Sand Recovery from Horse Feces

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Sand Recovery from Horse Feces

Test Code: SAND
Test Name: Sand Recovery from Horse Feces

Contact Name: Dr. Mani Lejeune
Contact Telephone: 607-253-3581

Test Method: Recovery of sand from feces
Sample Required: 200 grams of feces
Collection container: Plastic leak proof container
Transport: Ship without cold packs
Test Day: M-F
Lag Time: 1-3 days
Species: Horse

Results Format: Sand Recovered, or Sand Not Recovered


Consumption of sand and dirt by horses may be associated with diarrhea, weight loss, and colic due to irritation and obstruction of the gastrointestinal tract. The purpose of this test is to recover sand from fresh fecal samples to aid in the diagnosis of sand retention in horses. Horses maintained in sandy areas, fed on the ground, or that have a history of living in sandy areas may accumulate large amounts of sand in the gastrointestinal tract.

Results of fecal sand analysis may vary from sample to sample without treatment due to manure production, natural expulsion of the sand from the intestine, location of the sand in the intestine and manure consistency.

A minimum of 200 grams of dirt-free feces is needed for this test. This is approximately 8-10 fecal balls from a light horse breed, 6-7 fecal balls from a draft horse breed, and 12-14 fecal balls from a miniature horse.

The amount of sand will be reported as (based on a 200 gram sample):
No Sand Recovered or Sand Recovered

If sand is recovered from the fecal sample, this finding may/ may not correlate with the amount of sand that may be in the intestinal tract. However, if there is no recovery of sand, it does not rule out the presence of sand in the intestine. This test is only an aid in diagnosis of chronic diarrhea, weight loss and colic. The presence of any sand along with clinical signs may be a cause for concern and the need for treatment and management changes.

When clinical signs such as diarrhea or weight loss are present in any horse, it may be useful to submit enough feces (minimum of 250 grams) to do both a quantitative fecal flotation and sand analysis.