Last year Phoenix had a lot of poop problems which I posted about as I worked to figure out what was going on with veterinary help. Posts on that are here and here (complete with interesting x-rays showing before and after treatment for sand removal). After we took care of the sand issue last year his poop was a lot better, but I still had to clean him up nightly. Once the grass appeared last spring and he wasn’t eating so much hay, all of our issues went away and he had a great summer.
Fast forward to this past fall, and slowly as the grass disappeared and the hay feeders went out Phoenix went back to having a bit of free fecal water. Nothing horrible, but enough to make me nervous. I definitely want to avoid a repeat of how horrible he looked at the time I got a second opinion and found out he was full of sand despite regular and extended treatment with sand clear. The first change I made this season was to switch out his hay. While he still has teeth, at almost 31 the surfaces of his teeth are smooth and make it harder to chew certain kinds of hay. I switched him to a second cutting softer grass hay in his stall at night over the summer, but this fall I started putting that hay outside too. Cabby quickly got a bit fat (and is now getting only a token amount of senior feed), even with hay nets. P’s poop got a lot better right away though, just not quite normal.
While P has remained on the Assure Guard Gold permanently, he was off of Bio-sponge for summer. I started him back on a low dose of that with mixed results, so last week I had the vet out to make sure I wasn’t missing anything. The most exciting part was that x-rays showed no sand at all! The vet listened and didn’t hear any but I am paranoid and feel so much better knowing for sure that isn’t an issue. Thumbs up for Assure Guard Gold!
With sand off the table, and the vet being impressed with Phoenix’s current weight and shiny coat, we discussed some other ideas. The main one being that he just needs more short stem fiber. I already had in mind to stop using Tribute Essential K (a ration balancer) as I was having to add a fair amount of Senior to P’s rations to maintain his weight. It turns out the Essential K is only 6.5% fiber while the Senior is 18%. So we are currently working through using up our last bag of Essential K and while it could just be luck his poop is already looking better on a partial ration change. If that doesn’t work completely, I will add in some beet pulp next. I still have the option to up his bio-sponge supplement more if need be. I’m really hoping instead that I will be able to take him off the bio-sponge though. Fingers crossed.
Let’s be honest though, as long as P is happy I’m willing to clean his butt every night!