| Fecal Impaction
If a miniature horse shows symptoms of
progressive, nonresponsive abdominal pain,
fecalith impaction needs to be considered.
What is Fecalith Impaction in a Mini Horse?
Fecaliths are fiberous dry materials that ball up and block the small intestine in the mini horse.
They are usually composed of tough fiberous food that either does not have enough water to allow
it to pass through the small intestines, or is composed of such a hard content that it is not able to
be mechanically broken down during digestion.
Other components of fecaliths include hair, sand or foreign objects that the mini horse ingests.
Any breed of horse can get fecaliths, but it occurs more commonly in minis. In addition, younger
horses are also more prone to it with the greatest risk being to weanlings who are adjusting to
solid feed. Another predisposing factor is springtime when the hair on horses is usually longest and
they are shedding.
During this time self grooming or mutual grooming that occur in minis can lead to ingestion of balls
of hair. Thus, it is prudent to make sure your mini horse is regularly groomed and hair trimmed if
needed. Only a vet can definitively diagnose fecalith impaction in the mini horse, but common
symptoms that must be paid attention to are colic, bloating and no production of stools. If these
signs occur in your mini horse, it is imperative to seek medical attention immediately. Surgical
correction is sometimes required.
Prevention of fecaliths include providing high-quality immature forages and regular grooming of
your mini horse's hair to prevent excess ingestion of hair balls. In a miniature horse that has had a
recent fecalith, a low bulk diet should be given for several weeks after treatment. This diet can
include either "complete feed pellets" or access to pasture. However, a mini horse that has had
more than one fecalith should be kept on this low bulk diet for life