Tuesday, June 30, 2015

The Other Vet Visit

A few days before our Ultrasound, Prair's general vet came out and we officially opened a case on her chronic diarrhea.  This issue for Prair has come and gone (but mostly been around) since we moved to our current barn.  It started almost exactly after our move, and while sometimes it dies down, it doesn't really ever go away unless we are off property for an extended time (like three weeks at Thermal). 

Every vet I have spoken to has been very guarded about any optimism about finding a source for Prair's symptoms.  Apparently chronic diarrhea in horses is like saying we have a "rash." 

There are about 400 different rashes with thousands of potential causes or irritants that could cause one.  Apparently so goes watery horse poop.

Here's what we know:

There are no obvious correlations with her diet.  her hay, grain and supplements have all been adjusted at some point without a large impact on her symptoms. 

Symptoms started 2 weeks after our arrival to our farm, and have varied in severity, but have always been pretty consistent.  Most of the time her manure itself is well formed there's just extra... liquid. 

Until the last couple of weeks she has never appeared uncomfortable.  No signs of colic, no worried eyeballs, nothing.  Recently she has seem upset over passing manure, which I think is due to her skin being a bit scalded...

Her fecal showed nothing weird, egg counts are right where they should be in her worming schedule, so it's unlikely a traditional parasite.

Blood was also mostly normal.  I say mostly because protein counts were a tad off, and oddly, a few other horses on the farm who had blood drawn showed the same protein irregularities - but no tummy symptoms.

Sand was also well within a acceptable range.  I know sand checks are fairly subjective, but he didn't hear much of it in her belly, and there wasn'y much in her manure.  She's not grazing on sandy soil, and I've never seen her eating sand in her paddock, so I'm not that concerned about sand...

Our vet is Mr. Thorough.  He spent 45 minutes on the phone discussing significantly more detail on the lab results and possible causes than I could ever hope to remember or understand.  Which - is saying something since I'm usually a vet-detail-hoarder.

Right now the plan is to collect another blood and fecal sample to overnight to Davis for a different lab screening that will focus more on screening for weird viruses.  (I think).

Prair's getting some of her supplements pulled just to simplify her diet a tad, and depending on the results from Davis, we may try pulling her off traditional hay for a couple weeks and give her hay-mush only in order to let her tummy settle and not have to process stems for a while.

All in all, there's no clear path to explore.  Initially Mr. Thorough was thinking the protein levels in the bloodwork was going to be our primary avenue, but with other horses showing the same levels and no symptoms, he's less confident that is what's driving Prair's symptoms. 

The increased confinement of Prair's "stall rest" (with turnout) could also be contributing to her tummy troubles, but sadly, that's not about to change anytime soon either.

Mostly it's a big bag of question marks for the moment, but hopefully the second round of lab work will at least rule out a few causes and I can keep the mare's tushy a tad cleaner.

All the watery poop has really done a number on her tail as well... While she never had a thick, luscious tail to begin with, it's even sadder after so much breakage and snarls with manure dreadlocks.

A sad, but less serious side effect I suppose.

Always an adventure!

12 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing about this. It's such a struggle!

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  2. Aww Princess! Can you put Desitin or Vaseline on her tush for a few days to help with the scald? That's what I did with the weanlings when they got runny and their skin got sensitive from it. I hope you figure out what's going on with her. I'm guessing you already tried the probiotic route. Sounds like no fun :(

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  3. poor Prairie!! good luck :(

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  4. Man what a dose i hope your vet can figure it out and help Miss Prair feel better soon
    *hugs*

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  5. I went through this exact same thing with Lilly and we never did find out the cause. We just kind of gave up and said, "as long as she's not dehydrated" we'll just have to deal. So I washed her bottom every day, slathered on some Desitin to keep her skin from getting too irritated, and waited. Eventually it went away (mostly) but she gets flare ups every now and then, which I tolerate and treat until it goes away. She had exactly the same symptoms, and her poo was 'normal', just came with extra liquid. I'll be curious to see if you're able to pinpoint it to something specific!

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  6. Because it's never just one thing, right?

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  7. Well that's shitty (pun intended!). :P

    One of my horses is very sensitive to changes in the hay/pasture. I do find that adding aloe vera juice and a probiotic have minimized his symptoms (explosive diarrhea). Good luck getting to the bottom of your girl's issue :)

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  8. Ugh how frustrating. Poor girl.

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  9. Maybe shes being affected because her immune system is different? Horses can be so mysterious at times.

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  10. Hate the deep black hole of possibilities!! Here's to finding some answers!

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  11. Poor Prair! Just food for thought, but a great product that I've heard a lot of people have had success with when it comes to chronic diarrhea has been Equiotic. Its a probiotic with bacteria cultured from the horses gut, so very species specific. Ask the vet, couldn't hurt!

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  12. All I can say is gastric ulcers. Vets told me it wasn't for twelve months before I had my mare scoped....2.5 years on we are still treating, still getting ulcer flares but the diarrhoea is a thing of the past. Most recent flare up has led to allergy blood test to make sure the ulcers aren't allergic in nature. Good luck

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