What is causing Diarrhea?

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Jul 7, 2019
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Hello everyone! I am needing a little advise. I have 6 mini horses and recently 2 of them started having diarrhea. This has been going on over a week. I immediately wormed them since it was time anyway and started them both on Probios probiotic chews 1x daily. There has been no improvement. Any suggestions? None of the others are having issues and they all eat the same. My pasture is nearly bare, so they have not gotten any grass recently. They all get pellets in the morning and hay in the evening. My big problem with these 2 horses it that they are very timid and they won't play nice for a vet if they come out. I rescued them about 4 years ago from a bad situation and they are pretty good about letting me pet and brush them, but no one else. Hopefully some one here can give me guidance.

Thank you so much for your time.
I deal with a mini with diarrhea. If it gets really runny, I pull her off hay and feed soaked beet pulp, teff pellets and EQUINE CHIA. That is my new discovery that I think helps. She hasn't gotten watery runs since I got chia seeds. If it's just soft, I keep up teff hay and feed a little pellets with the chia. Good luck!
If you have a stethoscope, I would listen to their gut. You listen on the bottom, just behind their navel. Move it around a little. You will be listening for a shwoosh type noise, like the waves running over the beach.

My thoughts are that perhaps they are consuming sand, trying to get the last little bits of grass. One of the symptoms is the runs.
Thank you so much for your advise! DianaM- How much chia do you give?
1 scoop for 250lb mare.

This is a mare that I tried everything with. There are other threads where I posted that I made probiotics and they did seem to help, but then the runs came again.

All paths (laminitis, ulcers, etc) lead to Ph balance in the gut. I knew if I could get that right, she would be ok. I have a huge black tub of different gut stuff I tried. Nothing worked as well as chia, but who knows? Horses are tricky. :)

I thought she had hindgut acidosis for a long time. Now I think she's just delicate. (ornery too) Here's an article I read with graphic details.


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One of mine gets watery manure. After advice from here ( I can't remember who, sorry) I now give him psyllium daily along with beet pulp and his manure looks great since then. Mine are on a dry lot
Thank you so much for the link to that article! I kind of had a simple understanding, but that article got into the details and really spelled it out.
I haven't had any real problems with diarrhea (luckily), but, obviously the way they are fed affects everything related to their health and their body's ability to function the way it is intended.
It depends on whether it's diarrhea, or fecal water. Diarrhea is actual loose stools (cow pies, or runny manure). Fecal water is extra water that comes out with or after formed manure balls.

I had good luck preventing fecal water with my guy by avoiding stemmy hay and feeding psyllium daily. However, at the time he had these issues he was also overweight and consuming too much grass (for him - so, not very much grass, but still more than he can handle). This past year I had his paddock track built appropriately to limit the grass as much as possible - his weight was good, and despite not feeding psyllium and encountering a couple of batches of stemmy hay that would have sent him over the edge last year, his manure stayed perfect.

Did your hay change, or anything else in their feed? New batch of pellets? Big weather change? There are a ton of things that could cause it so you just have to figure out what makes the most sense in your situation. Probably not a pathogen since presumably all of your horses would be affected. Hindgut ulcers, feed changes/sensitivities, stress, weather, sand, grass....

Aren't horses fun? 🙃
I did recently change their hay. I started buying round bales instead of square bales (coastal hay). I was doing my best to weigh their hay so that I wasn't overfeeding (or underfeeding). I would say that they are slightly overweight. A lot of the things you all are saying makes sense....I just have to find out which "thing" is causing the issue. In regards to the psyllium, is it added to their pelleted feed? How much do you feed? Thank you everyone! I so appreciate your advise and support. I have had minis for years and I guess I have been pretty lucky health wise. I have never dealt with this issue before. My only problem is my oldest mini has a choking problem and now gets his pellets soaked in water.
Marsha, What form of aloe vera and how do you feed it?
Liquid. I get it at Walmart in the pharmacy area. You can get a quart size to try it out. I had a mare with terrible diarhha and within three days she was giving me firm feces. She was just squirting, and I was always cleaning her behind. I kept her on it for about 6 months then quit. Put my other horse on it also, though he was fine. I figured whatever was working for my mare must be good for them both.

A horse I had earlier tried to colic every time the weather changed. I got some prebiotic from my supplement company and kept him on it for several months. He never colicked again as long as I had him.
If all else fails, about .5 to 1 ounce of Bio-Sponge will usually stop the diarrhea. I'm not sure of the recommended dose but that's what works for me. I have to use it once a year or so for a period of 2-3 weeks on one of my minis. We've never found the cause of the problem, best guess is it happens when we change hay but it's random.
We're so fortunate to be able to come here and have so much good information! I would add only regarding hydration. Are you able to check skin turgor and capillary refill? Skin turgor is tenting on the neck and cap refill is done on the gums. I would keep an eye on that to ensure they don't become dehydrated and would suggest adding electrolytes if the diarrhea is ongoing. Other than that, I have nothing more to suggest!
Best wishes that they're back to normal in short order :)

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