Tip of the Week – Colic or Diarrhea

Horses may have colic without diarrhea, diarrhea without colic, and colic with diarrhea, depending on the cause.

Colic is defined as acute abdominal pain.  Colic does not indicate the cause, location, or source of the abdominal pain.

Diarrhea is defined as passage of fecal material that has increased water content.

There are many types and causes of colic such as: ulcers, dysbiosis (imbalance of good and bad bacteria and yeast), leaky gut syndrome, gas distension, obstruction/impaction, intestinal twists, hernias, foreign bodies, parasites, toxins, medications, infections (bacterial, fungal, and viral), spasms, and more.

There are also many possible causes of diarrhea such as: ulcers/dysbiosis/leaky gut syndrome, parasites, toxins, infections (bacterial, fungal, and viral), medications (NSAIDs/antibiotics), cancer, and more.

Some cases of diarrhea and colic can self-correct, while others require medical and/or surgical treatment.  Some cases can become chronic and severely affect the horse’s health even resulting in death.

Preventative care is the best option!  Provide good quality feed, hay, pasture, and water.  Adding digestive enzymes and pre/probiotics will improve digestion and promote a healthy GI tract.  Only a few products available in the U.S. have the beneficial yeast clinically proven to survive past the stomach and treat the large intestine/colon, where diarrhea originates from.  KLPP is one of them.  Monitor and control parasite load.  Keep up with dental care.  Limit the use of medications and dewormers to only when necessary.    Administer pre/probiotics to protect the GI tract when giving medications that may cause problems, such as antibiotics.

If your horse is colicing and/or has diarrhea, contact your veterinarian for medical advice.   Flunixin meglumine (Banamine) is often recommended to help manage the pain and protect from toxins.  Some essential oils may be beneficial when applied to the abdomen and under the upper lip, such as Peppermint and DiGize.  Most veterinarians will recommend hand walking to stimulate normal gut motility.  Sometimes a trailer ride can be beneficial to “get things moving.”  With your veterinarian’s approval, giving KLPP orally can help with gas, ulcers, and irritation in the stomach and intestines.

This tip was brought to you by John J. Hanover, DVM and KAM Animal Services, home of KAM’s “Equine Learning Circle” FREE webinars.  These webinars are an expansion of KAM’s weekly tips.  Go to www.kamanimalservices.com for more information.

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