Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Reader Beware...

Just a small disclaimer... this isn't a very "clean" post, so if you have a weak stomach, it's best you move on.

There. Now you can't say I didn't warn you.

Lilly gets diarrhea ALL the time. (Like how I dove right in?) I've tried to tie it to something, but have failed miserably. I think it is related to her heat cycle, but I'm the jury is still out on that one. Last year, she had diarrhea pretty much all summer long. I had the vet out a couple of times and we found nothing. No worms, no abnormal blood work, nothing. We tried a power pack worming deal, gave her antibiotics, SMZs, probiotics, and I even put her on daily dewormer hoping it would help. Because she had it continuously, we decided it wasn't related to her heat cycle either. We tried moving her to a new pasture thinking maybe there was something out there she was eating that was disagreeing with her. Nothing helped. I ended up 'giving up' because she seemed fine other than the diarrhea. She was well hydrated and eating fine, so we took a wait and see approach. There were many days where I couldn't ride because her poor little butt cheeks were so red and tender from having manure sitting on it all day. I had to wash her entire back end, along with her tail, every single day. Then I coated it with Desitin to give her some relief. It was awful.

It was a really hot summer here last year. I was starting to think that maybe her body couldn't handle the heat, so I toyed with different sheets and creative ways to keep her cool. Where I board, there aren't any stalls. It's all pasture board, or I would have tried putting her in a stall with a fan. I was starting to think I was going to have to move her to a different barn and try the stall idea. But by that time, fall had arrived and one day the diarrhea was gone. It just disappeared... poof. Gone. So I never really found out what it was. Was she in heat the entire summer? Was it too hot for her? Or was it something else? The world may never know.

So fast forward to this year... She was a little runny earlier this year. It wasn't bad enough that it coated her entire hind end and legs, though and it wasn't every day. Every now and then, though, it would be pretty bad and I'd have to wash her off. It seemed to be the worst when we had hot spells. It also seemed to be around the time I thought she was in heat.

On a side note, Lilly has never been one to show heat. I might see her out in the pasture 'winking' at Ricochet sometimes, but she's not crabby or anything. Once she's out of the pasture, you'd never know she was in heat. She's always a good girl.

I should have been taking notes on when she had diarrhea, but I was gone so much this year that keeping track would have been tough. Perhaps next year I'll be prepared and I can keep track to see if it's related to her heat cycle.

So my point here is, she's been having bad diarrhea again the past couple weeks. I was gone this weekend but when I went to ride yesterday, she was coated in manure and I had to bathe her hind end and wash her tail. It looked like it had been sitting on her skin for a couple of days because even her legs in spots were pink and tender. I never ride her when she's like that because I imagine the friction from being forced to trot/canter around the ring would be very uncomfortable for her. So she gets washed up and Desitin-ized and that's it.

I feel so bad for her!! If it is heat cycle related, is there anything I can do? If it something else is there a way I can prevent it? If she can't handle the heat, what do I do? It just seems impossible to fix because I don't really know why it is happening, and even with all of the scenarios, I can't think of anything to try that my vet and I haven't tried already.

Forget doing a google search, too, because if you type in 'mare' and 'diarrhea' you'll get a thousand hits on foal heat diarrhea. She doesn't have a foal!

So I'm really just venting, unless anyone has any ideas. I'm hoping once fall gets here and she perhaps stops cycling or the weather cools off, the diarrhea will go away. I'm sure I have next year to look forward to, though...


  1. What a bummer, quite the mystery. And I'm sure you just LOVE having to see her icky butt and wash it so frequently, ugh. The love of horses, hehe.

    Anyway, I searched a bit for you and found something about putting 2 egg whites in her feed, I guess once a day? Apparently this person said the bacteria from the eggs help if the good bacteria in their stomach is off. She said it worked for her horse. (eggs are also good for hooves I've heard, my BIL feeds them to his gelding)

    Did the vet look for ulcers? I read that was a common cause of it.

    Anyway, not much help, good luck! And fall is just around the corner, yay!

  2. Hmmm... eggs you say? I wonder if she would actually eat that. I might have to give it a try and see. I think probiotics work in a similar fashion, but maybe eggs are the key!

    The vet didn't check for ulcers... and I don't think she even suggested that. I'll have to do some research on that one.

    I just think it's odd that she only get this during the spring/summer. But you are correct, I do NOT enjoy cleaning crap off Lilly's butt! And what makes it even worse is that her legs are white. Ugh...