Herd-related stress can influence the production of fecal liquid in horses, according to a recent German study. As reported by independent equine nutritionist Juliet M. Getty, PhD, researchers studied possible causes of this condition, which is not the same as diarrhea. Afflicted horses pass normally formed fecal balls, but then also excrete water from the anus. Fecal liquid soils tails and legs, often causing skin irritation and lesions. Important minerals and electrolytes may also be lost. The study found that a horse’s position within the social hierarchy of a group can affect his likelihood of passing fecal water. Horses lowest in the pecking order, especially those that don’t defend their food against other horses, were found more likely to be among the fecal-water-producing group (gettyequinenutrition.com).