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Well-known member
Apr 11, 2004
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Premont, tx
I have a quiestion about the article that came up when I got on the horse pages. I tried to e-mail the author, but It keeps getting returned as an invalid address.

This is part of the article.

(If a horse has been ill, and antibiotics have been used
to rid the horse of persistent infection, the drugs may
have killed off the beneficial intestinal bacteria as well
as the bad. (The good bacteria, present in the gut of
all horses, help prevent invasion by harmful bacteria or
fungi. In addition, they help the horse gain the maximum
nourishment from his food.) Eating manure may help the
horse replenish the good bacteria. )

I have a mare that was starved and abandonded. I have had her for 14 months now and she had gained a little over 400lbs and still needs a little more. (mostly muscle over the rump and back). She was on antibiotics in oct and then again in Jan. for pnemonia. My vet gave me some tubes of probotics but she wouldn't take them. (She is much bigger and stronger than me now.) I bought some of the powder probotics to put in her feed. My vet gave me 2 tubes and said to give her 1/3 tube a
day, so I gave her the powder for 6 days. Her manure looked good for about a week and then went back to the way it was. So, what I need to know is, how long do I need to give it to her. She is on Nutrena Prime and pasture, she won't eat hay at all. Only the leaves out of alfalfa. I haven't had a chance to talk to my vet yet,due to a couple of deaths in his family. This mare has had a problem with her digestive system since I
brought her home. Aside from being starved she was full of tapeworms and when she would go, it looked more like a pile a colt would leave, not a 15 hand mare. She was given mineral oil once for compaction and is now on a laxative (sand clear) once a month because its sandy here. And I'm parinoid now about colic.She has been wormed for the tapeworms twice this year, once in Jan and once in Feb. She was also wormed for them in Oct, but tested positive for them in Jan.

I would appreciate any input. Thank you.

This is the email address listed for the article. If you can get it to work please forward this. Mayby its just my computer. We had a virus in Jan and its been kind of funny ever since.

[email protected] <[email protected]>

If she has put on 400lbs and is putting on muscle then it sounds like she is well on the road to recovery. As far as antibiotics killing bacteria in the digestive system, my experience hs been that it, for the most part, only happens when the animal is on long term antibiotics, 3 to 4 weeks plus. Also the bacteria is easily bought back through different products.

The first thing you should do is contact your Vet, be sure to tell the Vet about the other products you have given, ie; wormers, sand colic products, mineral oil, powdered probotics, antibiotics. Also that she is now on spring grass... it seems to me that it's a lot of stuff to send through her system and expect the stools to be normal. Just my opinion, I would talk to your Vet and because she is gaining weight and muscle just put her on regular worming schedule and let her system relax for a while.

Just my opinion,
My vet was the one who gave her the antibiotics. She was on the antibiotics for 2 1/2 weeks in jan. He knows that she has been on the sand colic stuff and she is on a regular worming schedule. The reg. wormer doesn't kill tapeworms so she had to be wormed with a special wormer . He is also the one that gave her the mineral oil (She was constipated in Nov. and hadn't gone in 3 days) and the tubes of probotics(in Jan.when she was on the antibiotics). So you can see that I didn't just heap all this stuff on her at once.

I didn't mean to ruffle any feathers...sorry. Maybe I missed your question. I have, I'm postitive, a higher then average knowledge of Vets and Vet med...but I'm not a Vet. I'm fairly sure that 2 1/2 weeks on antibiotics is not long enough to kill the digestive systems bacteria. Many kids, adults, dogs, cats, ect., are routinly placed on antibiotics for 14 days without a problem. Your vet may have been covering all his bases and making a little more money while he was at it... BUT, I'm not trying to second guess your vet. Vet med is a business, any add ons they can sell means more money in the bank. Again, I'm not trying to second guess your vet from afar. I know Vets well enough to have gone though 4 before I found one that I liked and did not make me feel like I was paying for his new truck. when in doubt a second opinion is always wise.

My point about your horse was that if she has good weight gain and is putting on muscle her digestive system sound like its working fine. With all the stuff she has been given, MY OPINION FROM WHAT YOU HAVE SAID, is to take her off all the extra for a couple of months and put her on a stable, consistent diet and see if her stool returns to normal. Again I may have missed your question.

Not to offend, just my opinion
No feathers ruffeled. I was just clarifying that she wasn't on everything in just the last month. Sorry if it came off wrong. Her stool has not been normal since I brought her home. If you had seen her when I brought her home youd have been stunned. Every morning I went out into the pasture and was suprised that she was still alive. I have been trying to get more fiber(roughage) into her diet. Maybe that will help, but I cant get her to eat hay. I have a decent pasture in the winter,(when it rains) but come summer it will dry up to nothing. Shes had her teeth floated twice since I got her, and has no problem with her grain, but just won't eat hay. Not even the fresh, right out of the field stuff. Any ideas?
Well, it sounds like your doing it the right way she has good weight gain. Have you tried putting her in a stall with good quality orchard grass (alfalfa may be to hot for her) or what ever the equivilant to orchard grass is in your area? Controlling her diet and exercise for a couple of weeks to get her use to hay? Of course the diet change will mess her up for a little while, but seems like you have to have a horse that will eat hay in the winter months. If she was starved she may just not be use to it.

Around here we don't feed hay in the winter, we have to feed it in the summer. I have tried locking her in a stall/pen with good bermuda hay, but all I get is a hungry horse that is loosing the weight I have been trying to put back on her. My vet suggested the alfalfa to get her started and help with the weight gain. But she picks the leaves out of that and leaves the stems. My gelding eats it as though it was candy. Someone sure did a number on her. I don't see why, she is avery well mannered(for a mare), well broke horse. My 7yr old rides her.
Terri...any type of roughage for your horse is good...she needs it as you know. Some horses won't eat alfalfa stems, especially if it was a late cutting. I'm not a Vet so please don't take this info as "medical advice". You might let her eat the leafy alfalfa and then offer the stemy hay to your gelding. Also, have you tried alfalfa pellets?...anything with roughage in it.

Does she have a quality mineral tub?? Sometimes these molasses tubs will stimulate their appetite for roughage. Considering what you said about her weight & condition, anything appropriate she will eat shouldn't hurt her for the weight gain.

She still might be getting her gut stabilized after all of the "medical" treatment she has received...just watch her closely and monitor her intake and manure characteristics.

Incidentally, we use the "Remuda Tub" mfg. by Bio Remedies out of Garden City, KS. Little pricey; however, it has lots of good things in it and all of our horses love it! We are also using their "Total Equine" (15% protein) pellets along with horse quality alfalfa, and bermuda pasture. We had tried Moorman's PowerGlo; however, it has been extremely difficult to find a reliable supplier and decided to stop using it. We also used Purina Strategy; however, it is also difficult to get in our area. We think the Bio Remedies "Total Equine" is a better deal (price, quality, and ease of acquiring it--they'll deliver it direct to our place).

We don't feed the Generic and minor brand horse feeds at our facility--horses are too important to feed junk. Quality doesn't cost that much more in the long run.
Thanks for th information Running Arrow Bill. My horses are on the Nutrena Prime. 14% I think. My mare is getting 12lbs (weighed) a day plus turnout on the bermuda. When it rains. Thats kinda iffy in my part of S. Texas. This year has been really wet though. There are mineral blocks in each stall and they have access all day. They are also on vitamins. I tried the molasses tubs but they were fighting over it and I found that it is difficult to get molasses out of forelocks. And ears. And manes. And halters.
We have been...correction I have been monitoring her manure characteristics since I brought her home. My husband thinks I'm being parinoid, but he's never had a horse colic. Her piles look like something a small colt would leave. Very small "apples" in very small piles. LOTS of small piles. They are getting bigger. My vet said it may be because she was so full of tapeworms. Only time will tell. I just hope I can get her eating hay when summer rolls around or she may loose the weight I have been putting on her. The rain (and grass) won't last much longer. I'm surprised its lasted this long. Last year it rained on March 28th (daugheters b-day) and then nothing until the 3rd of July. I didn't think this mare would last the summer, not with the temp at 115 for 2 months straight. Horses would stand next to the water hose and wait for me to come out and hose them off.

My neighbour told me to sell her, but she's well trained and pretty. I'm hoping my daughter will be able to show her for 4-H next year.
The length of time your horse was on antibiotics was definitely enough time to kill of beneficial bacteria as well as harmful bacteria. The probiotics is a good idea.

You really need to find a way to get more roughage into this horse. With her eating just the fines and leaving the stems, she is setting herself up for colic. Horses need roughage to move the contents of the gut on through the digestive system. Is there another kind of roughage you can find that she'll eat? I've never used it, but what about beet pulp or something along that line?

Also, alfalfa hay can change the pH of the gut. We feed alfalfa hay when we have to, as grass hay is difficult to find here. However, when we can get grass hay, we feed it. My husband has a gelding that had a mild colic a couple of years ago. He just doesn't tolerate alfalfa hay very well at all, but does fine on grass hay. If we're in a pinch and are having to feed alfalfa hay, we add some barley straw (maybe a flake a day) to his ration and that gives him the roughage he needs. He isn't overly fond of the straw, but it works.

In a neglected horse, the gut may have some permanent damage from past episodes of colic.

How about the hot temperatures? Does your mare have free choice hay & water available to her? I'm thinking she may be more willing to eat when it's cool at night.

She sounds like a very nice horse and she also sounds lucky to have found you.
I've had her to the vet once already because she turned up her nose at her food. He donned the OB glove and said she was compacted and gave her the mineral oil. She hasn't had colic since I've had her, Brought her home on Feb 21st last year.
She won't eat the beet pulp. My vet said that she may have some gut damage due to the starvation and the tapeworms. She has no problem eating her grain in the heat and always has hay, water and when we do get rain, grass. I haven't noticed a appetite/temperature decline.
I've always been a sucker for a starved/hurt animals. Fortunately, my husband is the same way.
I feed our horses probiotics every day and our milk cows get probiotics also, along with our dog.
Any time an animal is wormed or given antibiotics their intestional flora is all messed up... antibiotics kill good bacteria along with the bad, so you need to innoculate the stomach with probiotics. That is why a horse or cow or dog will eat stool...they are telling you they need good bacteria in their stomachs. We have found out also..anytime we have one of our milk cows or calves go off feed they are given the gel...within a couple hours they are back on feed.
We use Fastrack brand, and I am signed up with Conklin to get it at lowest cost. Email me if you would like to know how to do this also.
We had a mare colic on us three years ago, and luckly I had a tube of Fastrack Equine Gel on hand... I gave her 4 cc and in 40 minutes she was over the colic. Since then we top dress all their feed with the powder form of Fastrack.
Hope this helps.
Sandy Phipps
[email protected]

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