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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Harley, our almost 21 year old Arab, was treated a few weeks ago with Metronidazole (an antibiotic that targets various nasties that collect in the gut). This was a last-ditch resort to get rid of three years of chronic winter diarrhea. I brought in the only actual equine vet from out of town in desperation and after running bloodwork and 1000$ worth of tests, he was still stumped (as were the other 5 vets that saw him previously), so he suggested we try this. We did, and within two days, Harley was having normal stool again (see my previous thread on this, complete with photos). He was on the medication for 10 days. 25 pills 2x a day. Good times. Luckily, he is a saint.

About 4 days after the medication was done, I noticed a bit of the runs again. Then it got progressively worse. Until it was daily again. So I called up the vet who recommends I do another 10 day cycle. Yes, I know it is awful for his gut flora, but so is having liquid poop 8 months a year (see last thread for graphic photos). I don't think he can possibly absorb nutrients when everything is running down his legs in some black tarrish substance. So we need to be rid of the diarrhea, then I will rebuild his gut flora.

My point is that the last time, I did not take any measures to disinfect the barn. I now worry that he may have re-infected himself with whatever is causing this. Keep in mind, I live in Canada and it is usually well under freezing on a daily basis so I don't know what could live on surfaces. Also, washing walls isn't realistic in this weather.

One thing that occurred to me is the heated buckets. I wash them out, but don't thoroughly disinfect so they might be a hotbed of bacteria. Would washing them in a bleach solution be enough? What else would you do, and how? We have just begun the second cycle of antibiotics so now is the time to give the feed pans, buckets, etc. a good scrub. What do you recommend?

As for manure being a source of re-infection, I clean out the stalls several times a day. I pick up all the manure in the paddock daily. Anything that isn't frozen to the ground gets picked up quickly - and even stuff that is frozen hard is pried loose with a metal pitchfork. So I don't think that's the issue.
 

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Yes. A bleach solution is still the "gold standard" as a disinfectant. There are many other products that people favor, though.

I do buckets and feed tubs. But I also swish halters, manure forks, clean muck buckets or wheelbarrows. Spray down walls.

Basically anything with a surface
 

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I’ve used Clorox to clean water and feed buckets forever.

We do that sort of thing every Sunday, unless the temps are close to the freezing mark then we wait another week.

You could buy a second bucket, so you can switch them out and do the cleaning in the house
/laundry area.

As meticulous as you are, even if it has been too cold to disinfect the heated buckets weekly I wouldn’t think Harley has reinfected himself in that manner, but after reading the article below, maybe he did. Maybe his bucket needs cloroxed every day, until this is resolved.

Because the metronidazole worked as long as it was in his system, I think something else is going on, so I went hunting.

This link may, at least, help you figure out why the diarrhea returned. The fact that both aerobic and anaerobic bacteria may be involved, it may help to bring it up to the vet, in case he has an alternate treatment plan.

https://www.wedgewoodpharmacy.com/l...nd-horse-owners/metronidazole-for-horses.html
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks @walk! Yes, I see that it is normally given with another antibiotic. Will have to phone the vet on Monday to ask why we're not doing that. But the Metronidazole was working as long as he was still on it so it is doing something!

So frustrating.

I have three heated buckets so they all have to be cleaned since my horses share an open space. That's fine, I'll do what I have to do. I like the idea of putting bleach in a spray bottle! Do you dilute it in water at all? Straight bleach would be a bit strong I think. I'm thinking that even his bit should be cleaned after rides.

I normally clean everything once a week, but I don't use bleach. When they get too gross, I'll use dish detergent. Clearly I need to step it up a bit.
 

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Bleach is best used at 10 % dilution. This is what hospitals use for their surfaces. Just eyeball it, its fine...but pure bleach is not as effective, oddly.
Expect the spray nozzle to break every two months or so. I used to just get cheap empty bottles from the dollar store. Lots of exotics used to share my home with me. Bleach was my friend! I use it at the barn for water troughs. And when I moved my gelding into his stall, I slopped it on the wood walls and scrubbed away...there was a decade of previous tenants poop stains on it!

Nice idea about the halters!
Good luck!
 

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I keep a gallon of Clorox at the barn.

The loose, general Rule of Thumb for me, is a capful of bleach to ~ one gallon of water in the five gallon stall buckets and the feed pans. Brush them out, thoroughly rinse.

I use long handled scrub brushes like this. https://www.amazon.com/Rubbermaid-C...ong+handled+scrub+brush&qid=1582994141&sr=8-6

I get mine at Lowe’s. The 20” handles are just about right for my 5’2” self to do an efficient cleaning job without having to bend over too much:)

If the sun is shining, we turn them upside down on the park bench on the warmer side of the bar for the day.

Each horse has two 18 gallon heated tubs - muck tubs someone was smart enough to figure out how to build in heaters. No measuring but they probably get ~ 1/8th measure cup of Clorox, brush, thoroughly rinse and we fill those right away.
 

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I don't this this is your fault. Some clostridium organisms cause diarrhea and are spore forming. Those spores not only contaminate the environment, but the spores form and persist within the gut as well. This allows the spores to germinate when the antibiotics are discontinued.

I'm not sure disinfection will help, but it's worth a try. A longer course of antibiotics (4-6 weeks) followed by a gradual tapering may be necessary. Have you tried Biosponge?
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I don't this this is your fault. Some clostridium organisms cause diarrhea and are spore forming. Those spores not only contaminate the environment, but the spores form and persist within the gut as well. This allows the spores to germinate when the antibiotics are discontinued.

I'm not sure disinfection will help, but it's worth a try. A longer course of antibiotics (4-6 weeks) followed by a gradual tapering may be necessary. Have you tried Biosponge?
Have not tried Biosponge, but have tried a slew of similar products including clay. 4-6 weeks of antibiotics seems awfully long. Might be worth trying Biosponge after the antiobics are done.
 

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@Acadianartist. Didn't Harley go off feed when he was on this antibiotic last time? If that was the case I'd be a bit worried ,doing 6 weeks of it as another poster suggested.

I really hope this round of antibiotics does the trick an no more diarrhea.

I use bleach to disinfect feed buckets water trough an water buckets in barn. I do this weekly year round.

Being I feed soaked feed I do feed pans every other day. Just a little bit of bleach in pans then water ,and scrub an rinse well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
@Acadianartist . Didn't Harley go off feed when he was on this antibiotic last time? If that was the case I'd be a bit worried ,doing 6 weeks of it as another poster suggested.

I really hope this round of antibiotics does the trick an no more diarrhea.

I use bleach to disinfect feed buckets water trough an water buckets in barn. I do this weekly year round.

Being I feed soaked feed I do feed pans every other day. Just a little bit of bleach in pans then water ,and scrub an rinse well.
Yes, loss of appetite is typical with this antibiotic. He's ok so far, but it's only been a couple of days for cycle # 2. I'd hate to keep him on it that long.

I used a bleach solution to clean everything out yesterday. Will do it again around the end of the antibiotics. Hoping that dose the trick. Diarrhea is gone for now...
 
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