الإثنين 22 يوليو 2024

Social Stress Plays a Role in Equine Digestive Upset

موقع أيام نيوز

Researchers from LudwigMaximiliansUniversity in Munich Germany studied possible causes of the formation of fecal liquid in otherwise healthy horses. Fecal liquid or fecal water as the researchers denote it is not diarrhea. Instead horses afflicted with this condition have normally formed fecal balls followed by excretion of water from the anus. Not only does this soil the tail and legs but the excretion causes skin irritation and lesions. Fecal liquid production is not only unpleasant it also deprives the horse of important minerals and electrolytes. 
Fortytwo affected horses participated in this study. Most of these horses had been suffering from fecal liquid formation for years. Their owners were asked to complete a questionnaire which included questions on the owners perceived status of the horse within its peer group hierarchy as well as the presence of feed dominance where the horse would leave his food when another horse approached. 

Results 
The major difference between the fecal liquid FL group and the control group was the position within the hierarchy. Forty percent of the FL horses were considered to be last or secondtolast in the hierarchy compared to four percent in the control group. And even more striking was that 62 percent of the FL horses did not defend their food against other horses. 
The researchers believe that psychosomatic effects cause a change in hormonal response leading to altered gut peristalsis and frequency of defecation. They concluded that social stress appears to be a major cause of chronic fecal liquid production.
Implications for your horses 
If your horse suffers from this condition and is being bullied by other horses every effort should be made to alleviate the situation. The researchers do point out however that fecal liquid can afflict horses who are high on the social hierarchy so there are other possible reasons