I need some help/advice/ideas please!
My 30 year old horse (bought him when he was 4) has stopped eating and is losing too much weight.
Three months ago we had to move him to a different club. Might be important to note that he is familiar with this new club and the people, as he has been there several years in a row a while back.
We moved him because the "old" club was not working and he started losing some weight.
Because of that initial weight loss the vet precribed some supplements (powder form) that had a hideous smell and he wouldn't touch his grains. So we quit those and he started putting on some wheight. We would take him out grazing and he would eat his grains.
About 3 weeks ago there was a change in grain at the club and he stopped eating again. Because he was still thin and losing weight again the vet told us to give him liquid vitamins with a syringe.
The current situation is:
Very irregular feeding (grain)
He grazes (but less and less the last days)
He eats carrots and hay (although not with the same apetite as always)
As I said, his feeding is very irregular, and he hasn't eaten all his 3 meals per day for the last 2/3 weeks.
The vet checked his teeth, all seems fine.
He suggested some mouthwash just in case he had any blister and we gave him TANTUM which is something we've used several times in the past with success and he even seemed to like the taste of it.
No luck, he keeps losing weight and not eating.
Regarding the liquid vitamins, I also think he doesn't like them, it makes him nauseous or something, and he eats even less...
I observed this last Saturday and Sunday:
Saturday - gave him the vitamins after grazing and before his carrots. He wouldn't eat the carrots from my hand afterwards and took him quite a while to start eating them from his bowl (he usually dives right in).
Sunday - decided to give him the vitamins before grazing. He did not graze at all and we were out for an hour. He ate the carrots back in his stall though.
He still looks interested in his hay.
Odd thing: lately his been eating a lot of dirt, pinetree bark, and even pine cones! This is something really strange, because it's not a little bit once in a while. It's leaving the grass for the dirt.
The bark and pine cones is kind of new for me. He might have taken a bite or two of tree bark once in a while before, but I believe I had never seen him go for the pine cones.
He's a horse without bad habbits - he doesn't chew on his stall door, or food bowl, or whatever.
When I noticed him eating so much dirt I brought one of those salt blocks for him to lick, but he doesn't seem to pay much attention to it.
I've read people had success in similar cases using molasses with the grains, so I will try it today.
Any ideas or sugestions are most welcome please!