SLICK IS SICK. What my Vet said to do while I waited…

For the last week, I’ve been writing about Giardia, Salmonella and Equine MSRA… it was as if I was having a premonition or something…

Because last night – on a Friday night, of course – Slick started runny, wetter than wet diarrhea while I was feeding.

Me:  “What in the heck was that?!”

Slick:  “Sorry. I can’t help it.”

Me:  “Are you OK?!”

Slick:  “I don’t know.  I feel OK…”

Me:  “Why did you wait until Friday night to tell me?”

Slick:  “The vet told me that if I got sick on the weekend, he’d palm me an apple!”

Me:  Sigh.

Well, it wasn’t really like that as I’m sure my vet would never make a deal with Slick, but it does seem to me that my horses get sick on Friday nights…

Anyway, even though Slick looked OK and seemed OK, I was very worried since I had just learned all about Giardia, MSRA and Salmonella in equines!

Would he colic?

Would this spread?

I looked at his back end and saw the manure all over his back legs.  This must have started sometime earlier today.  Sigh.

So, of course, I called the vet.

Slick. My 19 year-old Shetland pony. I’ve had him since he was 2.


I’m such a worrier when my horses get sick because they rarely get sick… and when they have become ill, it has been bad.  So, I tend to become very fretful.  I have to keep my emotions in check.

“Did you tell my horses that if they got sick over the weekend you’d give them an apple?”

Vet (long pause):  What?

“Aw nevermind… it just seems that my horses always get sick at night or on the weekends.”

Vet:  “That’s what everybody says… What’s up?”

“Well, I’ve been reading up on Giardia, MRSA and Salmonella and…”


I explained to my vet that Slick appeared absolutely fine except for the diarrhea.  He had no temperature, he was eating and drinking, he didn’t seem colicky, he appeared normal acting – the only difference is that lately he seemed to have lost weight – but I attributed that into my changing hay…

The vet said that he would happily come out.  However, if Slick had a bad bug like Giardia, MRSA or Salmonella, he would be very ‘off’.

“He wouldn’t be eating… he would look ill, act ill and you would know.”

With no temp, normal eating/drinking and normal behavior – but loss of weight – the vet thought it was sand or dirt in his gut.

Now, Slick has been in the same pasture for a very long time and never had sand or dirt in his gut…  But, I was willing to suspend disbelief and treat him for that until Monday rolled around.

You see, the vet said that there were no labs to run the blood or stool samples so if he came out, he would only guess at this point.   The vet figured he may as well tell me over the phone what to do – and then come by on Monday… as long as Slick’s symptoms did not worsen.

OK.  What do I do?


As long as his symptoms didn’t get worse, the best things to do were:

1)  Serve him really, really wet and gloppy beet pulp (soaked pellets).  My vet felt that wet beet pulp clears the gut equally as well as any product designed for this.

2)  Fill a syringe with yogurt and 2 oz of Pepto Bismal.  (Slick weighs 250lbs)  This will ease his stomach lining and put some good bugs back in quickly.  (I also have other supplements for that….)

Poor Guy.  He will hate me when I do this to him.

3)  Do the ‘sand-poop thing’.  Take a baggie, invert it, pick up some poop, revert it, fill the bag with some water and hang it diagonally so the sand falls to the bottom of the bag.  In this way, you can see the sand and know the culprit.

Or, if the manure is too runny, put on a glove and feel the sand in the manure as you rub it between your fingers.

4)  What my old tyme vet said to do was feed the pony tapioca pudding for a week straight – morning and night.  The tapioca pearls will adhere to the sand and drag it out.


I’m watching Slick as if he was an egg.

I’ll keep you posted.

Monday can not come around quick enough…

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HORSE AND MAN is a blog in growth... if you like this, please pass it around!

9 comments have been posted...

  1. Ritambhara Tyson

    I’m not getting your blog notification on Facebook any more. Are you still posting it there?

  2. Jody Brittain

    Libby just started in with very runny Diarrhea today! I am waiting for the first really good frost, has not happened yet, So looks like I am picking up wormer tomorrow! and a shot of Probiotics. She gets diarrhea EVERY STINKIN’ winter! and always needs a serving of probiotics! Will worm her, then give her the biotics a few days later.

  3. Ruby

    I also had same problem with an aged exmoor pony and that turned out to be worms even though I used regular worming programme, guess sometimes they just dont work sufficiently

  4. Moiselle Bruns

    We just lost our blue hen throughbred mare last night! I totally understand your anxiety!

  5. Jan Schell

    I have one with with diarrhea too. Suspicious of acorns…
    Hope slick feels better soon!

  6. Morgan Griffith

    Oh no. Have so many people I know who have sick horses. Hope everything comes out alright vs just coming out. I don’t have horses so can’t offer advice just prayers and wishes

  7. MET

    Oh dear, Dawn. I have had this worry periodically with my 30-year-old QH. And he has also seemed fine (for the most part – he clearly doesn’t want to do any groundwork when this is at its worst).

    My vet told me this is common with older equines – so common she said there should be a support group for the owners.

    We have tried many things (including Sucralfate – ground up and fed in his mash), Equine Succeed, and a psyllium product with pre- and probiotics. None of this cured it (psyllium made it worse), he would still have it periodically, including “wet farts” where his bum and legs would get covered as well as his tail. I also tried four weeks of Gastrogard six months ago but he had a flare-up three weeks in, so that wasn’t it (happily, the cost of that med is prohibitive).

    I am having good success with Stomach Soother, a papaya puree (that he loves). He has been on it twice a day for about a month and a half and his bum has become spotless (or nearly so) most nights. And it has been great for his appetite and general well-being. Cost is about $60/month – might be less for a 250-pound pony.

    Good luck and keep us up to date!

  8. Ruth Wittmann

    This happened with one of my horses about 6 months ago. No other symptoms except diarrhea. Turned out she had worms. Even though she was on a regular working schedule. Started using Horseman’s Lab to test the poop and worm based on that. Have her Panacure Power Pack and than started her on probios until back to normal. We live in Florida and our vet told us that because we did not have a winter last year worms have been bad this year. I have also had to worm our dogs a couple of times this year and I have never had to worm them. Hope everything turns out ok.

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