Background: A common problem with multiple causes; if an entire herd or kennel is affected, environmental or dietary causes are likely.
Symptoms: Digestive symptoms such as excess gas production, loose or unformed stool or increased appetite accompanied by weight loss. Secondary conditions, resembling signs of malnutrition develop; these include skin and coat problems. In severe cases, muscle weakness, mental derangement, pica, and/or skeletal demineralization may occur.
Diagnostics: A thorough examination of the housing facility, feed storage area and analysis of the diet is essential. An analysis of the components of the stool as well as blood tests to evaluate potential liver, kidney, pancreatic (endocrine and exocrine) and electrolyte problems are recommended. Parasites should also be ruled out.
Special Notes: Signs of maldigestion may appear first in horses with weaker digestive capacity. The digestive tract may have developed improperly or been damaged through disease, surgery or other insult.
Principles for Supplementation: Enhance healing of the intestinal wall; replace enzymes that may be lacking.