Dealing with Diarrhea in Horses
On the subject of ‘diarrhea in horses’, it would be normal to assume that horses should NOT get diarrhea? Right? It is not a common issue, but if this happens, it can sometimes become a problem. Diarrhea in a horse can range from slightly loose stools to very runny/watery and frequent stools. When a horse has a change to the diet, stresses from trailering or new barn accommodations, this can cause an onset of mild diarrhea which is generally not a big deal but when a horse has toxins, sand, parasites, bacteria or viruses in their guts, the diarrhea can rapidly become much more serious. Just like with humans, dogs or cats, diarrhea with horses isn’t always a huge cause for concern – but it is good to know what can cause this digestive disorder.
Causes & Corrective Steps for Diarrhea in Your Horse
Change of Feed
Diarrhea can be caused by something as simple as a new feed the horse isn’t used to or overfeeding of it’s regular feed. Access to lush green pasture for prolonged periods of time also can reek havoc on horse’s digestive systems.
Plants toxic to horses such as Ragwort, Acorns, Buttercups, Red or White Clover and Horse-nettle can cause diarrhea to rear its ugly head. Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) occurs when abnormal cells take over the small lining of the intestine. This can cause chronic diarrhea in a horse just as it does in humans.
Small strongyles larvae parasites can burrow in the horse’s intestinal walls. Typical timing for this is late winter to early spring. As the weather warms, they emerge all at once, which causes the gut walls to leak protein-rich fluid and the horse to develop diarrhea. This is not caused by the adult parasites but rather the larvae. Preventing this from occurring is as simple as keeping your horse’s area clean and removing piles of manure frequently.
Restoring Normal Gut Flora – Probiotics
One very positive step is to supplement the horse’s body with good bacteria. Active probioitc cultures can reduce the severity and duration of the compromised GI tract.
Nzymes® Bac-Pak Plus was created for nutritional supplemental use with animals of all ages and designed to help optimize your horse’s digestive tract and immune system. For pennies a day, your horse can benefit from the added support of this highly concentrated blend of digestive enzymes and direct-fed microbials (probiotics). For full overview, see description HERE
In horses, diarrhea may not always be a cause for concern but it should never be overlooked. If your horse has diarrhea it is smart to investigate the cause. These are just a few of the more common causes of diarrhea. If you see that the problem is happening frequently or coupled with other symptoms, get your horse checked out by a vet as soon as possible.