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Despite the fact that a cause is often not found, treatment is often very similar for all cases, with supportive, therapeutic management offered. Diarrhea in horses is usually a very easily noticed disease characterised by watery, frequent diarrhea that can quickly lead to massive fluid loss and dehydration. If your horse is suffering from this condition, it is vital a veterinarian is contacted to provide care.
Diarrheal disease in horses, or colitis (inflammation of the colon) is a very common disorder that affects thousands of horses every year. This disease can be caused by many different factors, these include infectious agents such as Salmonella serovars, poisonings and sand enterocolopathy. As there are many possible causes of this condition, diagnostics may be time consuming and a definitive cause is found in less than half of all cases.
The most obvious symptom of diarrheal disorder in horses is excessive watery diarrhea. Other symptoms that you may observe are:
Another symptom that may be seen is red gums and a toxic line – a pink to purple discoloured line on the gums around the incisors. This is caused by endotoxemia, the build up of the toxin lipopolysaccharide (LPS) in the blood due to the breakdown of excessive levels of gram negative bacteria.
Diarrhea is seen when an excess of water is present in the manure, this can be caused by a range of conditions. This can cause a rapid loss of fluid, leading to dehydration, low blood pressure and reduced blood flow to vital organs which can result in shock. This condition is often caused by damage to the cell wall, this can be caused by:
Your veterinarian will carefully examine your horse, performing a head to tail examination. During this time, they will carefully listen to the heart, lungs and gastrointestinal tract. While auscultating the gastrointestinal tract, they may hear hypermotile intestinal sounds, typical of this disorder. Your veterinarian will discuss your horse’s clinical history with you. Your veterinarian may also choose to perform the following diagnostic tests:
The specific type of treatment will vary depending on the underlying cause of the disease (and if this can be determined). However often the following treatments are indicated
If endotoxemia has occurred further, carefully monitored treatment may be required (intravenous therapy, medication, anti-endotoxin serum).
The prognosis for your horse varies depending on the underlying cause of the condition, some horses may require very little supportive care, while others may require intensive care and hospitalisation. Further steps of supportive care you can offer your horse are
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Diarrheal Disease Average Cost
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