How Can I Combat My Senior Horse’s Loose Manure?

Why might replacing long-stem hay with hay pellets help resolve a senior horse’s loose manure? Our equine nutritionist weighs in.
Share
Favorite
Close

No account yet? Register

ADVERTISEMENT

How Can I Combat My Senior Horse’s Loose Manure?
Hay pellets might be less irritating to the hindgut lining than long-stem hay and could help inflammation-associated loose manure resolve. | Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt/The Horse

Q.My senior horse has always been somewhat prone to having loose manure. However, recently, it has become more consistent, despite the fact I haven’t changed anything in his diet. He currently gets grass hay and my vet recommended I feed him hay pellets instead. Why would this help?

A.Problems with loose manure are somewhat common in older horses, as is passing water before or after more normally formed fecal balls. Ideally water from the digestive tract is reabsorbed in the small colon before exiting the horse’s digestive tract, resulting in the production of well-formed fecal balls that slightly break apart when they hit the ground.

Loose manure indicates that something is not quite as it should be in your horse’s hindgut. In the best-case scenario the horse isn’t too bothered by the situation—his body condition might still be good and you might only have to dealing with a little manure in his tail and on his hind legs. However, this can becomes frustrating when tails and legs need almost daily washing to keep them clean so that they don’t attract flies. Also, the horse’s skin often becomes irritated by the manure or the frequent bathing

Create a free account with TheHorse.com to view this content.

TheHorse.com is home to thousands of free articles about horse health care. In order to access some of our exclusive free content, you must be signed into TheHorse.com.

Start your free account today!

Already have an account?
and continue reading.

Share
Favorite
Close

No account yet? Register

Written by:

Clair Thunes, PhD, is an equine nutritionist who owns Clarity Equine Nutrition, based in Gilbert, Arizona. She works as a consultant with owners/trainers and veterinarians across the United States and globally to take the guesswork out of feeding horses and provides services to select companies. As a nutritionist she works with all equids, from WEG competitors to Miniature donkeys and everything in between. Born in England, she earned her undergraduate degree at Edinburgh University, in Scotland, and her master’s and doctorate in nutrition at the University of California, Davis. Growing up, she competed in a wide array of disciplines and was an active member of the U.K. Pony Club. Today, she serves as the district commissioner for the Salt River Pony Club.

Leave a Reply

Related Articles

Stay on top of the most recent Horse Health news with

FREE weekly newsletters from TheHorse.com

Sponsored Content

Weekly Poll

sponsored by:

Do you use slow feeders or slow feed haynets for your horse? Tell us why or why not.
288 votes · 288 answers

Readers’ Most Popular

Sign In

Don’t have an account? Register for a FREE account here.

Need to update your account?

You need to be logged in to fill out this form

Create a free account with TheHorse.com!