why wont my horse put in weight? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 8 Old 04-07-2010, 10:44 PM Thread Starter
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Thumbs down why wont my horse put in weight?

hi everyone, i hae a thoroughbred ex-race horse and he just wont put on weight he is 12 years old and he is in a paddock with alot of grass gets fed lucerne everyday, gets rdden occaisionally. when we first got him he had just come off the track, he was sick for a few months (he had the flew). it has been months since he has had the flew but he still wont stick on weight he even gets alot of time off alot of the time.

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post #2 of 8 Old 04-07-2010, 10:57 PM
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You should have the vet out to look at him just to make sure there aren't any problems on the inside (i.e. worms, digestive problems,etc). Also when you say he gets alot of time off does that mean you dont ride him alot.....riding is good for building up muscle and that could help you out a bit the muscle will help fill him out more.

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post #3 of 8 Old 04-08-2010, 12:11 AM
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When he eats his hay does a lot of it seem to fall out of his mouth? It might be his teeth. It's not uncommon for horses to struggle with weight if their teeth need attention. Also, has he been dewormed?
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post #4 of 8 Old 04-08-2010, 12:27 AM
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in addition to the above, if you got him straight off the track and he raced for years (which it sounds like) OTTBs can go through a "let down" period when the have been on steroids - something that is all too common these days. when they are going through this symptoms range from mild to rapid weight loss, inability to put on or maintain weight regardless of feed content/quality/quantity, gas colics, loss of hair, and other such signs.

every horse is different, but i've rehabbed enough OTTBs that i've seen this quite a bit. when the horse is in this condition, the best thing i've seen is to put them on a good multi-vitamin, red cell, and feed free choice hay 24/7. grain should be 8% fat or higher if possible (NOT sweet feed - pelleted), and more smaller meals are better.

what the body is doing is purging the steroids, however when the steroids leave the system after a horse has been on them for an extended amount of time, not only does the body flush out the steroids, but the steroids pull out all the good nutrients with it. horses tend to look dull and "wasted" with regards to their muscle with some areas still being overly developed or toned looking. it truly is a detox - the hard part is of course the horse doesn't understand what's going on. if you think of a human drug addict in rehab, how they go through withdrawl and look even WORSE than when they were on the drugs for that detox period - that's what this is.

without knowing your horse, i can't say definitively that is what it is. and in addition to what i said, what the prior posters said is very important - have a dentist take care of his teeth, talk to your vet about ulcers and checking to see if he is anemic (very common for both ulcers and anemia in OTTBs). and the red cell can help with anemia and there are ulcer supps that can help as well, and depending on how bad he is, your vet may recommend a round of gastro guard paste. also be aware that if your horse was recently sick with the flu (did you get a vet to test and diagnose this??) his immune system is already weaker from the steroids and weaker still from being ill. if a vet did not confirm that it was the flu, you will want to talk to your vet about that as well as there are a myriad of other diseases and issues that it could be and what the final diagnosis is will absolutely affect your cause of action as you rehabilitate him and then vaccinate him in the future.

good luck and keep us posted on the progress!

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post #5 of 8 Old 04-08-2010, 12:46 AM
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I have an OTTB....right now hes on four flakes daily with NO work at all....its been four months and he's just starting to get fat. If we started working him, he would probably require five or six flakes daily. Keep in mind that his metabolism is probably high because hes still in racing condition, so he'll need to eat more.
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post #6 of 8 Old 04-08-2010, 12:55 AM
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In addition to getting a thorough vet check, you may want to start feeding him free choice hay, get him on a high quality weight building feed, and start atleast longing him daily, to help build, and keep muscle on. Get him on a really good deworming regimine, and have a blood panel run, to rule out infections, and deficiencies; he may be battling something 'un-noticable', so I think right now, the blood panel is a dire necessaty. Get his teeth checked, and floated if necessary.

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post #7 of 8 Old 04-08-2010, 01:00 AM
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Worm him, teeth checked and get him vetted. Once that'll all clear, throw a round bale of meadow hay out to him, stick a good rug on him so he doesn't lose heat through staying warm and keep feeding 1 biscuit of lucerne a day if you can. If he's not being worked much, I wouldn't put him on grain. The meadow hay is going to be the best thing for him. If he still doesn't gain weight after a few weeks of free choice meadow, i'd put him on speedi beet with lucerne chaff and a good pelleted feed throw into the mix.

Tb's are notorious for being bad keepers and when you buy one, you have to be prepared for that. I got lucky and found an extremely good doer, but on the whole they cost more in feed than anything else!
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post #8 of 8 Old 04-11-2010, 10:26 AM
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We had 2 OTTB mares, one in her 20s, the other is just 12. They were hard to put weight on, but that is just the TB build. They are one of the hardest breeds to keep weight on.

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