By Patty Wilber
If you are alive, you have probably looked at your own poop. (You can just admit it to yourself.)
If you have horses, you probably have looked at LOADS of poop. Partly, because someone has to clean the stuff up, and partly because the state of the “matter” can give some indication of equine health.
Roger and Mary Ann recently sponsored a horse from Walkin’ N Circles rescue and he got to come here. His name is Durango and he is a 12 to 15 year old Appaloosa gelding.
He started having trouble with soft stools right away. I wasn’t concerned because we were using the hay from the rescue, so no change of diet, and horses will often get a little runnier when stressed. Since he had just moved to our place, with opinionated mares and bossy Cometa as his neighbors, perhaps he was a wee bit concerned with his newest housing situation. But that sort of softening usually doesn’t last more than a day. Also, his back legs got a little “stocked-up”. Which means they got a little swollen,and while that is not terribly unusual, it isn’t often associated with simple stress.
Then they got softer. Then they got watery.
Then things solidified and his legs went back to normal. Whew.
Then it happened again (not much leg swelling).
So, we texted our Vet Friend Stacie Boswell and this is what we did:
We put him on a diet of fescue hay (weirdly, I had just purchased 35 bales). No alfalfa. No orchard grass. Which is a bit of a bummer as we have about 400 bales of that stuff in the barn.
We dewormed him. For obvious reasons.
We gave him Sand Clear to make sure there wasn’t any sand in his gut that might be bothering him.
We put him on daily probiotics to improve his gut flora.
So far so good. His poop has returned to normal and has stayed that way for a few weeks. It now looks something like this:
Durango’s doings are currently a lighter green than the rest of the crew because he is eating the fescue grass hay which is pale color. I did not think to take a picture of the hay, but it looks about like this, as far as color goes.
He was a little ribby when he came and I sure like alfalfa to help keep up body weight so I am hoping that we can switch him over to an orchard grass/alfalfa diet (also, we do have we have a barn full).
So, the plan is to make sure things are coming out well for a solid –get it?– three weeks , and then add a little bit of alfalfa and see what happens!