Because digestive health problems in horses are so widespread, the FBT should be used as a part of every horse’s wellness plan, as well as when behavior, performance, and physical symptoms point to a possible GI pathology.
When to Test With the FBT™
Consider testing horses with the SUCCEED Equine Fecal Blood Test:
During Regular Wellness Checks
Most horses today are susceptible to gastrointestinal problems thanks to how we manage and use them. Any horse that is ridden regularly, travels, and competes should be tested. Any horse with a lifestyle that includes even one of these elements should be tested: fed concentrated feeds in any amount, fed 2-3 times a day, is turned out less than 18 hours a day, or doesn’t have constant access to quality grass or hay. Any horse used in a breeding program should be tested.
When Displaying Behavior and Performance Changes or Problems
Resistance, lethargy, lack of suppleness and other performance problems – or changes in these – may be signs of poor digestive health. Also, changes in behavior and attitude may signal an issue in the digestive tract. These horses may be in early stages of digestive distress, or may be asymptomatic with more serious conditions. Test these horses to rule in or out gut problems as a cause of behavioral and performance issues.
Any Time Horse Displays Clinical Symptoms of Digestive Distress
If a horse is showing clinical signs of digestive problems such as inappetance, weight loss, diarrhea, and poor coat and body condition – test. Before resorting to costly and invasive procedures, the SUCCEED FBT can provide an initial directional screener to detect and differentiate injury in the fore- and hindgut. Use the FBT at the beginning of a work-up to guide further diagnostic methods such as gastroscopy, CBC, ultrasound and others. Additionally, it is the only tool available to reliably detect injury in the hindgut.
As a Follow-Up to Colic Surgery
Horses recovering from colic surgery, particularly a colonic resection, may be prone to bleeding in the digestive tract at the site of the surgery. Positive SUCCEED FBT results (both test A and B) over the course of the days following surgery may indicate such internal bleeding.
Following Treatments for GI Tract Conditions
Horses who tested positive with the SUCCEED FBT and, as a result, were prescribed a particular treatment protocol, should continue to be periodically tested to assess recovery. Over time, the positive FBT results should give way to negative results if the prescribed treatment is effective, assuming no new GI tract injury or disease.
As Part of a Pre-Purchase Exam
In simplest terms, a pre-purchase exam is an effort to evaluate a horse’s health and soundness that can be useful to a prospective buyer and seller of a horse prior to its sale. Knowing the status of the horse’s GI health can be a beneficial aspect of this fact-finding mission.
When NOT to Test With the FBT™
The SUCCEED Equine Fecal Blood Test uses equine-specific antibodies to detect components of blood in a fresh fecal sample. Always keep in mind that blood may be introduced into the horse’s digestive tract from external sources, and test accordingly.
Even a small amount of bleeding caused by floating a horse’s teeth, or any lesions around the horse’s mouth can lead to a positive FBT result. You should avoid using the FBT for 3 days following dental work and be sure that the horse’s mouth and gums are free of lacerations or sores.
With a Horse Prone to Exercise-Induced Pulmonary Hemorrhage
Exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhaging (EIPH) is most frequently reported in competition horses, presenting as blood in the airways 30-90 minutes after exercise. The resulting epistaxis is the main symptom of EIPH but is not always essential for diagnosis, as endoscopic examination may identify bleeding limited to the trachea and bronchi. EIPH is likely to contribute towards a positive FBT from ingested blood, so the clinical history and an awareness of the horse’s competitive activities is imperative. Regardless, it is always wise to avoid testing within 24 hours of racing or strenuous activity to avoid a false-positive for GI conditions.
During Mare Ovulation
Avoid testing a mare during ovulation, or on/around day five of a typical estrous cycle. Since the follicle in the mare normally fills with blood after ovulation, this blood can potentially interfere with the results of the FBT. Be sure to ask the horse owner when the mare was last in season. When testing during the breeding season ensure that this takes place during diestrus.
After Invasive Surgery
Any type of invasive procedure, from routine endoscopy and biopsy, to GI tract surgery can cause bleeding within the digestive tract. This blood would very likely be detected by the FBT leading to a positive result, so gathering recent medical history prior to performing the test is essential.