First­hand ex­pe­ri­ence with en­teroliths

EQUUS - - Eq Letters -

I live in South­ern Cal­i­for­nia and have first­hand ex­pe­ri­ence with en­teroliths, so I anx­iously read any­thing that is printed on the sub­ject (“What to Do About En­teroliths,” EQUUS 481).

My first in­tro­duc­tion to the sub­ject came in 1978, when my 8-year-old Mor­gan geld­ing man­aged to pass the large stone in the mid­dle row (see pho­to­graph, top), with a great deal of dif­fi­culty, after four days. The smaller ones were found in his ma­nure. In one 24hour pe­riod, he passed 27 small stones. The two large stones on the top shelf were re­moved from him sur­gi­cally in 1994 at the age of 24. He passed away of un­re­lated causes at the age of 31.

All of the stones on the bot­tom shelf were sur­gi­cally re­moved from my 5-year-old Ara­bian mare. She came through the surgery just fine but ex­pe­ri­enced other com­pli­ca­tions and never made it home from the hospi­tal.

After my ex­pe­ri­ence with these two horses I did a lot of re­search, and I to­tally changed my feed­ing pro­gram. I had al­ways fed hay in feed­ers that sat on rub­ber mats, but I stopped feed­ing al­falfa at all. Now, all my horses eat grass hay. They also have ex­ten­sive turnout and are ex­er­cised reg­u­larly.

I have had sev­eral Morgans since, who are one of the more af­fected breeds, and I have not had any fur­ther prob­lems with en­teroliths. Small man­age­ment changes can make a big dif­fer­ence, and in ar­eas prone to stone de­vel­op­ment like South­ern Cal­i­for­nia, they are well worth look­ing into. This is a se­ri­ous and painful prob­lem for our horses, and we have it in our power to min­i­mize the risk for them. Cur­tis Mer­ritt On­tario, Cal­i­for­nia

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