I have a 14 yr old Quarter Horse gelding. He had EPM in his early years and from that he has an anemia problem due to a red blood cell deficiency which is controlled through the supplementation of Red Cell in his diet.
First off, the whole anemia due to EPM in his early life thing is a load of huey. EPM does not cause anemia. The 3 drug combination (sulfadiazine/pyrimethamine/trimethoprim) that used to be used to treat EPM years ago could cause anemia, but it would not continue to cause anemia after treatment. Anemia is also often mis-diagnosed in horses. If a horse is not worked prior to a blood draw, mild decreases in PCV and red blood cell count are nothing to worry about because the horse stores up to 30% of it's red blood cells in the spleen and only puts them into circulation when needed. That means that an RBC and PCV on a resting horse does not indicate the full number of actual red blood cells present in the body.
Having said that, Red Cell is really not an apt supplement to treat anemia anyway as anemia due to iron deficiency (or other mineral deficiency) is very rare in horses. Red Cell just serves a vitamin and mineral supplement. It won't prevent anemia though it may help a horse rebuild red blood cells if he in fact does lose some through blood loss or red blood cell destruction due to disease. And it may be providing a good bit of extra sugars in his diet due to the artificial cherry flavoring in it.
The problem is that he has always been on the heavy side however recently it has gotten much worse. He is not ridden as much as he should be due to me being in college. He has always been an easy keeper and the barn he is at has switched to round bales in the fields for convenience. (Switching barns or to a field that does not have round bales is not an option.) He does nothing but eat hay constantly while out (which is usually all day and all night). I was considering a grazing muzzle but they are meant for grass not hay. Besides since it being winter, water consumption may be hard and there is a chance it might freeze to his nose. Are grazing muzzles effective for hay consumption reduction or will it not allow him to eat hay at all?
I have recently ordered D-Carb Balance in hopes that it will help regulate his blood glucose which might be a factor of his obesity. Any thoughts?
Any other tips/advice would be very helpful.
What kind of hay is he getting? Sounds like he is on free choice, right? Has he ever had laminitis? Does he drink or urinate excessively?
The first thing to do would be to cut his hay intake down to 1-1.5% of his body weight per day. If there are any risk signs of insulin resistance (history of laminitis, drinking/urinating alot, fat pads at tail head, shoulders, cresty neck) then getting your hay tested to ensure that it's not high in non-structural carbs would also be a good idea or at the very least start soaking your hay in cold water for 30 minutes prior to feeding to help reduce the amount of carbs in it.
If he has indicators for IR, it would also be a good idea to talk to your vet about running a screening test like a resting serum insulin.
These are the places to start rather than spending your money on this supplement or that supplement.