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Kienzle, Ellen; Zehnder, Carolin; Pfister, Kurt; Gerhards, Hartmut; Sauter-Louis, Carola and Harris, Patricia (2016): Field Study on Risk Factors for Free Fecal Water in Pleasure Horses. In: Journal of Equine Veterinary Science, Vol. 44: pp. 32-36

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Horses affected with the fecal water (FW) syndrome defecate normal feces, but in addition, FW runs out of the anus. The present study aimed to identify management factors associated with FW. Owners of affected horses were recruited through a notice in an equine journal. Responders (n = 42) were asked to complete a questionnaire on their horse. A fecal sample for parasitological examination and a blood sample for serum electrophoresis were taken from the affected horse and a clinically healthy stable mate. In the 37 FW horses, which were group housed or group turned out, there were a surprisingly high number of horses that the owners perceived as being at the lower end of the social hierarchy. Therefore, another 37 owners of horses, which did not suffer from fecal water syndrome, were interviewed on their horses' behavior with the same questionnaire (behavior control [BC] group). There was no significant difference between FW horses and their stable mated for any of the parasitological fecal examinations and the serum electrophoresis profiles. No factors related to feeding could be identified as predisposing for FW. Geldings and paint horses were over represented in the FW horses;40% of FW horses were considered to be last or second to last in the hierarchy compared to 4% in the BC group;62% of FW horses compared to 27% in the BC group did not defend their food against other horses. These results suggest that social stress may play a role in the development of FW. (C) 2016 ELSEVIER. All rights reserved.

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