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fionasteel, Veterinarian
Category: Horse Veterinary
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Experience:  BVMS MRCVS
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how much of Diatomaceous Earth can I use for deworming.

Resolved Question:

how much of Diatomaceous Earth can I use for deworming. Small Mustag 20 year old. His poop is very liquid, diarreha like. I would like to feed him
Alfafa pellets to suck up the juice instead of feeding him orchard hay. What do you think.
Thank you !
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Horse Veterinary
Expert:  fionasteel replied 6 years ago.


Diatomaceous earth is used as a natural worming product.

You would use 1/2 a cup added to the food daily or 1 to 2 tablespoons twice a day. This you would do for a period of 3 weeks. Checking for evidence of worm infestation at this time, if worms are still present the dose may be doubled.

Personally I would have a sample of faeces tested for evidence of worms first and if worms are evident worm with a chemical wormer first. Then use the diatomaceous earth as more of a preventative.

With older horses with diarrhoea, first things to do are to remove any parasites. Get his teeth checked and rasped (floated) if necessary. If the food is not broken down correctly in the mouth this can lead to diarrhoea.

The addition of probiotics (or live Yoghurt) to the diet will help boost the gut friendly bacteria, and also daily addition of yeast to the diet can improve digestion.

To help to try and dry him up, feeding higher dry matter foods may help. Remember though to make any changes to his feed gradually over a period of a couple of weeks. Otherwise his population of gut bacteria will not be able to keep up and this can lead to diarrhoea and colic.

It is also preferable for him to have some long fibre (hay) that he can be picking at through out the day.

In older horses with diarrhoea we also have to consider whether their guts are not absorbing food as well as the once did. This could be due to an inflammatory condition of the bowel, wear and tear or even an infiltrative condition. Your vet would need to do further tests to check for these.

I hope this information is helpful. Kind regards XXXXX XXXXX

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Hi Fiona,

I would agree with most of above except the long fibre as that is coming out undigested.

The horse has been standing for longer times as I am new and riding him 3-4 times per week he would need more protein to carry me around and I go on longer trails.

The link to the DE site is not working for me. Could you check.

Thank you !
Expert:  fionasteel replied 6 years ago.


If the long fibre is coming out undigested, then definitely get his teeth checked, he may have lost some molars. There are brands of complete food available now as well that aim to replace the fibre component of the diet. One brand in the US is called One and Only.

I'll try the link again

or try this one

If he is to do more work, then it is increased energy he will require rather than protein. This can be provided in the form of starch or fats.

Regards Fiona

Customer: replied 6 years ago.

If he is to do more work, then it is increased energy he will require rather than protein. This can be provided in the form of starch or fats.


This sentence does not make any sense to me.

Protein translates to energy ?

More excersise burns more fat, so one needs more protein ?

Starch is in plants stored as protein ?

So if you give the horse Alfafa pellents it's gets energy.

Also Alfafa pellets will suck up the extra juice coming out at the end.

I learned that the Mustang gets psylium

Psyllium is a soluble fiber used primarily as a gentle bulk-forming laxative in products,

it softens the bowles and I think that this would not be needed in treating diarrhea.


So, I think killing the bacteria causing diarrhea (watery bowel movements) with

DE would be my first thing and then remove long stapel grass second and then add Alfafa pellets to introduce to him slowly like 1/2 scoop per day for a week and thereafter 1 scoop per day.


would above be what I can recommend to the horse owner. I am the one who is exercising the poor critter.



Expert:  fionasteel replied 6 years ago.



Protein is the building blocks, you need more protein to grow and repair.

Energy is derived from sugars, carbohydrates (such as starch) and also fats.

If his work rate is increased, he requires more energy, so carbohydrates or fats, not protein.

Starch is a carbohydrate, not a protein.

Alfalfa pellets will provide energy as well.

Psyllium is often used as a preventative for sand colics, although it is a bulking laxative, it should not induce diarrhoea.

So to re cap

Get the teeth checked


Add probiotics and yeast to the diet

Go for an all in one fibre replacement diet

make all changes in a gradual manner

Good luck and best wishes, Fiona Steel

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Thank you !
Expert:  fionasteel replied 6 years ago.

Your welcome

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