How to Treat Diarrhea in Foals

February 7, 2022

Foal diarrhea is more than messy and difficult to deal with—it can be downright scary for horse owners. Partly why it's so dangerous is because dehydration happens so quickly. Young foals can develop life-threatening dehydration with serious diarrhea (also known as scours) in as few as six to eight hours, leaving you little time to prevent lasting damage or even death. Diarrhea is not only dangerous, it's prevalent, with one or more bouts occurring in more than half of foals through weaning age. 

So how do you stop bacterial or foal heat diarrhea in its tracks and keep your young horses happy and healthy? In this article, Pink Buckle horse breeder, Lance Robinson, discusses why it's important to treat scours in his highbred foals and how he uses Daily Gold Syringe to do it. Read or watch his story below!

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Meet Pink Buckle Breeder Lance Robinson

As a horse breeder, I breed dozens of mares every year, and always try to breed at the top of the market. We’re serious about our business, and most of our mares are champions or produce champion racehorses and rodeo horses worth at least $100,000.

That’s why during foaling season, we live with our foals. We check on them every few hours, get up in the middle of the night and walk through the barn to make sure they’re comfortable. We keep a clean, sanitary foaling barn and try to do everything the best we can for our horses—but still, when dealing with animals, you have challenges.

One of the most serious challenges we face is foal diarrhea. It can quickly lead to dehydration and death if not reversed. Or if the diarrhea drags on for weeks, it can cause colitis and stunt the foal’s immune system enough that it can’t be sold at top market. That’s why we stay on top of diarrhea and treat it at the very first sign.

Screenshot (182)-1Recently one morning, we discovered three of our foals had loose stools and wet tails. Instead of using one of our typical charcoal-based treatments—which can be administered for a long time without much success—this time we tried something different. Upon recommendation, we gave all three foals the Daily Gold Stress Relief Syringe. To our amazement, the foals’ tails were dry by evening chores. That was a "wow" moment for us! We knew there was something to this product, that we really liked it, and we needed more of it.

Since then we’ve started using the Daily Gold Stress Relief Syringe all the time. Now that we’ve found it, it’s a must-have product. We use the Daily Gold Syringe, and we love it. I don’t want to foal mares anymore without having a lot of it in my barn.

—Lance Robinson

Why Do Foals Get Diarrhea?

It can be difficult to diagnose the cause of scours in foals. However, according to this AAEP article on Foal Diarrhea, veterinarian Roberta M. Dwyer notes it can be caused by:

  • Viruses, bacteria, or parasites (up to 50% of diarrheic foals under 30 days old are caused by bacteria)
  • Non-infectious conditions such as lactose intolerance
  • Foal heat diarrhea stemming from normal physiological changes in the foal’s gut after birth

How to Treat and Prevent Foal Diarrhea

A sure telltale sign of scours in a foal is a wet, manure-soiled tail. This National Institute of Health article on foal diarrhea notes fecal consistency can range from watery to pasty, with different colors, and may contain blood or casts. 

Horse owners should also monitor foals less than 30 days old closely for colic or hypermotility, as these are indications of digestive disturbance. Seek help from your vet if the problem is severe or lasts more than a couple of days. The following practical measures can also help you treat and prevent diarrhea in foals.

1. Check for & Treat Infection

An above-normal temperature, increased heartrate or respiration that accompanies diarrhea can indicate an infection. If your foal is diagnosed with diarrhetic infection, separate it from other foals to prevent the spread. Also be cautious about administering an antibiotic too quickly or without vet approval. Dr. Dwyer notes why:

"Owners should not reach for antibiotics when they discover a foal with diarrhea. Indiscriminate use of antibiotics can complicate some diarrhea cases by killing off 'good' bacteria found in the foal’s gut. Antibiotic decisions should be left to the veterinarian."

Ensuring your foal is adequately nursing and receiving high-quality colostrum from its dam during its first weeks of life will also bolster its immune system and ability to fight off harmful germs. 

2. Replenish Fluid & Equine Electrolytes

Electrolytes are critical for hydration, and horses lose copious amounts through loose manure. Supportive care for foals with serious diarrhea often includes IV therapy to replace lost fluids and electrolytes like potassium, sodium, and chloride. Foals often dehydrate rapidly, so watch for these signs accompanying diarrhea: 

  • Sunken eyeballs
  • Prolonged skin tent
  • Depression
  • Weakness
  • Anorexia
  • Salivation
  • Teeth grinding

3. Consider an Intestinal Protectant

Your vet may also recommend an intestinal protectant to coat and soothe your foal's gastrointestinal tract. Medications or supplements for gastric ulcer prevention may also be prescribed, as ulcers in compromised foals is, surprisingly, quite common.  In fact, this National Institute of Health article reports ulcers occur in 25% to 57% of foals

4. Try Natural Bentonite for Horses

This Kentucky Equine Research article notes some foals respond well to treatment with oral bentonite, such as Redmond's Daily Gold Stress Relief Syringe. Bentonite is a natural clay that balances pH, binds toxins, coats and soothes the intestinal wall, replaces minerals and electrolytes, and heals and prevents equine ulcers. This National Institute of Health article also notes bentonite is effective at improving gut health in horses and the proliferation of good bacteria.

Daily Gold syringe benefits-1

Daily Gold Stress Relief Syringe - Best Treatment for Foal Diarrhea

If you want rapid, gentle relief to resolve your foal's diarrhea, try the Redmond Daily Gold Syringe. It contains only three natural ingredients: water, hydrated bentonite clay, and peppermint oil. You can use our syringe as an all-in-one treatment to prevent and resolve all of the symptoms and causes of diarrhea mentioned above. Here's how it works:

  • Binds toxins and harmful bacteria.
  • Delivers 60+ minerals and critical electrolytes to help rehydrate foals.
  • Prevents and heals equine ulcers and other gastric irritations by buffering acid and coating the gut lining.
  • Increases the population of good bacteria and improves nutrient absorption.

Do you have a foal on the way? Daily Gold Stress Relief Syringe is an effective and affordable way to quickly treat foal diarrhea and help your young horse thrive during the first critical months after birth. Click below to shop now and get prepared!

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