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Well, I'm a veterinary technician, and this is a horse at…

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Well, I'm a veterinary...

Well, I'm a veterinary technician, and this is a horse at our barn. He's had loose stools, is an older horse, and due to finances the owner cannot afford any more veterinary work. we have ruled out parasites, and he has tried diet change of no feed for a week, just hay, I have given him biosponge daily. I really do think he needs metrondazole but I cannot get my hands on it without a veterinary prescription. He is a 1000 pound horse. Right now I'm going to give him some Immodium although I am totally convinced that this will not treat the underlying cause whereas I suspect metronidazole will. I understand the need for a veterinarian, but in this case I'm all they have, and there is essentially no finances for further evaluation. I was going to begin with 25 2 mg tabs as a middle range dose and see how it goes. I don't suppose you can assist me with the metronidazole? It's ok, I'm just running out of options and the owner forbids me to call our large animal vet.

Veterinarian's Assistant: I'm sorry to hear that. There are all sorts of infestations our can pick up. I'll have you talk to the Veterinarian who'll sort out what is wrong and help you decide what to do about it. Is there anything else the Veterinarian should be aware of about our?

Only the things I have done so far, including worming with Quest Plus, he is on a pelleted food, was on beet pulp but is no longer. He is up to date on all vaccines with the exception of Potomac Horse Fever. We use pond water, which concerns me for the possibility of ehrlichia. He was treated with oxycycline twice for a recent bout of ehrlicia, and is negative for lyme (which was a surprise up here in CT).

Submitted: 1 year ago.Category: Horse Veterinary
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Answered in 18 minutes by:
3/24/2017
Horse Veterinarian: horsemed, Horse Veterinarian replied 1 year ago
horsemed
horsemed, Horse Veterinarian
Category: Horse Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 315
Experience: Equine veterinarian with 8 years experience working at referral hospitals throughout the country
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Hello there, I am an equine internal medicine specialist and I am happy to help. First, I'd like to ask you some questions to confirm my assumptions. Can you describe the frequency and consistency of his stools and the duration of the loose stool? Is he otherwise acting normal? Normal temperature, attitude, and appetite?

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Customer reply replied 1 year ago
all the above are normal, and he eats quite well. The stools are cow pattie consistency and appear as if his digestive system is not processing the hay completely, although he has always had that tendency. He is quite an older horse, somewhere between 25-28 I believe, but his teeth have been taken care of as has his routine worming, etc. The stools in his stall are what I would consider a normal amount although actual count is a bit difficult due to their consistency. He does drink water fine as well, something I keep an eye on since I worry about fluid loss. I may have to leave as I must be somewhere at 5 pm, but I will return within an hour or so, so if I miss you may I try to reach you in a little while? I apologize but in about 10 minutes I have to be on the road. Thank you so much for your help.
Customer reply replied 1 year ago
He has had this diarrhea ongoing for at least one year at this level, although his stools became progressively looser.
Customer reply replied 1 year ago
I have to leave now but have the phone with me so I will be able to see your answer. Thank you.
Horse Veterinarian: horsemed, Horse Veterinarian replied 1 year ago

Hi there. Sorry about that, I had to step away for a little bit. Thank you for the thorough answers, you confirmed what I was thinking. Just to summarize, he is a 25+ y old horse with a 1+ year history of chronic loose stool, normal frequency, just a little loose. He is otherwise normal.

He does not have true debilitating diarrhea, or colitis (sick because of it, increased frequency, runny so it sinks below shavings) so will not need treatment with metronidazole or Imodium. He does not have signs of infectious disease such as PHF, as even if he lives near pond water, that would cause acute fever, depression, diarrhea, lethargy, and possible laminitis and only lasts about 1 week. I would not administer any antibiotics or any drugs to him at this time.

I believe from your excellent description of his history, that he is a typical geriatric horse whose teeth are starting to reach the end of their life. As you may already know, horses have hypsodont teeth, which continuously erupt until they reach their end. Since horses are foragers, this can affect them greatly, and they often continue to swallow and eat, causing partial digestion of their food, and therefore the chronic loose feces.

This would explain why the change to beet pulp and to all hay has not helped, as it is actually more difficult to chew forage. I would recommend a dental by a veterinarian due to his age. I know you mentioned finances are a huge issue. If they cannot have a veterinarian come out, I would at least recommend switching him to an all Equine Senior diet, which replaces all his hay. A typical 1000lb horse should eat about 12lb of Equine Senior a day, split up into 3-4 feedings. This can be soaked into a slurry to make it easier to eat. This should fix the issue within a month of changing the feed.

If after a month, this does not improve, they should contact a veterinarian to run some bloodwork (should cost about $120 or so) to make sure there is no underlying medical condition.

Please let me know if this makes sense to you, and if you have any further questions.

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Customer reply replied 1 year ago
Hi, yes your answer does make sense, and we have had other horses with underlying tooth issues that exhibited the loose stool. Jack has had up to date dental work though, so I have ruled out his teeth. His teeth were done last July. We did feed him Triple Crown Senior. It made no difference. We can put him back on the senior diet and add water as you suggest. He also had bloodwork done last fall, when he was diagnosed with ehrlichia. (hence the outstanding bill from the vet). However he was treated with oxytetracycline. I do think he may still have some complications from this, personally, but, again I cannot do bloodwork myself other than microscopic evaluation. I still think he has lyme, as it is so very prevalent here, and wonder if this could be some of the cause of the diarrhea but technically the vet said he did not. I actually may have access to some metronidazole, possibly - just found out this afternoon, but I guess my question to you is, what would possibility of some water borne ehrlichia parasite causing this? Again, we will follow your instructions. Small Equine Senior feed only with no hay, this is correct?
Horse Veterinarian: horsemed, Horse Veterinarian replied 1 year ago

When his teeth were done, were they done under sedation by a veterinarian with a full mouth speculum on? The reason I ask is I've seen a lot of senior horses who had their "teeth done" by lay dentists, but abscessed/missing teeth were not identified and no corrections were made. PHF is now known as Neorickettsia risticii, and antibodies can be high from exposure or vaccination, not disease and results depend on what test was done. It does not cause chronic diarrhea. Lyme Disease does not cause diarrhea. I do not recommend administering any metronidazole. As I mentioned, I would try a month's worth of Equine Senior with no hay, and if this does not resolve the issue, he should have recheck bloodwork performed and if the dental exam was not done under sedation, I would recommend this as well.

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Horse Veterinarian: horsemed, Horse Veterinarian replied 1 year ago

Hello there. Just wanted to check if I was able to answer your question from the other day or if you have any lingering questions.

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horsemed
horsemed, Horse Veterinarian
Category: Horse Veterinary
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Experience: Equine veterinarian with 8 years experience working at referral hospitals throughout the country

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