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Answer Exchange

  • Q:

    My four-month-old Warmblood has had long-term diarrhea. He seems happy and healthy otherwise. He spends about 10 hours each day on pasture and gets hay and oats in the morning and evening. Can you help me, please?

  • A:

    Because both noninfectious and infectious causes for diarrhea in foals are well-documented, I recommend consulting with your veterinarian to determine the cause of the diarrhea and determine the best medical treatment and management practices. Treatment generally includes antibiotics as well as anti-ulcer and antidiarrheal medications.

    If your foal is suffering from noninfectious diarrhea, a change in diet may help. Overfeeding and the consumption of indigestible material (such as fibrous roughage, dirt, and sand) can lead to diarrhea in foals. Without knowing the amount of hay and oats your foal is receiving and how long he has been on this diet in relation to his diarrhea, it is difficult to suggest improvements in his diet.

    Oats are a good source of calories, but they are deficient in nutrients vital to proper growth and development. Oats should be supplemented with a ration balancer to provide complete, balanced nutrition for growing horses. Alternatively, selecting a feed formulated for young, growing horses fed in accordance with the manufacturer’s feeding directions can be a more effective feeding practice. If the colt is receiving a small amount of concentrate feed (oats) per day to maintain growth and condition, then offering a ration balancer pellet would provide him with balanced nutrition without excessive calories. 

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