First, don’t you just love the smell of healthy horse poop? There is something strangely refreshing about it, don’t you think?
Second, what do we do when a horse has diarrhea?
This is NOT an all-encompassing medical article. I’d like to invite you to think through the possibilities with me, so you can figure it out for yourself. If you learn the logic of this diarrhea example, and other email examples, you can discover how to figure out your horse’s issues too.
In this article, I’m NOT talking about the temporary diarrhea from a feeding or environmental change.
But horses with chronic diarrhea can be very difficult to manage.
For simplicity, I’m going to break this into three picturesque types:
1) Garden hose diarrhea
2) Cow-poop diarrhea
3) Drippy-drip diarrhea
When the diarrhea is coming out like it’s shooting out a garden hose, that’s a major problem. The horse is very sick, and you need to call the veterinarian out asap.
I remember some of these horses from vet school. The poor babies. Their “garden hose” diarrhea would shoot out, hit the stall walls, and splatter in all directions! We had to wear full body coveralls and eye protection just to go in there.
They recover fine, but need IV fluid support because they’re losing liquids so fast.
This diarrhea looks like it’s name, “cow-poop”. Or cow-plop. Or cow-pie. It is unformed, watery piles of poop. And it often doesn’t smell good either.
Most of the time the horse feels ok. Eating fine and no fever.
(Remember, if the horse stops eating, call the vet.)
Cow poop means there is too much liquid in the poop. It’s so liquidy that it cannot form into normal horse fecal balls.
So the question becomes, “Why is there too much water?”
TWO possibilities: the horse is purposely adding excess water to the large intestine OR the horse cannot absorb the water from the large intestine.
Why would the horse add excess water?
Most commonly, because the horse is trying to flush something out. Could be toxins, chemicals, parasites, or some icky plant he or she ate.
If this is the cause, it should stop within 3-7 days. If it doesn’t, it’s likely the 2nd cause:
Why would a horse not be able to absorb enough water?
Most commonly, there’s something imbalanced in the circulation system. For example, the veins picking up the water from the large intestine are may be too full of water to take anymore.
In traditional medicine, we start “trying stuff”. Such as probiotics, antibiotics, biosponges, activated charcoal, dewormers, psyllium, and more.
Sometimes this seem to help. At least for a while.
Ideally, we would do TBT (Tucker BioKinetic Technique) at this point. With TBT, we energetically ask the horse’s body where the primary problem is, and we fix that.
So many things can imbalance the circulation system. It could be heart related, but also kidneys or liver too. Maybe the stomach or small intestine are not doing their job, and the large intestine needs the extra water to get the poop out.
It’s important to find that primary cause, because without that, we’re just guessing.
Ok this post got a little long, so we’ll continue with #3 in another post. Check out Diarrhea – Part 2 here.
Enjoy the good-smelling horse poop,
Renee Tucker, DVM