Need Some New Ideas - Chronic weight loss on rescue horse
   

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Need Some New Ideas - Chronic weight loss on rescue horse

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  • Micronised linseed for weigh gain in horses
  • Can imagine my old horse corn oil to put weight on him

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    10-24-2012, 05:04 AM
  #1
Foal
Unhappy Need Some New Ideas - Chronic weight loss on rescue horse

My first post and I guess it's a doozie...I'm trying to gather some new ideas on something I missed with this rescue horse I have. The plan was to rehome him after his health improved, but, you know how that goes. Can't imagine the big guy being anywhere else.

He's 12-15 year old Percheron cross gelding (lighter build for a draft), came home in late July. 16.3+hh. Farrier came the next day, vet the day after that for fever and upper respiratory stuff going on, got put on antibiotics for 10 days (don't remember what kind - but that was a ton of pill crushing!). That cleared up. Dewormed him with Equimax per vet suggestion. His condition at this time was: dull nasty coat, bloated/distended belly, no topline, underweight. After the Equimax, we gave him a bucket of Sand Clear. Also started probiotics as soon as we got him.

Had his teeth floated first week of September, wolf teeth were yanked out, had a couple of nasty hooks that were taken care of. Per vet recommendation, we did that 5-day panacur purge (power pak or whatever it's called). Right before his teeth were done, I noticed the vein running along his belly was distended. Vet was concerned about his overall condition, and we decided to wait 4-6 weeks from that point to see how he was doing before diving in for more diagnostics (suspecting malabsorption due to teeth problems and internal parasites).

It's now 7 weeks later. His coat looks better, shiny and softer. Barely any weight gain. There is some - there's a little more over his ribs and his spine is not so jagged looking. But nothing of the weight gain I'd expect. He still looks like a starved broodmare about to give birth.

What am I missing? What have I not done? I don't want to sound like a cheap-o, but I want to do everything I can myself before spending a ton on the diagnostics we're about to cover. To top it off - I saw lumpies in his eyelid last night. Had a horse with the same kind of thing years ago and it ended up being squamous cell carcinoma. I am trying not to think about this horse having GIT tumors or something, or lymphoma, or the eye thing being secondary to all else that could be going on.

Oops - almost forgot - this is what he eats...

This is one meal:
2 quarts beet pulp shreds (measured DRY then soaked)
5 quarts Strategy Healthy Edge
3 scoops Cool Calorie
1 scoops (1oz) Horseguard supplement
1/2 cup corn oil
(couple carrots, couple sugar cubes, an apple, whatever else he can mooch)

And he gets fed twice a day (I board, can't feed more often like I would like to). As much hay as he will eat - usually 3-4 flakes of fine stemmed grass hay (also twice a day). Also gets a small amount of alfalfa hay. I didn't think he "needed" the alfalfa since he should be getting adequate protein otherwise, but it had been suggested to me on top of what I feed so I do it.

All this just under 3 months. I knew putting weight on a draft cross wouldn't be an easy feat, but I expected some better results by now. The bloated belly and distended veins freak me out more than anything.

Sorry for the long post - any ideas on what else I should have done? I expect the next step will be doing more bloodwork, ultrasound, and heaven knows what else, lol.
     
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    10-24-2012, 05:19 AM
  #2
Started
I don't know anything about those feeds he is on, and it sounds like your taking awesome care of him.. The one thing I'm wondering is has he been scoped for ulcers? I know they can always help in making a horse not gain weight.

Otherwise, on my hard keeping gelding I feed him barley. Usually extruded because I'm too lazy to crush any or boil it (even though its cheaper!)

Can we see pictures? I know I'm not the only one who will want to see pics lol, I love a nice draft x.

I'm sure you'll get lots of informed replies haha I'm not informed much on rescue horses, all ours have been littler ones, and the first one was actually founderingly obese when we got her
     
    10-24-2012, 05:23 AM
  #3
Foal
Thanks for the reply! I had tried supplementing with barley and it made his legs stock up like crazy (and he is not stalled). I thought it was weird, I had never had a horse who reacted to barley like that but read it could happen. I could try taking pictures tomorrow.
     
    10-24-2012, 05:31 AM
  #4
Super Moderator
Brewers yeast or yea sac is excellent to help the gut digest the food and micronised linseed (I think you call it flax), also brilliant for weight gain.
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    10-24-2012, 08:00 AM
  #5
Green Broke
Do a cbc. My guess is anemic.

I went through the same thing this summer with my rescue. Took about 6 months to really get some good weight on her.

Panacur powerpac to get rid of the worms and then Red Cell to get rid of the deficiencies.

If he is anemic he wont be able to absorb all the calories.

I think Cool Calories is overkill, I would take him off that.

Get rid of Corn oil, it is bad news. Flax seed or flax oil is great.

Oh and don't measure anything in quarts or scoops. Weigh everything. Kitchen scale at Walmart is $7.
     
    10-24-2012, 08:27 AM
  #6
Started
I am thinking ulcers or anemic as well. How is the weather where you are right now? Is it chilly? You might want to put a light blanket on so he isn't shivvering off weight.

Flax oil is great. As is black oil sunflower seeds.

Is it possible to add soaked hay cubes to his diet? We have a few hard keepers and we give them soaked hay cubes for lunch and supper. As a rescue and larger horse he really needs to be fed a bit more then a breakfast and supper. If you have it all made and ready for him its not really extra work for them. They can toss him the cubes when they are done morning chores.

If you can't afford the scope for ulcers just jump to adding gut coat to his diet morning and night. Its not going to hurt him. Its basically pepto for horses.

Good luck, and pictures are a must!

I also agree you should weigh instead of scoop. If the boarding facility doesn't want to go through the work then make up his feed and just have it in bags all weighed out so they can just dump it in his feed bucket. I always premake my feed with supplements and all. Its just easier all around and I know my horse is getting what she is supposed to be getting as sometimes barn staff can forget to add a supplement or could be in a rush and not properly measure.
     
    10-24-2012, 09:18 AM
  #7
Yearling
Quote:
Originally Posted by poppy1356    
Do a cbc. My guess is anemic.

I went through the same thing this summer with my rescue. Took about 6 months to really get some good weight on her.

Panacur powerpac to get rid of the worms and then Red Cell to get rid of the deficiencies.

If he is anemic he wont be able to absorb all the calories.

I think Cool Calories is overkill, I would take him off that.

Get rid of Corn oil, it is bad news. Flax seed or flax oil is great.

Oh and don't measure anything in quarts or scoops. Weigh everything. Kitchen scale at Walmart is $7.
I think you're doing well but agree that cool cals is overkill. It is essentially dehydrated vegetable oil and you're giving that... I personally like rice bran for a fat supplement. Easier to feed and sometimes oil or cool cals gives diarrhea. Also agree with weighing everything and I think it is time for blood work to see if there are any organ function issues or blood count problems. How old is this guy?

On the anemia theory. Please read my post in this thread Best Possible Supplements - Anemia?

Sorry but no, anemia has nothing to do with an animals ability to absorb nutrients. Anemia is a deficiency of red blood cells and the only thing in the world that red blood cells do is carry oxygen to tissues and carbon dioxide away from tissues. If he were anemic, he would have to be extremely compromised for it to be affecting nutrient absorption because the body will shunt more blood to the internal organs when it senses oxygen deprivation and this compensates for less red blood cells.

What I'm saying is you'd see many other signs of anemia before it showed up as weight loss. That being said, if something ELSE is causing the weight loss, this could cause him to be mildly anemic (this falls under "anemia of chronic disease"). And all the red cell in the world won't fix it, you have to get at the underlying cause.
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    10-24-2012, 09:27 AM
  #8
Green Broke
Well the worm burden could have caused anemia. If your body is deficient I really don't see how you could be readily gaining weight without your body functioning properly.
     
    10-24-2012, 09:34 AM
  #9
Yearling
Quote:
Originally Posted by poppy1356    
Well the worm burden could have caused anemia. If your body is deficient I really don't see how you could be readily gaining weight without your body functioning properly.
Exactly, if you're anemic enough for it to cause malabsorption (which would be because your gut is extremely compromised due to lack of oxygen carrying capacity), you'd be much much sicker than this horse sounds to be. Also, she should have gotten rid of the worm burden 7 weeks ago with Equimax and a power pack. If worms were causing anemia, it should have been corrected by now.
     
    10-24-2012, 09:37 AM
  #10
Yearling
Also, another thought- how bad off was this guy when he came to you? Do you know what the vet put his body condition score at (out of 9)? Sometimes it takes quite a while to see a difference in an emaciated horse as they are often putting a lot of it into internal reserves and then one day it's like BOOM! Things start looking better. I would also advise checking out the sticky "Care of an emaciated horse"
     

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