HORSES STOMACH/INTESTINAL SOUNDS
Question: Just in the last month and a half, I have noticed my 9 year old mare, "Beauty" her stomach is making a really loud sound, sort of rumbling and gurgling all the time. We have had her a year now.
I am concerned because I was told that you shouldn't hear their stomach sounds, you should only be able to hear them with a stethoscope? Beauty gets oats once a day, alfalfa hay and has access to water all the time. She is worked each day under saddle.
ANSWER: You usually cannot/should not hear loud rumblings while just standing beside the horse. But you can check a horse for gut sounds without a stethoscope by pressing your ear firmly against the horses side just ahead of the flank. You should always be able to hear some sound from a healthy gut when doing so.
If this horse is healthy as in not Lethargic, not off her food/water, stool is normal, no Temperature, no accelerated Respiration, no accelerated Pulse, NO SIGNS OF COLIC happening, no signs of anything wrong, then this may not be a emergency?
(1) It may be her feeding schedule and when she is worked? She should be fed two to three times a day, not only once. She should not be worked immediately after feeding.
(2) It may be her feed is not containing enough roughage such as some grass hay would be very beneficial. Plus Second Cut or occasionally even first cut Alfalfa is far to "Rich" for many horses and also does not contain enough Fiber. ADDITIONAL NOTE: For all horse people reading this document about their own horses. Any type of hay that was harvested to late in the season producing excessive stalks/stems is poorly digested by a horse and can cause problems. Also "Moldy" feed can and does cause extreme problems. Now back to this question.
(3) Is she dewormed on a regular basis? Very Important here.
(4) You have had her a year but this has only been happening for 1.5 months? Have you changed her feed? New hay from a different supplier? Is she showing signs of Mental Stress? Is she eating off of sandy ground? Any pawing the ground or other signs of internal digestive tract discomfort? Such as turning her head to look at her side? Signs leading up to "Colic"?
For safety sake, I recommend that you have an Equine Vet examine this mare.