Originally Posted by Skyseternalangel View Post
Well keep an eye on him, and do what you can.
Have they had a chance to worm him yet as per your OP?
I believe they did worm him, but I will check tonight.
<sigh> Someone needs to help me understand how the horse world has evolved into the "the horse is losing weight so we're going to worm him" before they do anything else.
Even if the horse is not UTD on worming, that is the last thing I'd do without asking the vet first.
My two mid-20's fellas have a very hard time holding weight and it isn't because of worm load. It's because one has gastric ulcers and the other has hind gut ulcers and Equine Metabolic Syndrome.
Hopefully the vet really is coming out sooner than later. I would discuss the possibility of ulcers -- both gastric and hind gut. Hind gut ulcers can be checked thru a fecal so there's the prime opportunity to have the worm load also checked on the horse before worming.
Hopefully the vet will thoroughly check his teeth. Horses don't always have to be dropping their feed to have bad teeth.
And in the end, hopefully all that is wrong is the horse isn't getting enough hay.
Some horses reach a point in their life where they need more forage - maybe some alfalfa to give them more protein and amino acids, they didn't need when they were younger.
Unless it hasn't been done for a year or two, worming, worming, worming is not the "go to" answer when a horse suddenly starts dropping weight. Should the horse happen to have ulcers, worming can really compound the issue with a good case of colic. Get the vet involved:)
He is up to date on worming and shots. They have tried alfalfa in the past but it makes him too hot, so that is out of the question. I'm glad you reminded me of ulcers. I will tell them they should check that as well.
Four months ago when he got his teeth floated the vet said there were a few big points. Maybe they missed one or two. That will be checked as well.
The others may be chasing him away from his hay. Horses will do that to older horses. Can he not be put somewhere else or in the barn so he can eat undisturbed? A horse needs hay for the fiber almost all day, except during snooze times otherwise he develops ulcers. If the hay is put in small mesh hay nets, one for each horse plus one extra, it slows down consumption and the hay will last longer. This alone can help a horse put on weight. With horses, the faster in, the faster out with barely lingering long enough to digest.
The 2 older horses are fed away from the 2 younger horses and are not chased away. I agree with feeding little at a time, but it is also understandable why not all people can.
Is the grass in their field really eaten down? If it is, the hay net idea is a pretty good one. The hay will encourage them to be eating constantly, maintining body heat and encouraging weight gain. Or is there any way to separate the horse in question from his buddies with an electric tape so he gets any hay and grass all to his self without having to worry about being cahsed off his food.
Do you know what the horses bucket feed consists of and how many times he's being fed a day?
The horses are in a dry lot and no way to grow the grass. He gets fed 2 times a day and he gets 2-3 flakes per feeding plus oats, oil, bug off, and a multivitamin at night.