sunken flanks
 
 

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sunken flanks

This is a discussion on sunken flanks within the Horse Health forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Horses category
  • My horses flanks are sunken
  • Sunk in horse flanks

 
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    04-02-2010, 01:17 AM
  #1
Trained
sunken flanks

My 4 year old qh colt has had sunken in flanks for about 6 weeks now. I was always told that that indicated dehydration so I started monitoring his water intake. Seeing as he is a colt he is by himself so it is easy to tell just how much water he is drinking.

He is only going through maybe 10L (2.5 gallons) of water a day and we are in summer here. Well autumn now but it is still hot. His water is cleaned and refilled fresh daily and kept in the shade so it doesnt heat up in the sun so there is no reason there that should stop him from drinking. By my calculations he is drinking only about a 1/4 of what he should be. Even after exercise I can't get him to drink much and he would surely need it. I've tried adding molasses to his water to encourage him to drink but that hasnt helped.

I know every horse is different but all my other guys average around 40L a day which is considered normal.

Any ideas?
     
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    04-02-2010, 02:52 AM
  #2
Yearling
You should do a dehydration test on him. You pinch a flap of skin on their neck and see how quickly it retracts back. If it hesitates, then he is dehydrated, if it springs back he isn't. Sunken flanks could indicate poor intestinal/digestion health, so check his diet as well, although I would really need pictures of him to determine this. In the mean time, you can feed him electrolytes to make up for the water he isn't drinking, and if you give him supplements/grain you can put extra water in so his water intake increases. Make sure your water source is clean and fresh as well.
     
    04-02-2010, 02:57 AM
  #3
Green Broke
Try the sweet/ plain method. Add a teaspoon of sugar to the water in a gallon bucket. Have this available to him all day long. Also have an unsweetened bucket of clean cool water, let him pick. Studies have shown that horses will drink more of a very lightly sweetened water than they will plain water, and they drink more cool water than if you let it get warm. Andthey drink much more with the option to pick which water they prefer all day long.

Maybe up his electrolytes, give him a little salt with his food.

Could also be lack of muscle and have nothing to do with dehydration...
     
    04-02-2010, 03:06 AM
  #4
Trained
Quote:
Originally Posted by roro    
You should do a dehydration test on him. You pinch a flap of skin on their neck and see how quickly it retracts back. If it hesitates, then he is dehydrated, if it springs back he isn't. Sunken flanks could indicate poor intestinal/digestion health, so check his diet as well, although I would really need pictures of him to determine this. In the mean time, you can feed him electrolytes to make up for the water he isn't drinking, and if you give him supplements/grain you can put extra water in so his water intake increases. Make sure your water source is clean and fresh as well.
yup I know how to do a dehydration test. This was one of the first things he does and it springs back fine :)

All he gets in his diet is: free choice grass, a biscuit of hay a day and his hard feed consists of lucerne chaffe, stud pellets and a small amount of steam flaked barley. He gets a complete supplements with electrolytes included.

His poops are normal as can be which wouldnt indicate digestion probs would it ?? Not sure but I wouldnt think so

As I said, his water in cleaned out every day and refilled with fresh water.

Honeysuga - as I mentioned in my initial post I have tried adding molasses to his water but it doesnt help. I also mentioned how I keep his water in the shade to stop it heating up ;)

He has good muscle so I wouldnt imagine that to be an issue either
     
    04-02-2010, 05:14 AM
  #5
Green Broke
I know you said you added molasses, that is not the same as I was saying. Molasses adds flavor too, rather strong flavor that they enjoy in treats, but not to drink all day and depending on how much you added, he might not have liked how sweet it was. Just a teaspoon of sugar into a gallon of water adds a teensy little bit of sweetness which the study I was referring to suggested they prefer to flavored(molasses or whatever flavor, they used sugar free kool aid packets, just a teensy bit in the gallon of water, which they said worked in some horses, they preferred cherry over any flavor(others preferred banana, grape, or orange), but still did not drink as much as just mildly sweet sugar water.) and sweeter water.

Didn't see the shade part, but as I said, could have nothing to do with him being dehydrated(the flanks) though obviously he is not getting enough water.

Have you tried a few different brands of distilled water(gallon jug size in the grocery store, rather cheap but handy for this little experiment, buy a few different brands) just to see if he has a flavor preference? Some horses are used to and prefer certain mineral flavors in their water, he could just not like how your water tastes no matter what you add to it or how cool you keep it.

All you have to do is pour a gallon of each type of water in a separate bucket, put it in his stall and see which one he drinks more of. You will be surprised how picky horses can get about their water, even if they have been drinking the same stuff for years, mineral levels change and they could not like the change.
While I do not suggest you provide all his water this way, it might help you rule out mineral changes as a possible culprit to his lack of thirst.
     
    04-02-2010, 05:21 AM
  #6
Trained
I will give the store bought water a try but the water he is getting he has been drinking for nearly a year and a half.

I get what you are saying about the sugar now. When I mix the molasses in its only just enough to slightly darken the water a tad so its not much but I will also try the sugar to see if that makes a difference. I never did leave it all day though but I would make up a bucket of water with molasses when he hadnt drank for a while and he would drink the whole thing but then would drink nothing else plain or not for hours on end.
     

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