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Pam Ochs
New Member
Username: Ptochs

Post Number: 1
Registered: 5-2006
Posted on Sunday, May 14, 2006 - 10:35 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hello,

I'm new here, so please forgive me if I make mistakes. I have been looking around for a case like mine, but haven't found one yet.
I have a 15 yo TB who won't drink water. He hasn't drunk water for weeks. We have been managing him with soup-consistency senior feed/water/mineral oil given 6x daily and turnout on grass, supplemented by tubing. He has had gastroscopy twice, which revealed an ulcer and a much improved ulcer after gastrogard treatment. It was originally thought that pain from the ulcer was causing him to eat but not drink (he has an excellent appetite, will go through a charged electric fence to get to hay...). However, after a month of treatment with gastrogard and evidence that his ulcer is much improved, he still won't touch water. We've tried flavors, different wells, electrolyte/salt pastes administered orally, and pretty much anything anyone suggests. If we decrease the soupy feedings or tubing, his manure starts to firm up right away, and we've been through two impactions now, both resolved quickly when we administered enough fluid.
We are at our wits' end and rapidly running out of money. Has anyone heard of such a thing before? Is this "all in his head"? Is there some medical reason that he might be unwilling to drink but with a good appetite?

Thanks,
Pam
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joj
Member
Username: Jojo15

Post Number: 694
Registered: 12-2003
Posted on Sunday, May 14, 2006 - 11:17 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

egads, something at the water trough might have scared him.


I can't reply to the medical aspect of it. I would think an animal would die without water. and they know it. and if the tubing did any damage than he wouldn't eat either. So that doesn't make sense.

Have you tried beer... or cola... or let him drink out of small glass? or mixed some sugar in the water? or coffee or anything that horses love to drink...

My horse wouldn't drink outside the barn. which was dangerous on trails or 3 day camping trips, etc. But putting a little bleach in there solved that problem. he didn't like the smell of the water. Unless there is a medical problem that Dr. O can help with i would say its in his head...
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Pam Ochs
New Member
Username: Ptochs

Post Number: 2
Registered: 5-2006
Posted on Sunday, May 14, 2006 - 12:12 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Thanks. I should add, this all began when he was injured in the pasture (14 sutures on his hock) and the vet ordered him confined to his stall. We thought at first the colics were related to the sedative he needed initially for bandage changes, then to ulcers developed by the stress of being in the stall. Now we're out of explanations, and don't know why it started when it did.
Incidentally, the first colic was a gas colic. The second and third were impactions.

-Pam
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Ellie Leo
Member
Username: Skye

Post Number: 125
Registered: 5-2000
Posted on Sunday, May 14, 2006 - 12:32 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hi, Pam If you look under Horseadvice.com » Care for Horses » Nutrition » Minerals and Nutrition »and type in the word molasses, you'll find an interesting discussion on water and on molasses water.

Have you tried using different buckets for the water? Maybe the scent of one or more puts him off?
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ilona armoni
Member
Username: Ilona

Post Number: 97
Registered: 4-2005
Posted on Sunday, May 14, 2006 - 12:39 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

It sounds frightening. My horses ABSOLUTELY LOVE apple cider vinegar in their water. I always know I have put in a lot of the vinegar when I find that the whole 75 gallon trough of water has been sucked down in a morning (2 horses per tank)!! This is just when turned out, no exercise etc. That may be a flavor worth playing with. Have you thought of changing the location and receptacle from which he drinks. Maybe there is an association now with one of those. I'm curious to hear what Dr. O says.
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joj
Member
Username: Jojo15

Post Number: 695
Registered: 12-2003
Posted on Sunday, May 14, 2006 - 1:06 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

EVERY list i am on for any of my animals have started mentioning apple cider vinegar for all kinds of ailments. and water drinkage. and health properties... whats up with all this?

i think the horse is getting enough water from you and your fear of him not drinking that he's lost all interest in getting it on his own.

My horse has colic'd in the past. and when tubing he wouldn't drink at all for days after a tubing. he had gotten enough from all the tubing. and then add all the mash you are giving he is getting his daily allotment of water thru this. This is the worst case of "you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink"...

i just read your post again. can you stop tubing? or have already? and water down his hay. keep making him a mash and see where that leads?

Oh try popsicles... that is a source of water that horses love.
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Pam Ochs
New Member
Username: Ptochs

Post Number: 3
Registered: 5-2006
Posted on Sunday, May 14, 2006 - 3:20 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Thank you everyone for the suggestions, and the quick responses.
I think perhaps I haven't provided enough information about what we have tried.
We have tried decreasing the water we force on him. He impacts.
We don't give him hay - if we do, he impacts, and we have to take him off it and force more fluids into him (IV fluids work well, also).
We have tried every flavoring we can think of, plus water from different wells, in different locations, in different receptacles. He won't drink. He looks like he wants to sometimes, but he still won't.
I don't know if it is signficant, but sometimes when he is tubed he stands and grinds his teeth and looks uncomfortable for a while, which is what led us to think the problem was ulcers. However everything I am reading says he shouldn't be experiencing pain from the ulcers at this point.

I really appreciate all the questions and thoughts.

-Pam
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Tina Caldara
Member
Username: Martina

Post Number: 16
Registered: 12-2005
Posted on Sunday, May 14, 2006 - 3:36 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Pam, I don't know if it will help or not, but visit http://www.horsequencher.com Good luck!
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Julie Masner
Member
Username: Juliem

Post Number: 95
Registered: 9-2002
Posted on Sunday, May 14, 2006 - 5:43 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Just a thought, but you do mention you have a charged electric fence. Horses are very sensitive to electricity and there is a phenomenon called "stray voltage." This is when electricity has somehow "leaked" either through the ground or some less obvious route and if you have a metal trough or the ground around the trough gets wet, the horse can get a small shock when they try to drink. Once or twice and they associate that shock with drinking and won't attempt it again. It's not usually perceptible to people. This is a fairly common problem in dairy barns and requires a lot of extra grounding.
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Angie
Member
Username: Ajudson1

Post Number: 462
Registered: 6-2003
Posted on Sunday, May 14, 2006 - 9:32 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

One time our tank heater shorted out and our horses got shocked. Most of our horses were o.k. with the tank after the heater was replaced, but one took a long time to trust again to drink water out of it. She's the same horse who will walk thru swampy grass areas, but it she sees the water, she has a fit!!

Does he drink out of puddles? When our tank is dirty, our horses will drink out of puddles with manure run off in them....(so of course I try to keep the holes filled in) Will he drink out of a stream? Maybe he associates any container with a problem that scared him at one time, something someone did to him, or a bad experience he had.

Have you tried putting some salt on his grain? Just a tablespoon.

What a weird problem, there must be something that will work.

Do his teeth hurt when he drinks like mine do if cold water hits them??? Maybe if the above ideas don't work, what if you give him bute, then see if he drinks? A long shot, but something for pain first???
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Lita Dove
Member
Username: Oakfarm

Post Number: 25
Registered: 9-2002
Posted on Sunday, May 14, 2006 - 9:55 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Have you tried the water at different temperatures?

Different buckets?

Different locations?

Will he/can he eat fresh grass with fair amount of water content?

Have you had a competent vet/dentist check his teeth/mouth ALL the way back? (had an old horse here that turned out to have a cracked molar all the way in the back of his mouth.)
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Robert N. Oglesby DVM
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Username: Dro

Post Number: 15609
Registered: 1-1997
Posted on Monday, May 15, 2006 - 8:24 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

The problem of stray voltage is a real one has this been considered? Are other horses drinking from these buckets?

How long have you had this horse and how did this problem start Pam? Has there been any lab work done to see what the Hct and electrolyte status of this horse is? If a good history, physical exam, and inspection of the premises and water do not reveal any problems I would start there.
DrO
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Linda Sain
New Member
Username: Banthony

Post Number: 3
Registered: 12-2003
Posted on Monday, May 15, 2006 - 11:05 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Susanne - We have a 7 yr-old Oldenburg who is also a terrible water drinker. No stomach problems. And his mother is the same way.

We did find that when we offered him a bucket with a dribble of molasses and a small scoop of electrolytes he would drink some. We always offered a bucket of plain water too.

Also, I would ask if he is still on the Gastro Guard as he seems to still be showing signs of stomach discomfort. In which case the electrolytes might be very painful - salt in a wound thing.

Secondly - impaction, from my understanding, is as much a problem of poorly digestible hay as anything else. Can you feed him alfalfa? It helps with the drinking problem and is is much more easily digestible. If not maybe find a soft leaf grass hay like brome or orchard.
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Pam Ochs
New Member
Username: Ptochs

Post Number: 4
Registered: 5-2006
Posted on Monday, May 15, 2006 - 11:52 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

For the electric issue:
I don't see how there could be any stray voltage; all the water tubs are plastic freestanding and not near any electric fence, plus we handle them regularly to clean and refill and no other horse has had an issue.
We have had bloodwork done, plus two gastroscopies. The bloodwork was normal, didn't show any significant dehydration or problems with electrolytes. We were only giving him the salt to make him thirsty. We have tried every sort of flavor in the water imaginable, this is not about flavors. He is still on Gastroguard, plus Ranitidine and Sucralfate (sp?) plus Probios occasionally. We have tried chopped fodder (alfalfa/timothy) - it was just too much bulk for the amount of fluid he seemed to be consuming, that was between the second and third colics.
I'm going to try to summarize the course of this below, I apologize for the length.

This began about 6 weeks ago with a hock injury that required sutures and stall rest. Pior to that, he had been on field board with access to hay, eating a combination of a sweet feed and Ultium. (in fact, at one point we considered the possibility this was just an adjustment to different feed/lifestyle, but it has gone on too long for that) He was put on antibiotics, and required sedative for the daily bandage changes. We weren't monitoring water intake at that point. The first colic appeared to be a gas colic and resolved with Banamine.
Just under a week later he he became colicky again, and finally impacted. Banamine/tubing initially didn't resolve it. Our vet left the ng tube in overnight and we were able to tube him about 3 times (about 15 litres). The next day he went for his first gastroscopy as our vet suspected ulcers. A deep ulcer was seen in the lesser curvature of his stomach, and we started him on Gastroguard. He came home with orders for soaked senior feed and slow introduction to hay. Unfortunately, he was _hungry_, and went through a charged electric fence that night to get to hay in another paddock. We were turning him out somewhat at that point, thinking the stall rest was stressful and doing more harm than good, plus the hock was progressing fairly well. All his hay was soaked, and somewhere in there we switched to chopped alfalfa/timothy fodder, also soaked. We were also monitoring his water intake, and noticed that he was drinking very little. This is when we started trying all the flavors, to no avail. Our vet drew bloodwork, but as I said everything was normal. A week or so later, he impacted again, went to Morven again, had IV fluids and another gastroscopy, which showed the ulcer was much improved and the vets didn't think it should be causing him pain. At that point he went to the soupy senior feedings we are still giving him, with turnout on grass, no hay or fodder allowed. We also added the Ranitidine and Sucralfate and started tubing him, which is when we noticed that he sometimes appeared to be in pain after tubing. It has eased since then, but I still don't think he is drinking. Since the turnout we can't monitor his water intake as he is with other horses, but his stall buckets are untouched (he is brought in for his "soup" 6 or 7 times daily).
This past week I have had to move him to a layup facility as our barn manager went on vacation and there is nobody to feed him 7x daily. He seems to have adjusted well, but still won't drink.
I am wondering at this point whether this could be an enterolith? I have offered him water with my own hands at times, and he looks like he wants it, but turns away. He doesn't act spooked or scared, so I really don't think there has been a stray voltage issue.
Sorry for the length here! Hopefully this explains most of what we have ruled out.

-Pam
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Linda Sain
New Member
Username: Banthony

Post Number: 4
Registered: 12-2003
Posted on Monday, May 15, 2006 - 12:10 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Since it sounds like you have tried EVERYTHING - how about antibiotics? It hasn't been documented in horses, but certainly has been in humans that ulcers are caused by a bacteria.

Also - how about alfalfa cubes soaked into a soup?
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Diane Edmonds
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Username: Scooter

Post Number: 303
Registered: 9-2000
Posted on Monday, May 15, 2006 - 5:30 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hi, Pam since my horses have been on pasture their water intake has cut more than in half, they get hay at night and don't touch their water usually. If the blood tests don't show dehydration, doesn't that mean they are getting enough water? I'm not sure. Maybe something else is causing the colic such as a blockage as you said., or maybe the grass and the alfalfa is causing gas colic that appears to be an impaction colic??? Have you tried modifying his diet to just plain grass hay and maybe some soaked beet pulp. Just a thought.
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Julie Harrington
Member
Username: Bodie

Post Number: 11
Registered: 4-2002
Posted on Monday, May 15, 2006 - 9:27 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Pam,

How much water do you think he is getting from his "soup" mixtures? I'm just curious as to how that amount compares to what a horse would typically drink in a day. And at the layup facility, is he still turned out on grass?

Julie
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barbara
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Username: Oscarvv

Post Number: 733
Registered: 10-1999
Posted on Tuesday, May 16, 2006 - 7:27 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Pam,

I had a horse diagnosed with ulcers last fall. His main symptom was not drinking. He remained fat and shiny and eating. He was scoped and was treated with gastrogard for a month. He was rescoped after the month and the ulcers were gone. But it was recommended that we keep him on Ranitidine 3x a day for another month.

He is now on Ranitidine in the AM (before I ride) and then Neighlox at night. If I plan on showing him or anything stressful (like the dentist coming), he goes back on Ranitidine every 8 hours.

How often is he getting the Ranitidine? Have you tried giving him Gatoraid? Can you try him on Gastrogard for a few days and see if that helps? I know it's expensive. Does this mean he was rescoped and still showed ulcers?: "However, after a month of treatment with gastrogard and evidence that his ulcer is much improved"

Please keep us posted.
-Barbara
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Robert N. Oglesby DVM
Moderator
Username: Dro

Post Number: 15617
Registered: 1-1997
Posted on Tuesday, May 16, 2006 - 7:28 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

That's odd, if none of the blood work has ever indicated dehydration he appears to be getting adequate water. With approval of your vet I would slowly quit all the extra-special effort to get water in this horse and let his system readjust. Perhaps monitoring his PCV during this time would help you see what is going on. For more on water and hydration in horses see, Care for Horses » Nutrition » Water, Water Quality, and Watering Horses. I would continue him on grass and not hay however at least until a bit more about all this is figured out.

Was the impaction palpated or have these diagnoses been tentative (uncertain) and if so what were they based on?
DrO
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Gail Anderson
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Username: Gailkin

Post Number: 57
Registered: 11-2003
Posted on Thursday, May 18, 2006 - 3:29 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Just went to an all day horse symposium at our vet school. A vet mentioned that horses love water with chlorine in it. It doesn't take much; just what is left after cleaning out the trough or a little diluted spray added to their water. You might try that. Doesn't make a lot of sense but you never know.
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Ann
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Username: Dres

Post Number: 781
Registered: 10-2000
Posted on Thursday, May 18, 2006 - 5:10 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

oh that is so funny...I sometimes put oh a 1/4 cup of chlorine in my water tanks outside to help keep the algee down... the horses go crazy over the water... i almost worry that they will drink to much... i figured it can't hurt them.. we drink chlorine in our water in the cities..

On the first day God created horses, on the second day he painted them with spots..
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Shelley
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Username: Sswiley

Post Number: 150
Registered: 1-2005
Posted on Thursday, May 18, 2006 - 7:19 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

FYI, we have well water at our house and some of my horses have refused chlorinated water which includes almost any where away from home. . . . . . go figure
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Ellie Leo
Member
Username: Skye

Post Number: 126
Registered: 5-2000
Posted on Thursday, May 18, 2006 - 7:36 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

The amount of chlorine must be very important; it can be toxic.
A veteran horsewoman told me recently of a horse that wouldn't drink until they added powdered cherry jello to his water. She said less than 1 teaspoon per water bucket was the recommended amount and that she'd never seen a horse refuse it!
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Sara Wolff
Member
Username: Mrose

Post Number: 1361
Registered: 1-2000
Posted on Friday, May 19, 2006 - 7:18 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

A warning regarding the cherry jello. I once was at a show with a young horse who was refusing to drink. I also added cherry jello to her water. She loved it...just guzzled it down. The problem was she was a white mare with a pink upper lip and after drinking the cherry water she looked like Rudolph with the red nose. No amount of scrubbing took all the red off, and she went through the rest of the show with a glowing nose. So, be careful where you use it!

I've always shied away from using chlorine, so the above is very interesting. I hate the taste of it and just assumed the horses would too.
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Lilo
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Username: Lilo

Post Number: 255
Registered: 4-2000
Posted on Saturday, May 20, 2006 - 10:46 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hi all,

I clean my water tanks with Chlorox - find it the most effective to get rid of the algae.

I have a question for Ann - how big are the tanks you add the 1/4 cup chlorine to (I am guessing you also use the Chlorox bleach?)?

And to Ilona, who likes to add apple cider vinegar. How much do you add? My horses like the apple cider vinegar flavor.

Thanks in advance,
Lilo
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ilona armoni
Member
Username: Ilona

Post Number: 101
Registered: 4-2005
Posted on Saturday, May 20, 2006 - 8:59 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hi Lilo,
I add about 4 cups a day to my water tanks. I eye-ball it now, sometimes I'm sure it is more and sometimes I am sure it is a bit less. I pour it directly from a gallon jug, when that slips and there is a whole lot more the horses drink as though they have found Nirvanah! The reason I added the vinegar was to prevent entroliths and kidney stones. Dr. O is not so convinced that this is a sure-fire preventive measure, however a number of other vets strongly advocate in its favor.
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Lilo
Member
Username: Lilo

Post Number: 256
Registered: 4-2000
Posted on Sunday, May 21, 2006 - 9:15 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Thanks, Ilona. So, if I understand this correctly, you add some every day? Does that mean you clean the tanks every day? And, how big are your tanks? Sorry to have so many questions.
That is a beautiful Rocky Mountain mare you have in your profile. We have a Rocky Mountain gelding - he is a sorrel, and does not have that laid back attitude that Rocky Mountain horses are so famous for.
Thanks again,
Lilo
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ilona armoni
Member
Username: Ilona

Post Number: 103
Registered: 4-2005
Posted on Sunday, May 21, 2006 - 3:29 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Lilo, there are never too many questions. My tanks are 55 gallon, and I add the 4 cups each day when I refill/top them off in the morning. I add water morning and night. I don't clean every day. I clean every 2 weeks. The vinegar seems to keep the algae away.
Malaika is beautiful, thank you. She isn't under saddle yet as she is only 3. I do about 2 hours of ground work, including walks in the neighbourhood, with her about 4 times per week. She is the only horse I have ever come across who does NOT want to go home. She is very laid back and way too smart for her own good. She is such a pleasure, very affectionate and shows the potential of being a perfect horse (what-ever that means!)for me.
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Robert N. Oglesby DVM
Moderator
Username: Dro

Post Number: 15648
Registered: 1-1997
Posted on Sunday, May 21, 2006 - 7:15 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Vinegar being acetic acid is digested, absorbed, and used as an energy source so it would be surprising if it acidified the stools, which I presume would be the proposed mechanism of action. In fact there is little published that would raise colonic ph other than switching off alfalfa.
DrO
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Lilo
Member
Username: Lilo

Post Number: 258
Registered: 4-2000
Posted on Monday, May 22, 2006 - 9:41 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Ilona - thanks for the additional information. Good luck with your young horse!
Lilo
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Judy Bress
New Member
Username: marcita

Post Number: 1
Registered: 6-2003
Posted on Sunday, Dec 23, 2007 - 9:30 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

My horse also dosen't drink enough. He has impacted 4 times. He likes molasses water. He also likes water with peppermint extract in it. When he impacts his blood work does not show dehydration. He drinks some but not enough to keep his gut hydrated enough. During the last impaction episode which sent him to the equine clinic, they found a motility problem. He was put on Cisapride. He is drinking better. He dosen't have ulcers. Judy
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