlox when I first notice it and it clears him right up every time.
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post #4 of 96 Old 01-15-2020, 08:45 PM
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From what I read elsewhere, it doesn't seem to be that unusual for this to happen once a horse starts eating more hay and less grass.

Ditto have you bad the hay tested? Hind sight being what it is, it would h e been good to have the hay tested every season and compare the mineral contents.

There are always new products coming in the market for various horse health issues. You might try googling again and see what's out there that evens out the digestive tract.

Anything I suggested in the past isn't available in Canada and costs a bloody fortune to ship it over the border.

Oh wait a minute - Google the herb "marshmallow root". You have to buy it in pure form (no additives) and buy it from an herbal company. It's not that expensive.

I bought some for Joker but never used it because it coats the stomach. He just went on Prascend for cushings last November. I am afraid the Prascend might not do its job. It's human grade so I could use it if I needed it.

It may be something that would help. If not, maybe study other herbs to see if there is something out there.

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post #5 of 96 Old 01-15-2020, 08:46 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beau159 View Post
Where do you buy your hay from?
Have you ever had it tested nutritionally?


If it seems to happen when he's on hay as a primary diet, that would be my first thing to investigate.


Side note -- alfalfa does seem to be a better buffer for upset tummies .... like runny stools. Have you ever tried an alfalfa mix type hay?
Yes, I had hay tested from 3 different suppliers over the years. Nothing unusual. Decent hay.

Have tried alfalfa mix hay. No change.
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post #6 of 96 Old 01-15-2020, 08:48 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phantomcolt18 View Post
My 22 year old gets like this when it gets colder and the grass disappears. I put him on Neighlox when I first notice it and it clears him right up every time.
I don't mean to discount your suggestion, but Neighlox is an ulcer treatment and he's been on various different kinds of ulcer treatments, as well as ulcer prevention products. None have made a difference, so we don't believe the problem is ulcers.
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post #7 of 96 Old 01-15-2020, 08:51 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by walkinthewalk View Post
From what I read elsewhere, it doesn't seem to be that unusual for this to happen once a horse starts eating more hay and less grass.

Ditto have you bad the hay tested? Hind sight being what it is, it would h e been good to have the hay tested every season and compare the mineral contents.

There are always new products coming in the market for various horse health issues. You might try googling again and see what's out there that evens out the digestive tract.

Anything I suggested in the past isn't available in Canada and costs a bloody fortune to ship it over the border.

Oh wait a minute - Google the herb "marshmallow root". You have to buy it in pure form (no additives) and buy it from an herbal company. It's not that expensive.

I bought some for Joker but never used it because it coats the stomach. He just went on Prascend for cushings last November. I am afraid the Prascend might not do its job. It's human grade so I could use it if I needed it.

It may be something that would help. If not, maybe study other herbs to see if there is something out there.
Marshmallow root is on the list I posted above of things I've already tried. It may have helped a little, but I was feeding it along with slippery elm bark which I believe does help. Neither solves the problem, but the slippery elm bark by itself does help. I ran out and it is worse than ever. Waiting for another shipment. However, even on the slippery elm bark, he's not cured, just... a little less runny. Still not normal.

And yes, I am in Canada, so some things that will be suggested may not be available here at all.
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post #8 of 96 Old 01-15-2020, 08:53 PM Thread Starter
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Also, to be clear, he got hay all summer long. Same hay as he's getting now. EXACT same. He was fine as long as he had grass. When the grass is gone, the runs begin.

I have tested hay several times from different suppliers and it all comes out about the same nutritionally. Have not had my pasture analyzed. Now THAT would be a useful piece of information!
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post #9 of 96 Old 01-15-2020, 08:56 PM
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If you wanted to get something that was only available in the US and have it shipped to me, I could ship it to you. You can PM me if you want.
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post #10 of 96 Old 01-15-2020, 09:02 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ACinATX View Post
If you wanted to get something that was only available in the US and have it shipped to me, I could ship it to you. You can PM me if you want.
Thanks, I really appreciate it. I don't mind folks suggesting things to me - if I can't get it here, I may still be able to replicate the formula or find something similar. It's sweet of you to offer, but this situation is ongoing so it's likely I'm going to have to find a solution I can use every winter.
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