Help with rescue who is very underweight - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 20 Old 08-16-2012, 01:15 AM Thread Starter
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Help with rescue who is very underweight

I recently rescued an OTTB (August 1st). I have already contacted a vet and received advice on a feeding regime for her to slowly bring her back. My issue is she doesn't like to be left in the pasture to graze and be a horse. She needs the ruffage to help gain weight but everytime I leave her in the pasture (with or without horse buddies) and start to walk away she panics... maybe not the right word. For instance today I let her out to pasture and went to clean her stall. As I walked away she started running into the fence and wouldn't stop till I got back and stayed with her. If I stand at the fence where she can see me she is fine. Any advice? Might not be the right place to post this but since it deals with her nutrition I thought to start here. As for her history I have no information. Her owners only told me they couldn't keep her fat but she was a good horse. After that was said they jumped on her bareback to prove how "calm" she was.
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post #2 of 20 Old 08-16-2012, 01:16 AM Thread Starter
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I have better pictures of her on my profile
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post #3 of 20 Old 08-17-2012, 04:44 AM
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Bumping for you - shes gorgeous..!
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post #4 of 20 Old 08-17-2012, 05:23 AM
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My advice is to stay at the fence, or preferably, as close to her as possible. She is telling you what she needs from you. I doubt it will go on forever, you did say you just rescued her. But it may go on forever. That is part of the rescue. She needs to know you wont leave her, when she isnt ready. It is up to you to answer her questions. Sometimes i wish i had a window into my rescues past, but I wouldn't be able to take it. So I let them tell tell me, with time. And patience. I have sat for hours with an animal, just looking at me... while I prove I am in it all the way. God bless you for rescuing her. I swear if it weren't for the people like you I encounter, I would just throw in the towel, and call this whole game off. On those days, I think I might, God will remind me of these encounters...and I am back in the game.

There is this stuff called nutri-cal. It is like syrup in a toothpast form. It is what we give the dogs and cats to put weight on for various reasons. But it is pure calories....I have never used it on a horse. I do not even know if they do use it on horses. I have been rescuing cats and dogs for over twenty years. My best friend and I are laying the ground-work to start branching into horse rescue. I have rescued a couple, for one reason or another. My filly I had to rescue from my own family, which sucks. But she is spoiled rotten, now. And she is the best littlle filly ever.

She is gorgeous. Cant wait to see what a lot of love will do.
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Last edited by Littlefilly; 08-17-2012 at 05:28 AM.
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post #5 of 20 Old 08-17-2012, 12:45 PM
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First, welcome to the forum!

If it was me, I would grab a book and a lawn chair and sit next to the fence and read. Don't fuss over her, just be there. After a while, you could try walking away for a few minutes at a time to see what she will do.

As for her weight, you might consider having a vet examine her, just to make sure you're not dealing with undiagnosed issues.

She might be a good candidate for beet pulp. It's a high protein, energy dense source of fiber. Good luck with her.
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post #6 of 20 Old 08-17-2012, 01:19 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the advice! currently she stays me while I clean her stall. She stands tied near the stall and walks with me to empty the wheelbarrow and then time in the pasture...
The vet was out the second week I picked her up. He gave her shots, floated her, and will be back in about a month to retape her for weight to see how she is progressing. If she hasn't gained then he said he will draw blood to see if any other issues may be causing herweight loss... She is also on wormer once a month for the next 3 to 4 months since her medical history is non existent
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post #7 of 20 Old 08-17-2012, 01:23 PM
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Vet should have drawn blood immediately. I just went through this with my 19 year old rescue mare. Also you need bloodwork to tell you if she is healthy enough for a good wormer. My vet recommends Panacur Powepac. It is a large tube everyday for 5 days straight. It is the only dewormer that will kill all of the worms.

Get a CBC and full blood panel done right away it will eliminate many many headaches.
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post #8 of 20 Old 08-17-2012, 01:27 PM
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yep, she is clearly telling you that she is insecure..pretty cool that she already finds you as her leader & that gives her security. Call the vet you are working with and explain the situation so that her food rations or supplements can be adjusted perhaps they might want to add oil to her diet. She doesn't have to graze in pasture to put weight on. She just needs a top notch diet and health care like you are already doing. Heck, with this drought I have 20 acres w/o pasture at all and mine are all fine :). Stressing her trying may just be counter productive and burn tons of calories that she could use to heal.

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post #9 of 20 Old 08-17-2012, 01:41 PM
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So tell me, what makes this horse a rescue? It appears to me that her previous owners were very accommodating and friendly.
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post #10 of 20 Old 08-17-2012, 01:43 PM
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She already sounds like a super sweet and attached horse... I would just sit out their for a few hours on a day that you arent busy, and comfort her that you wont be going anywhere, then slowly get up and leave for a very short whil, and come back and reassure her your still their. Make the trips away from her longer and longer.

As far as food; When I get new rescues, I start off by feeding 6 small meals a day... yup, it seems like a lot, and... it is! Then I feed 4, then 3. I have grassy pastures for 24/7 eating, and a round bale. Well, I only have a round bale out in their pasture depending on the horse and how under fed they actually are. And, for the meals, I would feed alfalfa, which I would weigh out ever time I fed, and a small amount of oats, and in one of the meals I would give some rice bran. The weight they put on was heavenly!

Good on you for rescuing her. I hope you have many happy times together.
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