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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a 26 year old horse that had consistent bad diarrhea all fall and winter. I switched him from a very rich hay to a grass hay with no alfalfa and it helped a little but didn't make much of a difference. I tried switching him to different feeds including bran which the vet had recommended. The vet did a fecal which was negative. He continued to have bad diarrhea. It was so bad that even after giving him treats he would have a little bit a few minutes later. I really thought I would have to put him down this year but about the beginning of this month his diarrhea completely cleared up. It's the strangest thing. He had diarrhea last winter as well but it was not nearly as bad as it was this winter. Does anyone have any ideas about what could be going on? The only thing I can think of is that he's getting a little bit of grass now that we're in spring but there's really not much grass in the paddock so I don't think that would be enough to really change things. Nothing else has changed, he's been in the same paddock this whole time. I'm afraid his diarrhea is going to start up again this winter.
 

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I had the issue with my 36 year old when he was in his early 20s. He dropped weight with it, has yours? My vet checked his liver, white blood count, etc. I treated for sand (sand clear), then I gave him ulcer guard and pro bios. We were kind of playing a guessing game - we even did a week of antibiotics.

I tried several feeds, the one that I had the best result with was the Triple Crowne Senior. I assume you are on a full source feed? If you are not then I would suggest it. The other issue I had was that his teeth were bad so hay was hard to eat. He gets timothy pellets (watered down) along with his hay. He really just chews his hay and spits it out - the timothy and the triple crowne is where he is really getting his forage.

Do you notice any cuds that are spit out in your feed dish or water trough?
 
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thank you for your response! He has really dropped weight. Due to his weight loss he is now on beat pulp. We also put him back on the rich hay which he has been doing fine on. I actually tried the Triple Crown Senior in the winter and his diarrhea got worse. With him being fine now we started the Triple Crown feed again and he has been fine on it which is weird. I have an equine dentist do his teeth every year and his teeth were done this fall. Over the winter we had also tried hay pellets which he also got worse on. It seems like everything we would give him was just too rich for him in the winter but is fine for him in the summer. The one other thing I noticed over the winter is that he would chew wood a lot but I believe his wood chewing has really calmed down. He also goes through a lot of salt. I thought about having his liver and kidneys checked but I was told if it is an issue with one of them there's not much that can be done.
 

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I think your issue may start stemming from lack of movement. MI is cold, horses aren't moving as much, may be hindering his ability to have the gut movements he needs to digest things properly?

Ulcers maybe, but the good and bad fluctuations have me stumped.

Have you done white blood cell counts to see if he has any sort of infection when all this happens?
I'd be really worried about dehydration in the winter if his stool is that runny.

Are there any undigested parts? Certain foods that aren't agreeing with him?

What about an allergy panel? That can have a bunch of interesting results that can hinder horse's digestion. We had one allergic to all grass hays and carrots of all things, so that may be something to help tailor his diet some.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
The lack of movement would make sense. In the winter he is turned out during the day and then left loose in the indoor arena at night so he can move around. We started that to help with his joints and stiffness. On the really cold days he would be in the stall part of the day then turned out into the indoor arena. He has access to a lot of water. The barn owner lives on the site and goes out a few times a day to feed and check water buckets. Other than that I'm not sure what to do about possible dehydration. Everything looked pretty well digested. He would have formed stool but you could see a lot of wetness in his stool. His diarrhea was more like heavy wet farts if that makes sense. I don't know a nicer way to describe it.

I tried switching his feed around a few times. Rich hay, hay pellets, and the senior feed all made it worse but now that it's summer he is doing fine on the senior feed and rich hay. Even when we gave him grass hay with no senior feed he wasn't as bad but it still didn't clear up. I could do an allergy panel but it seems like if it were a food allergy it would still be going on because he is back on the same rich hay and senior feed that didn't seem to agree with him in the winter and isn't having issues on it.

It might also be worth mentioning that we gave him a gastro supplement to help with possible ulcers and we saw no changes. I don't remember the name if it as it was something the barn owner had.
 

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This thread is by an HF member regarding her 26 year old Arab gelding. She lives in British Columbia, Canada and also only deals with diarrhea issues in the cold months.

https://www.horseforum.com/horse-health/harleys-loose-stool-again-811471/

Since there are 96 posts on this thread, it might benefit you more if your first read is just the comments from the OP to see if she has posted anything that may benefit you:)

Many of us offered great input but nothing we suggested seemed to help.

I honestly can’t remember how the OP resolved the issue but I believe she did:)

Reading her comments, then the entire thread may give you the answer(s) you’re looking for as your senior horse also seems to only have the runny bums during the cold months.

I see a common thread here - the extreme cold environments as they affect older horses who are off grass for several months.

I hope this helps:)
 
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This thread is by an HF member regarding her 26 year old Arab gelding. She lives in British Columbia, Canada and also only deals with diarrhea issues in the cold months.

https://www.horseforum.com/horse-health/harleys-loose-stool-again-811471/

Since there are 96 posts on this thread, it might benefit you more if your first read is just the comments from the OP to see if she has posted anything that may benefit you:)

Many of us offered great input but nothing we suggested seemed to help.

I honestly can’t remember how the OP resolved the issue but I believe she did:)

Reading her comments, then the entire thread may give you the answer(s) you’re looking for as your senior horse also seems to only have the runny bums during the cold months.

I see a common thread here - the extreme cold environments as they affect older horses who are off grass for several months.

I hope this helps:)
That's me - and Harley is 21 and we live at the opposite end of the country - in New Brunswick :)

So yeah, we have been dealing with this problem every winter for 4 years now. I tried absolutely everything, and nothing changes from winter to summer except my horse gets grass in summer. I tried for years to get to the bottom of this, treated him for ulcers, tried many different kinds of probiotics and prebiotics, to no avail. I have heard a few others tell me they have the same problem so this is not completely uncommon, but when you talk to vets about it, they act as if they've never heard of it.

In the end, we found an equine vet from out of town to come look at him (many other vets had been consulted previously, but I figured it wouldn't hurt to have fresh eyes). He put him on Metronidazole, an antibiotic that targets gut parasites. 10 days on it and the diarrhea was gone. Unfortunately, it came back about three weeks later, but not as severe. The vet put him on another 10 days of Metronidazole and he has been clear ever since. It is spring here, but still no grass. I've also given him a lot of probiotics because the antibiotics are hard on gut flora of course. But anything would be better than the absolutely horrible, frozen runny poop running down his legs all winter. He was getting skin problems from it, and there is no way they are absorbing nutrients properly when this is happening so I'd do the Metronidazole again if it came back.

I'm not saying this is your horse's problem, but it may be something to mention to your vet if nothing else solves the problem. You can also google it and learn more about the medication. I can't tell you how overjoyed I was when two days into the treatment, I saw nice, round poop balls! It clearly worked, and fast.

Good luck!
 

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That's me - and Harley is 21 and we live at the opposite end of the country - in New Brunswick :)
!
Boy I really messed that ^^^^ up. My apologies:redface::redface:

Thanks very much for explaining. It’s great to hear Harley is still doing well:thumbsup::thumbsup:
 
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Boy I really messed that ^^^^ up. My apologies:redface::redface:

Thanks very much for explaining. It’s great to hear Harley is still doing well:thumbsup::thumbsup:
Nahhh... you got the important stuff right!

And yeah, he's doing great! Full of beans these days. My daughter is riding him almost daily while Rusty and I try to keep up. She wants to do more dressage this year. There may not be any shows, but she can still do her dressage tests and keep progressing in her rider levels. Her coach is coming to our house and just staying outside, not touching anything so that's been working well.
 

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I was just thinking - another thing I have to do in the winter is give my older horse warm water to ensure he maintains his hydration to avoid colic.
 
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I was just thinking - another thing I have to do in the winter is give my older horse warm water to ensure he maintains his hydration to avoid colic.
Salt licks help too. My horses only get warm water in winter anyway, because if the water isn't in a heated bucket, it'll be frozen solid within hours.
 

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I am also in Canada, and posted on your thread about the 24 year old pony with lots of fecal water in the winters only.

Being in the most Southern area, we have had grass for a month now. His problem diminished as the grass grew, and is now completely gone. Not a thing else was changed. Nothing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thank you guys so much! Acadianartist that is great to hear he cleared up and gives me hope! The vet didn't have many other solutions other than switching feed so I will ask him if we can try the Metronidazole. What probiotic did you use? Did he stay cleared up with just the probiotic eventually? My guy also was getting skin issues from it. I would clean him up the best I could but it's hard to get the frozen stuff off that was packed in to his fur pretty good. The warm water is also a good idea I can talk to the barn owner about trying. She has heated water buckets inside so we could probably put one outside for him too.
 

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Thank you guys so much! Acadianartist that is great to hear he cleared up and gives me hope! The vet didn't have many other solutions other than switching feed so I will ask him if we can try the Metronidazole. What probiotic did you use? Did he stay cleared up with just the probiotic eventually? My guy also was getting skin issues from it. I would clean him up the best I could but it's hard to get the frozen stuff off that was packed in to his fur pretty good. The warm water is also a good idea I can talk to the barn owner about trying. She has heated water buckets inside so we could probably put one outside for him too.

I liked the Bioequine as a probiotic. He is clear now, but I wouldn't be surprised if we had to do another round next winter. He's normally good in the summer. I don't know exactly what is causing it but the Metronidazole definitely stops it, and fast! It concerns me that we had to treat it again after the first round, but as I said, having diarrhea for months on end is also worrisome. Another thing I did is feed electrolytes when he had diarrhea to try to prevent dehydration.
 
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