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Hi Sheri,

The problem you describe is pretty common, the severity depending on how
effectively the gut flora was disrupted due to the antibiotics.  You're
doing the right thing in feeding your horse probiotics to replace the
gut flora.  However, you might want to make sure that the brand of
probiotics you're using delivers more than just one or two species of
microorganisms---quite a few types of probiotics, ie Bene-Bac, deliver
almost exclusively lactobacillus species, which is fine, but doesn't
help reestablish other types of bugs, such as protozoa, saccoromyces
species or yeasts.  The Forco is delivering some of the yeasts, but you
might consider varying the type of probiotics.  I happen to like
Fastrack, and United Vet has a brand that has a good variety as well.

I would also suggest that you feed the probios on a daily basis, and if
possible, in small, frequent feedings rather than a single large bolus. 
That will help reestablish a good population as well.  Make sure your
horse has a continuous supply of hay, as small amounts of feed traveling
through the cecum will also help reestablish a steady population.

One other thing is you might ask your vet is about the possibility of
gastric ulcers.  These are pretty common in horses that have been under
stress, as yours has, and the signs you describe sound like this might
be a possibility to check out.  If so, there are drugs which will reduce
the production of stomach acid until the ulcers heal.

Good luck,

Susan Garlinghouse, MS
Cal Poly University

Steph Teeter wrote:
> <this query is being forwarded for Sheri Thompson - please send
> responses to the ridecamp list so that she can view them through
> the archives. thanks, Steph>
> >
> >Message:  My horse was on antibiotics on two separate occassions to clear
> up a
> >scratches infection.  Both times while on the antibiotics while either
> doing
> >an endurance ride or training on a long ride he colicked (gas colic).  I
> was
> >told by several veterinarians that the antibiotics had killed off my horses
> >gut flora  (the good stuff) and now he has only gas producing bacteria (the
> >bad stuff) in his gut.  My horse is now on large amounts of probiotics and
> >Forco.  I am looking for anyone with any similar experiences that might
> help
> >me or ease the mystery with this problem.  I let my horse rest for 4 weeks
> >after the second gas colic episode (with only turn outs and hand walking)
> and
> >then I started him back slowly (riding-walking only-about 4 miles every 2-3
> >days) and after the first week of starting him back, when he felt really
> good,
> >I let him trot a little but 24 hours later he acted slightly uncomfortable
> >i.e. popping his lips together, yawning-all the usuaal signs he shows when
> he
> >is a little gassy.  So I am now letting him rest again for 2-3 weeks and I
> >will start riding him at a walk again.  Can anyone that has ever had this
> >problem tell me how long it took their horse to recover totally and what
> they
> >did to help the horse recover from this problem.  Any information regarding
> >this would be greatly appreciated.
> >
> >Thank you,
> >
> >Sheri Thompson
> >

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