He is beautiful, and he's going to be a lot more beautiful. I think you're right to make a calendar to stop yourself from rushing with the diet changes. I'd be minded to take it much slower than for a healthy horse and stick to just the hay for now. Then after the vet has been I would add one more thing - whichever of the alfalfa or rice bran will be easier to digest. If you were in the UK I'd be suggesting soaked sugar beet, but that doesn't seem so popular here?
Then once he's settled on that I would wait a fortnight before putting in the ration balancer, and then I would stop adding unless the vet identifies that he has a deficiency.
Slow slow steady weight gain is what you want in his case. Let that metabolism adjust to no work and more food in a nice calm manner.
I've posted that on another starved horse thread already, here is what UC Davis recommends for severely starved horses:
One pound of high quality alfalfa every six hours
Slowly increase the amount of alfalfa and decrease the number of feedings so that by day 6 you're feeding just over 4 lbs every 8 hours 13 lbs per day in 3 feedings)
Day 10 and for several months
Feed as much alfalfa as the horse will eat and decrease feeding to twice a day. Provide access to salt. Do NOT feed grain, treats such as apples or carrots, or other supplements until the horse is well along in its recovery. Each feeding of grain, treats or other supplements complicates the return of normal metabolic function.
Other types of hay such as grass hay may be added following the first 2 weeks of referring but should be added slowly over time.
Alfalfa hay contains adequate amounts of salt for a sedentary horseshine so use caution offering a salt block within the first 4-6 weeks
They tried several variations of this diet at Davis, but came to the conclusion the above mentioned was the most effective one and provided everything needed.
As for his diet, as terribly skinny as he is, he wasn't starved, he had been given a minute 2-3 flakes of hay at night (of questionable quality) as well as 1 quart of trotter twice a day. So he has had grain and hay, just not enough and not very good quality. That being said I don't want to change things too fast either. Right now he's on compressed hay as well as alfalfa/timothy cubes - but I think tomorrow I'm going to exchange my unopened bags of hay cubes for straight alfalfa cubes (or pellets if they'll let me). I'll definitely start adding more alfalfa to his diet - thanks Desert (as always!! ) but I don't want to eliminate regular hay all together as it seems to keep him pacified and happy. He's also drinking a substantial amount of water which makes me happy ;) He's pooped a good deal today, each poop getting more like a real poop (not as sloppy as before). I offered him a salt lick (as I don't have loose salt, getting that tomorrow) he ravenously licked at it for a few minutes before I took it away, I don't want him to overdo that either, so I'll let him have it for just a couple minutes every so often - and only so long as he's drinking as much water as he is.
As for his hind end pic, I took it, he was standing at a slight angle, just a little, so the pic isn't perfect. But from looking in person I can say his right side has a bit more weight/muscle than his left. My poor boy with his docked tail ;-;
And just so you can all see him all happy and snuggly
I also just finished combing through his legs with a fine tooth comb and rubbing desitin on all his scratches - his hind heel bulbs were SO sensitive he wouldn't even let me touch them! I just globbed a pile of desitin in each and after that he let me rub it in, it must have really cooled the area, his heel bulbs were REALLY hot. My farrier will look at him tomorrow and let me know what that's all about or if there's something better I should do. It's too cold to wash them, I was told Ivory soap was great for scratches. But I'm hoping by the time it's warm enough for a bath his legs will be all healed up
He is so stinking cute! I am so glad you got him home! Those wear marks made me so sad :( I guess you should have him biopsied for PSSM/EPSM before you start worrying TOO much. I know there are two types, not sure if the diet is different for each type? I know alfalfa is easy on stomach ulcers, which he may have or be prone to since he was on an insufficient diet. But this is an article I found, seems like there is a lot of controversy on PSSM diet?? I would go with the UC Davis diet, they're more legit by far. But just for curiosity sake, here is a womans blog who has a horse with Type 1 PSSM.
Yeah, one of the alfalfa myths.....alfalfa is super low in NSC, so perfectly fine for a horse with metabolic issues EXCEPT HYPP and no problem unless the horse is overweight to begin with and it could be just too high calorie then.
He doesn't look that bad from behind. I would of expected a more sunken in on the sides of his croup. Try the other "tests" and see how he responds to them.
I have never seen saddle sores on a driving horse like that. You will sometimes see them up on the neck from the collar but never on the back. As one area was sore they would just move the saddle back and start again. I can't fathom how that damage occurred with a wagon as there should be almost zero pressure on the saddle from it. It would of been broken but still.
I'm surprised the public allowed a horse in his condition to work on their roads (if that's what he did). Here, he would of been on the news 100# ago.