Warning about alfalfa - The Horse Forum
Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools
post #1 of 16 Old 07-19-2010, 11:07 PM Thread Starter
dee
Started
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Seminole, OK
Posts: 1,854
• Horses: 3
Warning about alfalfa

Please excuse any typos - my computer died yesterday and I had to resort to my laptop, with it's itty bitty key board.

Daughter took her two year old colt to the vet's today. He literally looked like a walking skeleton and was covered with icky scabs. We had no idea what was wrong with him - the farrier thought the scabs may be from a fungus, and the snotty nose may be the start of pneumonia.

We had been feeding him alfalfa pellets and a mare and foal formula because he had lost so much weight. He was eating his fool head off, but kept losing weight. Our other horses had lost a lot of weight recently - but that was more due to the neglect from their caretaker while we were on vacation than anything else. They are gaining weight, but not Junior.

Junior is a paint, and it turns out the scabs and sores were due to an allergy to the sun. The sores are only on his white areas. His biggest problem, though, is an inability to process alfalfa. Apparently something in his liver is unable to metabolize it properly, causing a build-up of toxins resulting in extreme anemia and weight loss.

It's really sad - the more alfalfa we fed him to help him gain weight, the more weight he lost - we very nearly killed him with kindness! We may well have killed his mother - she died New Year's Eve. Vet said he never thought about the alfalfa causing her problems. He's been seeing more and more of it - probably because more and more people are feeding alfalfa in the form of pellets, just as we are.

This does NOT change the value of alfalfa as a feed for horses, and we will continue to feed it to our horses as ususal - just not to Junior. I don't want to discourage anyone from using alfalfa - just be aware that it can cause problems in some horses - and that problem also seems to have a genetic link.

Plain Old Dee, horses Dancer and Rain

I believe in dragons, unicorns, good men and other mythical creatures!
dee is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 16 Old 07-19-2010, 11:14 PM
Showing
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Higgins, TX. YeeHaw!!
Posts: 22,188
• Horses: 24
Wow, that's horrible :(. I wonder if it is just a result of the concentrated alfalfa of the pellets as opposed to a bale that would also contain the stems along with the leaves . I'm glad you got it figured out and have got him on the right track. That is your baby's sire, correct? If so, at least you know to watch out for that with her now.

Always remember that feeling of looking at a big, open country over the ears of a good horse, seeing a new trail unwind ahead of you, and that ever-spectacular view from the top of the ridge!!! Follow my training blog: http://robertsontraining.blogspot.com/
smrobs is offline  
post #3 of 16 Old 07-19-2010, 11:23 PM Thread Starter
dee
Started
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Seminole, OK
Posts: 1,854
• Horses: 3
Quote:
Originally Posted by smrobs View Post
Wow, that's horrible :(. I wonder if it is just a result of the concentrated alfalfa of the pellets as opposed to a bale that would also contain the stems along with the leaves . I'm glad you got it figured out and have got him on the right track. That is your baby's sire, correct? If so, at least you know to watch out for that with her now.
Actually, Junior would be Rain's half brother - they both have the same sire. Junior's dam is the one that passed away. Most likely he inherited the problem from her - his dad, Scooter, is gaining back the weight he lost just fine. Slower than we would like, but since we aren't feeding anything super high calorie, it will take a while.

You should see Junior, now. He looks like a pepto bismol pink walking skeleton. Vet gave daughter some sort of pink liquid called "Pink Lady" (of all things) to use on his scabs and white areas - it acts as a sunblock and is also kind of like calamine lotion on steroids. It's supposed to be good for all kinds of minor injuries.

My paint gelding, DJ also has some sunburn, and I'm supposed to use it on him, too. It lasts longer than using human sunblock, because it doesn't come off easily once it's dried and forms a physical barrier from the sun.

Plain Old Dee, horses Dancer and Rain

I believe in dragons, unicorns, good men and other mythical creatures!
dee is offline  
post #4 of 16 Old 07-20-2010, 12:23 AM
Started
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: In the barn whenever possible.
Posts: 1,910
• Horses: 2
I have a question about alfalfa and alfalfa pellets. Is there a way to calculate how much pellets to feed vs feeding flakes of alfalfa for a horse?

"Riding a horse is not a gentle hobby, to be picked up and laid down like a game of solitaire. It is a grand passion. It seizes a person whole and, once it has done so, he will have to accept that his life will be radically changed." -Ralph Waldo Emerson
Plains Drifter is offline  
post #5 of 16 Old 07-20-2010, 12:30 AM
Green Broke
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Arkansas
Posts: 4,138
• Horses: 3
Quote:
Originally Posted by Plains Drifter View Post
I have a question about alfalfa and alfalfa pellets. Is there a way to calculate how much pellets to feed vs feeding flakes of alfalfa for a horse?
You go by weight for both. You'll have less volume of pellets, but you should feed about the same weight as the flakes of hay. An average 1,000 lb horse should get 15-25 lbs of Alfalfa hay a day, if that is their sole source of forrage.

That said, pellets cannot replace the long stem fiber found in hay. You should provide at least 1% of your horse's body weight a day in long stem fiber, like grass hay or mixed hay, even if you're feeding a high amount of hay pellets. If your horse is on good pasture (grass more than 3" long) all day, then that should be enough long stem fiber.
luvs2ride1979 is offline  
post #6 of 16 Old 07-20-2010, 12:33 AM
Green Broke
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Arkansas
Posts: 4,138
• Horses: 3
That is scary Dee! I'm glad your vet got it figured out for you though and Junior is on his way to recovery .

My Anglo Arabian (TBxArab) does better on Timothy hay pellets, with just a little chopped alfalfa hay in his feed (less than 1 lb). He has a mild sensitivity to Alfalfa, but it only makes him hyper, no other health issues. He just seems a bit more level headed on Timothy pellets. I have one mare, a Paint with a lot of TB in her, that is a dead head, lol. I'm adding whole oats to her diet to hopefully get some energy in her!
luvs2ride1979 is offline  
post #7 of 16 Old 07-20-2010, 12:55 AM
Green Broke
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Valley of the Sun
Posts: 2,941
• Horses: 3
I knew a lady who had a paint that was allergic to alfalfa too. She also had problems keeping weight on the horse and it was sun sensitive. I wonder if that is something typical of that type of allergy?

So in lies the madness, the pursuit of the impossible in the face of the complete assurance that you will fail, and yet still you chase.
flytobecat is offline  
post #8 of 16 Old 07-20-2010, 12:57 AM Thread Starter
dee
Started
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Seminole, OK
Posts: 1,854
• Horses: 3
Yeah - daughter is devastated at the thought that we may have been able to save her beloved Ginger just by taking her off of alfalfa. However, the mare did tend to colic if you looked at her cross eyed, and we aren't exactly sure what her exact cause of death really was.

Junior is feeling much better at the moment - but it won't last too long. Vet gave him a huge vitamin shot. It's just to give him a boost until the change in his diet kicks in... we've added Red Cell to help with the anemia.

Plain Old Dee, horses Dancer and Rain

I believe in dragons, unicorns, good men and other mythical creatures!
dee is offline  
post #9 of 16 Old 07-20-2010, 01:01 AM Thread Starter
dee
Started
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Seminole, OK
Posts: 1,854
• Horses: 3
Quote:
Originally Posted by flytobecat View Post
I knew a lady who had a paint that was allergic to alfalfa too. She also had problems keeping weight on the horse and it was sun sensitive. I wonder if that is something typical of that type of allergy?

It's entirely possible, but I really can't say for sure. Ryle would know more about it than I would. I understand that sun sensitivity (it's got a technicial name - photosensetive - or something like that) is not uncommon in white horses, and horses with a lot of white on them.

I don't think my paint, DJ is allergic, though. He's just sunburned in a couple of spots.

Plain Old Dee, horses Dancer and Rain

I believe in dragons, unicorns, good men and other mythical creatures!
dee is offline  
post #10 of 16 Old 07-20-2010, 01:04 AM
Trained
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: CO
Posts: 5,061
• Horses: 5
Wow, that's a scarey thing to have to deal with...I think alot of vets most likely wouldn't even pinpoint the cause right away, much to the detriment of the horse!

Hope Junior feels alot better, and soon!

"The ideal horseman has the courage of a lion, the patience of a saint, and the hands of a woman..."
mom2pride is offline  
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now



In order to be able to post messages on the The Horse Forum forums, you must first register.

Already have a Horse Forum account?
Members are allowed only one account per person at the Horse Forum, so if you've made an account here in the past you'll need to continue using that account. Please do not create a new account or you may lose access to the Horse Forum. If you need help recovering your existing account, please Contact Us. We'll be glad to help!

New to the Horse Forum?
Please choose a username you will be satisfied with using for the duration of your membership at the Horse Forum. We do not change members' usernames upon request because that would make it difficult for everyone to keep track of who is who on the forum. For that reason, please do not incorporate your horse's name into your username so that you are not stuck with a username related to a horse you may no longer have some day, or use any other username you may no longer identify with or care for in the future.



User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.

Password:


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:
OR

Log-in









Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.


Old Thread Warning
This thread is more than 90 days old. When a thread is this old, it is often better to start a new thread rather than post to it. However, If you feel you have something of value to add to this particular thread, you can do so by checking the box below before submitting your post.

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page



Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
*WARNING* Not for the light of heart *WARNING* Graphic - Abuse at Conklin Dairy Farm JustDressageIt General Off Topic Discussion 88 12-08-2010 05:22 PM
Alfalfa pellets?! CarlyCole Horse Health 10 04-22-2010 03:54 PM
alfalfa chika1235 Horse Health 8 03-23-2010 08:17 PM
What's the benefit of alfalfa? EternalSun Horse Health 4 06-01-2009 02:44 AM

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

 
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome