Watery stools in horses - information is often decisive

An unattractive sight for onlookers: brown streaks running down from the horse's rump along its hind legs. Partly sticky, partly still oozing, they keep horse owners on their toes.

Unsightly view for spectators: brown sleeves that pull down from the horse's rear along the back tracks. Partly glued, partly still wet, they keep horse owners powerfully busy.

Cleaning costs time and nerves. Many are at the end of their tether and hope to be rescued from their predicament. They have tried many things. Nothing has helped.
If you and your horse are affected, you are probably holding on to every last straw. That's understandable.

Watery stools in horses - an unpleasant thing that is often accompanied by complete helplessness. Perhaps we can provide you with some useful information that you may not have thought of. Or, in the best case, it could even help you and your darling. That would be in our interest.

Is watery stool a horse disease?

No, it is not an independent disease of the animal. It is rather a reaction to a certain cause, which unfortunately has to be found in the end. However, watery stools can occur as a "concomitant symptom" of an intestinal disease, for example, or a vitamin/mineral deficiency. It is always advisable to consult a veterinarian if your horse is generally lacking in fitness or if other symptoms (e.g. fever, loss of appetite, reluctance to move, restlessness, weight loss, etc...) are also present.

This can ultimately be a clear indication of an equine disease. The veterinarian will also check whether parasites or viral/bacterial causes can be ruled out. In addition, an allergy should be considered and attention paid to weather sensitivity of the animal (often seniors). Nothing like that?

Let's look for other causes!

Keyword: horse feeding.

What goes in at the front comes out at the back, as we all know. That's right. That's why it's important to take a closer look at the beginning.

What kind of feed does your horse get? Hay, haylage, silage, muesli, all-day pasture with little hay?

There are so many possibilities - which is the right one?

Now, every horse's organism is different and not all animals automatically have the same metabolism. This can be due to genetics and health. For example, one horse tolerates hay ad libitum well and another not at all. What is right for a well-trained sport horse may be too much for a less stressed leisure horse.

To put it in a nutshell: This is exactly why it is difficult to find the trigger of watery stools in horses. But back to horse feeding:

- haylage, silage fodder or generally fermented feedstuffs

- insufficient grinding of coarse, straw-like hay (have your horse's teeth been checked?)

- Straw supplementary feed/straw bedding

- Feed rations that are too large/too small

- Feed supplements (Is the dose correctly adjusted to the weight of your animal?)

- Poor quality hay/straw

- Change from pasture feeding to pure hay feeding

- Too much grain and/or too much pasture

- Flavourings, binders, preservatives and colourings

- Grazing on and off

- Too much concentrated feed

- rapid change of feed

could have an influence on faecal discharge.

Now what?

Pay meticulous attention to what goes into the trough/rack! Convince yourself of the condition and quality of the feed. Only perfect horse feed is allowed in the horse! Avoid additives (see above) and keep to a nutrient supply in line with requirements (watch out for zinc deficiency)! Maybe you can already achieve a lot with a gentle change of feed.

In addition, the intestinal environment should be strengthened again. Herbs should be added to the horse's feed as a home remedy for watery stools. These counteract inflammation, stimulate the flow of bile and stabilise the intestinal flora. Linseed cake also has a positive effect on the intestines.

In the case of watery stools in horses, home remedies certainly have priority for the time being. Of course you want to help your treasure as quickly as possible and as gently as possible. Pectin-rich feed (e.g. dried carrot and beetroot chips, apple pomace) or the addition of lignocellulose offer a possibility to drain the intestine.

Indian psyllium is also said to be a good choice. Its water-binding capacity is enormous. Care must be taken to use the correct dosage, as these plant seeds swell strongly. Even sand can be transported out of the intestine with these miracle particles. A home remedy with success value for diarrhoea or watery stools of horses. Interesting, isn't it?

Speaking of water. Are your drinking troughs checked regularly and cleaned promptly? Is it tap water or well water? The latter requires periodic testing for drinking water quality! You can even get the test for this yourself at the pharmacy.

Stress - is this a cause of watery stools?

Yes. In fact, watery stools in horses do not necessarily have to be caused by feeding problems. Stress can also play a significant role and have a strong influence on the "equine disease".

Stress factors to be aware of are:

- low rank in the herd

- inappropriate husbandry

- training and/or tournament stress

- overstraining in general

- too long without food

- Busy stable

- separation from conspecifics

- Horse Heat

- a mare on heat in the vicinity of geldings/stallions (yes, geldings can also be stressed by this).

As you can see, watery stools in horses are a tricky business. It's not a big deal if it's minor, but if your horse has constant or recurring problems with it, the source of the problem should be investigated. And ask around. Experience is sometimes worth its weight in gold.