Background: Can be a serious condition with inflammation generally of the small bowel, though the large intestine can also be inflamed and produce a colitis of varying degrees of severity.
Symptoms: Acute diarrhea that can be watery, projectile; significantly increased volume and frequency is possible. Horses may be febrile, depressed and may or may not have an appetite.
Diagnostics: Stool evaluation should be performed for the possible etiologies, including salmonella and clostridium infections, Potomac Horse Fever and severe cases of parasitism.
Special Notes: Antibiotic induced enteritis is not uncommon. Other toxic agents can also be implicated. An accurate diagnosis of the causative organism may be obtained too late to be useful for prescribing therapy, so treatment should be instituted based on presenting signs, with changes made, if necessary, once cultures are obtained. Appropriate supportive therapy with fluids and antibiotics, as needed, should be used.
Principles for Supplementation: Nutritional and herbal supplementation can improve the health of the intestinal tract, especially after protracted courses of antibiotics have been administered. The goal is to decrease the healing time, support the intestinal epithelium and replace beneficial bacteria.