Filly has the vets and I stumped. - The Horse Forum

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post #1 of 16 Old 09-28-2011, 07:04 PM Thread Starter
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Filly has the vets and I stumped.

If you remember, recently I bought a dun filly. (you can see her in this thread My girls.....it's been a while. )

What I know:

-She is almost 6 months old. Weaned about a month ago when the seller sold her mother.
-When I brought her home, she was wormed, then wormed again appx 2 weeks later.
-She had gotten tangled with some barb wire when little and cut up her back leg some and its almost healed.
-The day before I got her, as they were bringing her home from pasture she hit her fetlock and it's been swollen.
-She is kept in a pen by herself but in sight and hearing of my other horses.

Four days ago, she showed signs of edema (not a hernia) around her navel area.

She also has lost some weight despite having access to hay 24/7 and grass turnout during the day.

So today:

-We take her down to the vet. He does a check up of the filly. Checks the navel area and can't explain the edema. A hernia was ruled out.

-They did a fecal. Thinking she still had parasites due to her coat and edema. It came back clean. No worms/parasites.

-They did xrays of her front leg that had some swelling. Thankfully nothing out of the ordinary. Xrays looked fine.

So basically the vet gave her a clean bill of health. Said to grain her to help maintain her weight.

First, Does any of this seem like it's a symptom of something else? (The edema and weight loss) I am going to call back and ask the vet myself tomorrow. I'm wondering if I should ask them to run a blood panel? Maybe it's symptoms of tentus?? West Nile?? I don't know. I just can't believe a healthy foal would have edema and weight loss.

Second, I have tried to get her to eat grain. She won't touch it. I have tried plain oats, 2 different brands of sweet feed, alfalfa pellets and suppliments. I have tried getting her to eat them without success. I have put her around other horses to show that they are eating and nothing. I have tried layering hay with grain. Still no go. Any ideas at all? I'm at a loss. I've never had a foal turn away from grain before.

I will take a picture of her here in a bit and post it.

"Riding a horse is not a gentle hobby, to be picked up and laid down like a game of solitaire. It is a grand passion. It seizes a person whole and, once it has done so, he will have to accept that his life will be radically changed." -Ralph Waldo Emerson
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post #2 of 16 Old 09-28-2011, 07:22 PM Thread Starter
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Filly today (yes she has a bit of a hay belly)


Edema (looked worse yesterday, was about the shape and as long as my hand slightly cupped.)


The leg that had been caught in barbwire. Vet said it was looking good.


Front right fetlock swollen.


Weight loss from back and hips



"Riding a horse is not a gentle hobby, to be picked up and laid down like a game of solitaire. It is a grand passion. It seizes a person whole and, once it has done so, he will have to accept that his life will be radically changed." -Ralph Waldo Emerson
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post #3 of 16 Old 09-28-2011, 08:56 PM
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Personally I would definitely be getting a full blood panel on her. It is strange that she looks "wormy" (pot belly but skinny with rough coat) with a clean fecal and I would be worried that there might be something else going on in her abdomen to give that look.
It does not sound like symptoms of either tetanus or westnile but has she not been vaccinated?
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post #4 of 16 Old 09-28-2011, 10:40 PM
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She is starving on grass hay and grass and is eating 2 or 3 times as much as she should to make up for the lack of good nutrients that she needs. This time of year, grass has very little protein in it and almost none of the essential amino acids that she needs to do well. Babies need about 16 to 18% protein in their diet to sustain growth and be healthy.

If I take on a baby that has been fed like her and looks like her, I assume that they are very anemic (I am sure she is) and that they have not had sufficient Vitamins and minerals to grow and do well on either.

I would get 100cc bottles of injectable Vitamin A and Vitamin B Complex. These are packaged and sold for livestock use and can be bought at any feed store catering to cattlemen or out of a Livestock supply catalog like Valley Vet or Jeffers. It is not labeled for horses, but you can use it orally and just squirt it in a horse's mouth and they will absorb it and utilize it. I would give a foal this size about 4cc of each orally once a week. I would also get a 100cc bottle of 'Liver and Iron'. This is usually marketed for baby pigs that have a real problem with anemia. 3 or 4 cc a week would help 'fix' the anemia and poor condition of this colt, too.

Then, you should cut back a bunch on the amount of dry grass hay that you feed or give it access to. I would not free-choice grass hay to this foal until it learns to eat concentrates. It is filling up and 'over-eating' dry grass and grass hay instead of learning to eat grain and a protein supplement that it needs. It was getting the minerals (mainly Calcium) and the protein it needed for milk. Now, it is not getting it from anything it is eating, but it is filling up and feels full on the grass.

Get a good quality grain or pellet that is made for foals and yearlings. It should be 14 - 16% protein and will not be cheap. Then, I would add either a protein supplement that is made to balance out a ration (usually around 32-33% protein) or add soybean meal that is 44 - 48% protein. Build up to 1 to 1 1/2 pound a day of a high quality protein supplement that has a good level of Lysine and Methionine (2 essential amino acids) in it. Calf Manna is also a good product to feed.

The other option would be to feed a flake of alfalfa hay AM & PM and a little less grain and protein supplement.

This is not a real unusual problem and this foal looks very typical of a foal (or an orphan) that is not being fed the kind of high quality protein a baby needs to do any good. They just stuff more and more grass hay in and still do not get the nutrients they need.

The thing to do is limit the hay and put out a small amount of grain. If the foal does not eat it, take it away later and cut the hay back more and put out fresh grain that evening. Do not change the formula. Just give it some time and a lot less hay to fill up on. The injectable vitamins that you give orally will also make the foal have a lot more appetite and make it feel a lot better. That alone will help make it hungry.
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post #5 of 16 Old 09-29-2011, 12:46 AM
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Agree with Cheri her problems look nutritional. In fall after weaning it is not unusual to see youngsters look like that. Eating hay or year end fall pasture having not the nutritional value needed they get that potty less thrifty look. Need to get eating some feed formulated for foals/growing youngsters,maintain her on a regular worming program.As for the belly that looks like a hernia to me, I have a youngster now with one similar.
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post #6 of 16 Old 09-29-2011, 07:40 AM
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Nutritional for sure. Hay just doesnt cut it for babies so as Cherie has said you need to give her some oral vitamin A and B and get her on a good quality foal feed that has an adequate amount of protein. I also agree that you should cut him right back with the hay as he may be filling up on hay and just doesnt want the grain because of that.
You may have to make her a bit hungry to get her eating the right foods and you may consider putting the grain out for her and waiting to give her hay for an hour or two after to give her time to eat some grain before she is given the hay.

Under belly does look like a hernia but does not look serious.

She is cute..hope you sort her out. Let us know how she comes along.
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post #7 of 16 Old 09-29-2011, 10:33 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks! For the help. I will run this by my vet and start her on it asap.

I did try doing grass turnout from 8 a.m. Til 10 p.m. Then in stall with a 2 flakes of alfalfa and her grain/suppliments, but she would only eat the alfalfa and not touch the grain. :( I can not figure out how to get her to eat it.

"Riding a horse is not a gentle hobby, to be picked up and laid down like a game of solitaire. It is a grand passion. It seizes a person whole and, once it has done so, he will have to accept that his life will be radically changed." -Ralph Waldo Emerson
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post #8 of 16 Old 09-29-2011, 10:38 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cherie View Post
I would also get a 100cc bottle of 'Liver and Iron'. This is usually marketed for baby pigs that have a real problem with anemia. 3 or 4 cc a week would help 'fix' the anemia and poor condition of this colt, too.
Would this be orally too?

"Riding a horse is not a gentle hobby, to be picked up and laid down like a game of solitaire. It is a grand passion. It seizes a person whole and, once it has done so, he will have to accept that his life will be radically changed." -Ralph Waldo Emerson
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post #9 of 16 Old 09-29-2011, 10:40 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Annnie31 View Post
Under belly does look like a hernia but does not look serious.

It's not. It doesn't even remotely feel like a hernia. (Been there, done it twice before) And thankfully the vet ruled out a hernia as well.

"Riding a horse is not a gentle hobby, to be picked up and laid down like a game of solitaire. It is a grand passion. It seizes a person whole and, once it has done so, he will have to accept that his life will be radically changed." -Ralph Waldo Emerson
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post #10 of 16 Old 09-29-2011, 10:56 AM
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Yes! The Liver and Iron is also an injectable that can be given orally. Any injectable Vitamin and many injectable medications can just be squirted in a horse's mouth and they will absorb most of it without having to give them an injection. You can even use injectable Bute, Banomine or Ace Promazine (the tranqualizer), and the injectable cattle de-wormers like Ivomec and Cydectin. They are always cheaper and you do not get a horse 'needle shy', or have to worry about sterility or abscesses. They are just a effective. Sometimes drugs like Ace and Bute take a little longer to work, but you use the same dosage as they absorb every bit of it.

You get this filly to eat by NOT letting her fill up on hay.

I don't leave feed out in front of a picky eater. I give them 2 or 3 hours to eat and then I take ALL feed away from them. I give them feed a few hours later -- a little hay and a small amount of grain because I would really like one to clean up their feed. I would not push this too hard until a few days after she has had a chance to get the Vitamins into her system. They will do a lot for building her appetite. Then, letting her get hungry instead of keeping feed out free choice really works wonders.

A probiotic would also be beneficial for this filly. My favorite (and most natural) probiotic is a fresh pile of manure from a slick, fat and healthy parasite free mature horse. This will get more good bacteria into her gut than anything else you can give her.

Last edited by Cherie; 09-29-2011 at 11:05 AM.
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