Saccharomyces boulardii has been successfully used in the prevention and treatment of antimicrobial-associated diarrhoea in humans. We hypothesised that a viable, dried lyophilised preparation of S boulardii would survive in the gastrointestinal tract of horses with antimicrobial-associated enterocolitis, and significantly decrease the duration of diarrhoea. Twenty-one horses, over one year of age, with antimicrobial-associated diarrhoea of up to 72 hours duration, were consecutively randomised in a controlled prospective study. The treatment group received S boulardii (25 g, orally, every 12 hours) until the cessation of clinical signs. S boulardii was successfully cultured in 58.3 per cent of treatment horses on day 3. No statistically significant differences were found in days to return to normal faecal consistency; resolution of watery diarrhoea; return to normal heart rate, respiratory rate and temperature; resolution of leucopaenia; attitude improvement; appetite improvement; and survival at discharge. This is the first study to demonstrate survival of S boulardii in horses with gastrointestinal illness. Further study of the efficacy and safety of S boulardii in horses with antimicrobial-associated diarrhoea in a larger group is warranted.
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