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Chronic Diarrhea... Ulcers?

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My 26 year old Racking Horse gelding has had chronic diarrhea for at least a few years now. I've posted multiple threads about it before, and have gotten many great suggestions and ideas. But nothing, nothing works.
When we bought him, he did not have this problem. It appeared a few months after we brought him home.
His old diet was a mix of oats and alfalfa pellets. Knowing he was 25, (at the time) we switched him to a Bluebonnet feed. He did great on it, gaining even more muscle, and his coat, hair, and hooves improved. He was on it for a while before this started.

We've had multiple tests done, and everything comes back normal. And get this- vet said his manure was the most normal and healthy manure he's ever tested.
Now, with winter hitting, he's losing weight. Sometimes it gets better, but then goes right back to normal. His manure is semi-normal, but it's soft. The real problem is the liquid that literally runs down his rear legs. It's messy, uncomfortable, and just looks horrible. I always clean him up, just to find one hour later he's back to messy.

His current diet is Bluebonnet Omega Force mixed with one scoop of oats (oats seem to help just a bit) twice a day, soaked. He also gets a large pile of hay twice a day, as it's winter and the grass has gone dormant. He's on pasture 24/7, along with two other geldings. Whether it's spring, summer, or winter it never gets better. No grain, grain. Different hay, different this. Changing him back to his old diet improved nothing. Nothing makes a difference unless it makes it worse- a few things I've found that will do that are alfalfa and senior grain.
His teeth are routinely taken care of, so it's not that.

So here's my question. The one thing I have not tried is treating him for ulcers. I know almost nothing about them... So could that be a possibility? If so, how do I treat him and keep him from having them? Can I just get a supplement?

Thanks ahead if time and sorry for the long post.
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So….I’ve probably said this before and I know I sound like a broken record, but it’s probably not actually diarrhea but Chronic Fecal Water Syndrome. There is no known cause and no known cure.
The liquid running down the back legs is the “tell”.

Skip has had it for maybe six years and I have literally spent thousands of dollars trying to clear it up. He has been clear for about two months now on forage only diet and a good probiotic. I took him off everything else and that seems to be working for now. I can tell when he’s eaten something he shouldn’t in the pasture though because he’ll have an incident or two.
Nothing like he’s had in the past though.

There’s a FB page for Horses with Fecal Water Syndrome that has a multitude of suggestions to try.

My vet said he’s not sick so just let it go and don’t worry about it, but I’m part of a performance team and we do personal appearances. Skip is a paint with a white butt…for aesthetic purposes, I can’t just let it go.

You can also order a product called Shiney Hiney (not the one on Amazon, the one from KBR international - I think that’s the name of the company). It is expensive but really does help with the clean up and helping the “stuff” slide off the legs.

ETA: Skip has never had ulcers, so I don’t know if that would contribute or not.

I feel for you, it is more than frustrating to deal with.

Edited again to say: Skip absolutely cannot have anything with sugar or molasses in it….he’ll react immediately to it and alfalfa made him a lot worse as well.


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Someone I know had a horse who had that, I suggested Bio Ez Optimizer since it helps with diarrhea, (and ulcers) and it completely stopped.. but if the vet isn’t worried about it then i wouldn’t stress about it, unless you’re sick and tired of cleaning him up.

My mare had it 6 years ago, I really don’t remember what I did but it ended up going away, but keeping her clean was sooo annoying, I just used a dry shampoo (you can just spray it on) and either wipe or brush off, that’s the only thing that worked for me.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
So….I’ve probably said this before and I know I sound like a broken record, but it’s probably not actually diarrhea but Chronic Fecal Water Syndrome. There is no known cause and no known cure.
The liquid running down the back legs is the “tell”.

Skip has had it for maybe six years and I have literally spent thousands of dollars trying to clear it up. He has been clear for about two months now on forage only diet and a good probiotic. I took him off everything else and that seems to be working for now. I can tell when he’s eaten something he shouldn’t in the pasture though because he’ll have an incident or two.
Nothing like he’s had in the past though.

There’s a FB page for Horses with Fecal Water Syndrome that has a multitude of suggestions to try.

My vet said he’s not sick so just let it go and don’t worry about it, but I’m part of a performance team and we do personal appearances. Skip is a paint with a white butt…for aesthetic purposes, I can’t just let it go.

You can also order a product called Shiney Hiney (not the one on Amazon, the one from KBR international - I think that’s the name of the company). It is expensive but really does help with the clean up and helping the “stuff” slide off the legs.

ETA: Skip has never had ulcers, so I don’t know if that would contribute or not.

I feel for you, it is more than frustrating to deal with.

Edited again to say: Skip absolutely cannot have anything with sugar or molasses in it….he’ll react immediately to it and alfalfa made him a lot worse as well.


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No, you don't at all! Thank you for the reply.
My guy is also a paint with a white rear. Or at least it's supposed to be white. 😐 So I can relate.
I've done research about FWS but like you, didn't find much, as there's not much known about it.
Maybe it will just clear up on it's own eventually.

@baysfordays, thank you! I'll have to try the dry shampoo. It's hard to believe it will take all that off!
 

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No, you don't at all! Thank you for the reply.
My guy is also a paint with a white rear. Or at least it's supposed to be white. 😐 So I can relate.
I've done research about FWS but like you, didn't find much, as there's not much known about it.
Maybe it will just clear up on it's own eventually.

@baysfordays, thank you! I'll have to try the dry shampoo. It's hard to believe it will take all that off!
I just used a tonnn and either curried or brushed, and my dry shampoo was also a stain remover one, I never fully got it off because my mare had white legs all the way up to her bum, but it helped
 

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Yes, the diarrhea can come from ulcers...it is part of the pain response and trigger some can get.
However, it can come from many things and unless it is lasting for weeks on end may not be FWS but a bacterial infection, allergic reaction to food that horse is having and indeed a teller of certain diseases unseen and unknown till this has occurred.
If it hasn't corrected itself within 7 - 10 days you need a vet.
If you've done the reading you know all this....

To rule out bacterial or infection you need the vet and their ability to do some testing and a bit of guidance.
Based on some of those diagnostics will head you in the right direction for not only control of but to stop this before it becomes life-threatening left untreated.
Please, internet is great for suggestions, but if this is truly nasty and lasting...call the vet.
Your horse needs to see their doctor same as you would when truly sick.
🐴....
 

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Owning the same mare for 10 years with FWS that she has had since I bought at age 3.5. It is a symptom with many possible causes. Years of being with my mare I have identified for her, high sugar feed/grass as the culprit. She does best on 1st cut grass hay, no grain, no green grass. Her symptoms are worse, usually in the Fall if she is on growing pasture that has high sugar content. Spring grass doesn't seem to bother her.

If she is really regulated about her feed, she will still get FWS if she is stressed, mostly by too much stall time in the winter or a change in pasture mates or pasture location.

I have also been told that she is healthy otherwise and to just keep her clean when she has a bout of this very frustrating symptom. It doe not affect her performance or attitude.
 

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I'm in full agreement with TXshecat0423. Fecal Water Syndrome. The symptoms you describe are the exact symptoms Txshecat0423 and I have experienced with our horses. After having several vets examine my Chance, I took him to what I consider the best horse vet in my area. After examination, he recommended SmartGut by SmartPak and an increase in his fiber intake. He said it would take a month after I started giving Chance SmartGut before he the situation was solved. I began feeding Chance, the picky eater, the best Broome hay I can find and the daily dose of SmartGut. After two weeks I noticed a decrease in the amount of water I saw. And 28 days after starting him on SmartGut, Chance was dry. He is now close to 60 days since he's been dry. Based on my observation in Chance's case, I'd say a higher intake of fiber is crucial (at least in Chance's case).
 

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I have never tried it myself, but quite a few people in my area rave about GutX.

I use a CEP product for Red for his respiratory system with great success. They do make one geared for the gut.

Silver Lining Herbs is also very well known and respected. They make products for the gut.

So not sure if a supplement is what you are wanting but tomorrow is Black Friday and it'd be great savings to try something!
 

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@charrorider, thank you! May I ask you how much it costs you for the SmartGut per month? I think I'll try that and see how it works.
It isn't cheap. A 28 day supply, including shipping, costs $67. You can sign up for automatic shipping with 20% savings, which will bring the cost down to $55. I didn't sign for the automatic shipping because at some point, soon, I will try putting Chance on half the dosage, while keeping him on the fancy Brome grass hay.
 

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Have you tried removing the oats?
If they sit too long digesting they cause hind gut ulcers from the fermentation upsetting the Ph balance.

I know you’re soaking them and that they’re pectin rich, which is good for protection against ulcers, but the best way to feed oats to avoid digestive problems, is to use the old fashioned cooking method - though I’d suggest using only crimped oats and a slow cooker or pressure cooker

Speedibeet is also good for ulcers and protection against ulcers.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Have you tried removing the oats?
If they sit too long digesting they cause hind gut ulcers from the fermentation upsetting the Ph balance.

I know you’re soaking them and that they’re pectin rich, which is good for protection against ulcers, but the best way to feed oats to avoid digestive problems, is to use the old fashioned cooking method - though I’d suggest using only crimped oats and a slow cooker or pressure cooker

Speedibeet is also good for ulcers and protection against ulcers.
@jaydee, yes I have. I've tried everything but the oats do seem to tone it down just a bit, and he drops his feed unless it's soaked even though he's checked by the vet routinely and floated when it's needed.
 

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@jaydee, thank you! I'll definitely try that.
Another thought - encysted small strongyles and the damage they cause to the walls of the digestive system can cause diarrhea.
Do you use a moxidectin based dewormer one a year, or alternatively, a 5 day Panacur Power pack (fenbendazole), as they’re the only way to deal with them
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Another thought - encysted small strongyles and the damage they cause to the walls of the digestive system can cause diarrhea.
Do you use a moxidectin based dewormer one a year, or alternatively, a 5 day Panacur Power pack (fenbendazole), as they’re the only way to deal with them
Yep, that was one of the first things the vet recommended. We bought it that day and gave him the doses for a 5 day period, but it didn't change anything. We routinely do this now when needed and deworm often.
 

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I’m with @Txshecat0423 that you’re dealing with FCW not diarrhea. Especially when your vet comments your horse has some of the healthiest manure he’s seen.

I also have a horse with FCW issues. He’s now 28-1/2, a Tennessee Walker and has had them for three or so years. I know there is something that changes chemistry in the pasture in July -August that starts the FCW cycle. It will stop in the cold weather- cold meaning the nights have to get to freezing or below.

I thought I had stopped it a handful of times with a handful of products but it always comes back whe the weather warms up - I’m in southern Middle Tennessee so that’s all the time.

Rusty‘s not IR but he’s on an IR diet because he’s an easy keeper, so no grains, no soy, and low starch hay when he comes in at night. He eats a condensed vit/min supplement, extra vitamin E, a pre-probiotic, all of them from HorseTech. Everything is mixed into timothy pellets. Rusty’s diet couldn’t get more bland.

To reiterate, his trigger is whatever in the pasture tastes good at the end of summer that didn’t taste good in the spring.

No ulcers either. I’ve had this horse 26 years and never had ulcer issues with him. I do put him on Succeed when I have to worm him and every time I’ve had to lay one of his lifelong buds to rest because he took all their losses pretty hard. He has a new pasture mate but he is the last of the original crew.

If anyone ever comes up with a product that permanently relieves fecal water syndrome, they will be sitting on a healthy retirement.

Best wishes getting this figured out.
 

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Looks like the best that can be done is keeping them clean. Before I order the Shiny Hiney, I made some DIY wet wipes I am going to try. Easy and cheap. My mare gets the manure all down the legs so using store bought wet wipes is too expensive. I am hoping a combo of the wet wipes and the S.H. will keep her clean until this passes for the season.
 
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