Over the past five years, vet Stephen Ashdown has written many articles, spoken on equine matters and contributed widely to horse magazines.

Here he reproduces in the form of questions and answers about 100 topics, all of them common problems which afflict horses.

To access Topics click on Vet Advice Menu.

Scouring problem
Q: My 32 year old pony started scouring six weeks ago and my vet is at a loss as to what to do. My pony has been tested for liver and kidney failure, worms and diabetes.

He has had blood and urine tests and nothing has showed up. Would alternative remedies help?

A: Scouring or diarrhoea is a difficult problem to tackle. Before I started to use herbs I was also at a loss as to what to do. Now however I find that most cases respond very well. Some of the single herbs I find most effective are slippery elm to help protect the bowel lining and aloe vera, which helps calm inflammation.

I also find pysllium husks (which are also used for constipation) useful. As well as these single herbs, the most important product I use  is an Ayurvedic formula, which contains a variety of herbs and helps to slow bowel movement. I have found that almost all cases respond well to such regimes within a few days, however, it does take a long time (several months On the herbs) for the bowel lining to completely regenerate, and an anti-oxidant, immune-support formula is also useful in many cases.

Probiotics are worthwhile and I would recommend these. One last point. In some cases, overgrowth of the wrong bacteria in the gut is an important fact and I find that grapefruit seed extract liquid is very useful. According to some research, it is effective at killing off those bacteria that are causing the problem, while leaving beneficial bacteria largely untouched. Antibiotics have the effect of killing off good and bad bacteria and I think they can often cause more problems than they solve.

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