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Hay Belly questions

This is a discussion on Hay Belly questions within the Horse Health forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Horses category
  • Treat haybellie
  • Treat Hay belly

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    01-31-2011, 11:49 AM
Can you test the quality of your hay - It sure doesn't look much more than average.
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    01-31-2011, 11:50 AM
Originally Posted by deineria    
But I think I WILL try the Equimax, in case. Also, I think Ulcers are potentially something to consider. You can see her condition in early Oct though was a very good:
One of my mare's only symptoms of ulcers in November was her belly puffed up like that. She looked huge. She got treated all of December and now her hay belly looks just like the other horses.
    01-31-2011, 11:56 AM
I would think it is a hay issue except we had 7 horses, 2 donkeys a dairy heifer and 15 dairy goats on it, and all look great except this one mare. However, I know the hay is just average - this area of WV - that is about all you can get that anyone can afford.

I have taken her and staled her for 1/2 the day and have moved on to a complete pelleted feed with alfalfa pellets added to the hay she is getting, and I'm going to worm with Equimax, and if there is no improvement, we might be looking at treating ulcers.
    01-31-2011, 12:22 PM
Yes I do remember reading about the wormers in equus I kinda forgot it. Well there is a big diffrence in her from oct to now she was nice and shiney and in good shape. So theres something more then just worms what iam not sure,my guess is the ulcer thing. I just don't see how she could get that wormy in just three months. I guess the equimax is worth a try but iam not real sure that's your answer either. Maybe she could use a good vitamin mineral supplement then add some flax seed to her diet I feed my horses ground flax a half a cup a day.The flax will help with the hair coat and its just good for them I did have a hard time finding ground flax but iam in nothern minnesota, but I did finally find a feed store that carrys it. Just some more ideas id call your vet and talk to him or her about the ulcer thing.spirit88
    01-31-2011, 12:34 PM
I've bought Flax at wal-mart and when I used to use it - she was amazingly glossy, but it gets pricey buying it from wal-mart.

I'm glad you all mentioned Ulcers. . .the more I think of it, the more I believe this might be the issue.
    01-31-2011, 12:50 PM
Agree with all of the above. Is it possible she has developed some sort of nutritional deficiency? I know here in Indy we are short on selenium so many horses need a supplement, have you checked into that sort of thing in your area? Maybe she is just more sensitive to something than the others.
    01-31-2011, 01:19 PM
I would still look into a vitamin mineral supplement,You don't have to do flax. I get a fifty pound bag for 33$ it last quite a while for three horses. She could be lacking in some vitamin,mineral too. I supplement my horses because I can't feed the recomened amount of the feed I get, my horses get fat as pigs on five pounds a day. Still check into the ulcers,does she have acess to salt and loose minerals that's also very important. Even though I supplement with a vitamin mineral I still provide loose minerals and they do eat it so they must need it.As far as the flax try to see if a feed store carrys it sould be cheaper then wal mart.spirit88
    01-31-2011, 01:25 PM
I'm going to call the mill that is an hour away and see the price if they carry it. I hadn't found it nearly as cheap as 50lbs for 33
    02-05-2011, 09:44 PM
Green Broke
Originally Posted by deineria    
I've bought Flax at wal-mart and when I used to use it - she was amazingly glossy, but it gets pricey buying it from wal-mart.

I'm glad you all mentioned Ulcers. . .the more I think of it, the more I believe this might be the issue.
I don't think she has ulcers, of course the only way to know for sure would be to scope her (expensive) or treat her (expensive ) & see if she improves.
Horses with ulcers bad enough to cause that kind of weight loss will usually act sick, colicky, not want to eat, cranky etc.
I have Arabians & though they tend to be easy keepers they would not do well on the hay in the picture. If your horse is eating all day nonstop & still looks like that her body is telling her it is starved for nutrients & calories. I would feed her separate from the others, maybe try a Senior feed. Even buying a more quality hay just for her may be a good way to start. Feed her a few flakes then turn her back out with the others & the round bale.
I hope she comes around, she is so beautiful.
    02-06-2011, 11:29 AM
As I understand it, hay belly comes from the horse's large intestine retaining more of the hay because it doesn't meet the nutritional needs of the horse. So your horse is keeping more of the hay inside of her for longer in order to try to get more calories by digesting it for longer. That's why her belly looks large even though she is underweight.
If you feed a higher quality feed and meet her caloric needs it will go away. I'm glad you posted pictures since a lot of Arabians gain weight in the belly and can be quite fat without having a cresty neck or other signs of obesity. But your horse is obviously thin.
I have one Arabian that is an easy keeper and can be fine all winter with a lower quality hay and just a little bit of grain. My other Arabian would starve to death in a couple of months on the hay you are feeding. Even though she is young I feed her 10 lbs. Of senior feed plus alfalfa hay daily. So remember that a horse's caloric needs are not necessarily related to size, and even if you have seven easy keepers you might have one hard keeper that needs a lot higher quantity of food to stay healthy.

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