Need Help With 39 yr old Rescue - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 130 Old 03-31-2012, 08:08 AM Thread Starter
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Need Help With 39 yr old Rescue

Drove from NC to WV and back yesterday and picked up a 39? yr old gelding. His body score is maybe a 2 if you say it fast. He is matted from nose to tail in those little prickly seed pods (we call them cockleburs) The woman said she was feeding him 3-4 lb of Nutrena 12% sweet twice a day (not sure that's true). His hay was a round bale of cattle hay that sat outside his pasture area and they would pull chunks off it once a day. Also he has drank from a creek for the last 20+ years.
It took us maybe an hour to get him to load. It was the first time in 10-15 years. She couldn't remember. Once in the trailer he did really good. He never had any trouble the entire 6 hours. Peed and pooped once during the ride. Has diarrhea bad. Ate maybe 1# of the 12% 2 hours after we got home. Won't touch our hay and didn't drink all night. This am ate about 1# of Triple Crown Sr and 1# of the sweet. Pooped during the night twice - same consistancy. He is walking very stiff but I figure between the trailer ride and now walking on flat land instead of mountains he is sore.
I have already talked to my vet. I called her will we were driving home. We have a feed plan and she is going to come out the first of the week unless I need her sooner.
My main problems are how do I get him to drink from a trough and how do I get this darn burs out of him. I don't know how he will react to clippers. I will take any and all advice on how to care for this boy. He is very sweet and trusting. He seems very strong will too.
As soon as it quits raining I'll get pictures. Oh and he is afraid to go under the shelter. Don't think he's had any in 20+ years either.
I really want this boy to make it. He deserves a touch of the good life.
Thanks in advance for the help.
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post #2 of 130 Old 03-31-2012, 08:21 AM
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That is one heck of an undertaking! I would give this horse plenty of time to get adjusted to his new surroundings. If he spent 20+ years in one place, this is a heck of a culture shock to him.

What has worked for me in getting a horse acclimated to water is to use jello in a water bucket for a while to help them get used to the new taste. Maybe add some salt to his feed to stimulate the drinking.

I would try to bath the horse with a tangle fee shampoo to help the burs come out.

Your vet will be a great source of information (as well as many people here with that kind of experience). 39 years old! What made you take on such a project?
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post #3 of 130 Old 03-31-2012, 08:58 AM
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Best of luck and I can't wait to see pictures of the old boy.

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post #4 of 130 Old 03-31-2012, 09:10 AM
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Baby oil works god for getting cockleburs out.

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post #5 of 130 Old 03-31-2012, 09:48 AM
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Bless you for giving an old soul a chance at a better life! Electrolites might help him want to drink more. How is he weight wise? Best of luck to you!
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post #6 of 130 Old 03-31-2012, 09:57 AM
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Wow, what an undertaking. Bless you for taking him on. I've not got much experience with rescues, but do have some oldies. At his age I'd wonder how are his teeth? My oldest is 30 and is very lacking in the teeth department. He is an easy keeper but only if fed a mash & quality (no stems) hay that I chop. He just can't grind and gets nothing out of pellets or his hay if fed straight.

Your vet will definitely be your greatest resource in this. He could have underlying problems that need addressed before any safe advice on his care could be given.

I'd second the kool-aid or electrolytes. Mine are spoiled drinkers (our water is spring fed and tastes like bottled) so when we go other places they most generally refuse the water. I buy the generic diet sports drink powder (diet because of the sugar content) and add a spoonful to their buckets.

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post #7 of 130 Old 03-31-2012, 10:12 AM
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Have you offered him loose salt? Never mind a lick for now. Just grab the box of salt in the house and dump it in a pan. If he'll get into the salt, he'll want to drink. I'd also offer him Senior feed, dampened until almost like wet grass. He could eat this if no teeth plus it will get some moisture into him. I'd offer only 2 lbs to start per feeding(about a 2 lb marg tub) dry, and throw in a tablespoon of salt. Even some grated carrots to entice him. With watery manure they lose electrolytes. You can get this in a tube. Offer the Seniors 3 x daily plus all the hay he will eat, preferably a fine textured hay.

Last edited by Saddlebag; 03-31-2012 at 10:14 AM.
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post #8 of 130 Old 03-31-2012, 10:13 AM
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I too would like to see him! Poor old man...
thanks for taking him on

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post #9 of 130 Old 03-31-2012, 10:58 AM Thread Starter
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Just guessing I think Pete is about 500# under weight but he is eating. The big thing is to get him to drink. I'm going to try the suggestions you all gave me. The vet doesn't want to give him IV fluids except as a last resort. He is breathing hard and she thinks its because he is so anemic he's having trouble getting enough Oxygen.
I had a friend suggest making a "creek" in the pasture. Dig a trench and throw a water hose in and just let it flow. We have a backhoe so that won't be that hard to do.
I'm just hoping wants his stress level drops he'll do better. This has been a major change for him. But what is amazing is he is very trusting.
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post #10 of 130 Old 03-31-2012, 11:27 AM
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I admire you for undertaking such a rescue but do question whether it is best for the horse.
I think the owner was wrong to allow the horse to go away from the property where he has lived for so many years thus ladening him with more stress. At his age euthanasia would be the kindest thing.

Try feeding him soaked beet pulp to get liquid into him. That is about all I can suggest.
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