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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Horse Veterinarian
Category: Horse Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 1204
Experience:  Board Certified Equine Surgeon, Lameness and Sports Medicine Specialist DVM, BSc
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My horse has a chronic diahrrea problem.There is no change

Customer Question

My horse has a chronic diahrrea problem.There is no change of diet, I'm giving him a double dose of platinum balance probiotics for 2 weeks now that used to stop it but its not helping now. He is a 20 year old gelding warmblood, He is fed orchard grass hay, rice bran, soy bean pellets ,integrity, alphalpha Bermuda pellets, plus Cosequin, and Platinum performance daily. only 2 cups of all the supplements nightly and has been for years, There is no change in his diet and my other horse, an Andalusian is doing just fine.
.Any ideas as to what could be causing this now chronic problem?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Horse Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 1 year ago.
Hi,I will be happy to help you with your problem. Can you provide me a little more information1. What color is he?2. As far as diarrhea - is it loose manure or like water coming out of a hose?3. When was he last dewormed?4. Any change in water or access to water? Is there a pond or creek in his pasture?5. Has a vet seen him? Any blood work done?Looking forward to your reply. Cheers
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
1) He is a seal bay.
2) combination, kinda of drips out
3) ivermectin injection at the beginning of march with his other spring vaccines
4) always has clean water. no ponds near my house.
5) my vet saw him and he said to give him biosponge when the probiotics were not working for him.
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 1 year ago.
Thanks for the additional information. I am glad that he has been seen by a vet already as that is important. I have a couple thoughts on both the cause and treatment options. Chronic diarrhea in horses can be very difficult to completely diagnose. If we can rule out worms, parasites and melanoma (grey horses) then that takes away the common causes and leaves us with the more uncommon causes. Some blood work is in order to make sure this not due to a liver or kidney problem. A fecal float is also in order to ensure that the ivermectin has actually worked. There is a misconception that ivermectin alone in a single dose will remove any worms - while true that the dose will kill the active adults, if there are any encysted or larva/eggs, those will not be killed. The typical life cycle for worms in the horse is about 3 weeks, so a single ivermectin dose can miss the worms in egg stage and then they return again at 3 weeks. This is not so likely if your horse has had this issue for years. There is also growing resistance to ivermectin in the worms that is causing problems - unless you do the fecal egg float then you would not know if the ivermectin is working or if you need to use something else. The most likely cause in your case, given the history would be something called eosinophilic or lymphocytic/plasmocytic enteritis/colitis. Basically, these types of diseases are part of an autoimmune issue with the bowel. They can be ulcerative and cause bleeding in the hind gut (colons) or not. The problem becomes that the colon cannot absorb water and nutrients properly and thus you end up with a chronic diarrhea state. Definitive diagnosis of this condition requires biopsy of the colon wall (standing laparoscopic surgery - referral to a surgical specialty center/university). If that is not an option, then there are a couple things to suggest you discuss with your veterinarian. From a basic treatment point of view, I always recommend that you start by feeding 1-2 cups/day plain yogurt - sounds crazy but works often to at least improve the situation. Next would be something called Succeed - this is a hind gut treatment that works well for treating and preventing hind gut ulcers. Lastly would be to look at medications such as prednisolone/prednisone or dexamethasone- these are corticosteroids that can be used to decrease the immune response in the gut and may work to improve the situation. There are side effects with using corticosteroids (including possible laminitis) so you would want to discuss this option with your veterinarian based on the blood work and their exams. Biosponge is a good short term option but it only sticks around the hind gut for about 24-48 hours. Hope this information is helpful. All the best!