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Abstract

The aim of this study was to assess sand accumulation in the gastrointestinal tract and fecal sand excretion in Silesian foals using three diagnostic methods and taking into account the sex and age of the animals. Another aim of the study was to compare the three diagnostic methods. The study was carried out on 21 clinically healthy Silesian foals (10 females and 11 males) from 9-28 weeks old grazed on permanent pasture. The sand intake was assessed using a sedimentation test, abdominal ultrasonography and a quantitative evaluation of sand per 100 g of stool. In the sedimentation test, the sand was palpable in the stool of 57.1% of the horses, and clearly visible in 42.9% of the animals. The ultrasound examination revealed the presence of sand in the gastrointestinal tract in 66.7% of the horses. It was limited to a single location in 60% of the horses, while it was present in several regions in 40% of the horses. The mean amount of sand was 0.14 ± 0.33 g per 100 g of stool. It did not exceed 0.1g in 71.4% foals, while it ranged from 0.1-0.5 g in 23.8% foals. In 4.8% of the animals, it amounted to 1.6 g per 100 g of stool. There was no correlation between age and gender and the results. There was a positive correlation between the ultrasound examination and the sedimentation test. Sand may be accumulated in the gastrointestinal tract of foals without any clinical signs. The amount of sand excreted in the stool is not an indicator of the amount of sand accumulated in the gastrointestinal tract. An abdominal ultrasound examination should be combined with a sedimentation test for more specific results.
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