5 months old colt doesn't know how to drink water - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 3 Old 02-09-2011, 11:10 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Finland
Posts: 4
• Horses: 2
5 months old colt doesn't know how to drink water

Greetings from Finland!

I have just bought a 5 months old finnhorse colt on saturday. The seller told me that colts mother has reduced nursing him more and more when he was 4 months old, and he has been staying nights in his own box for a month before I got him home.

In home I first noticed that the colt is very thin and doesn't seem very well, and his mother was also thin (but also 22 years old already). In two days I noticed that the colt doesn't know how to drink water. He eats a lot of snow and licks water like a dog when I try to give it to him from a bucket, but I assume that he doesn't get it enough by licking, and I can't see him swallowing water att all. I'm scared that he will dry out or get sick.

I haven't yet got any reasons from the seller why the foal doesn't know how to drink. I believe that they haven't just noticed the whole thing (or didn't care at all?), cause they also didn't see that the foal is so skinny too. I believe that foal has been nursing small amounts from his skinny mother and eating snow all the time when he stayed with the seller.

But now what to do? I have called couple good finnish horse vets and they haven't even heard cases like I now have here. They doesn'n know what should I do.

I have tried to give him everything possible what could taste good. He doesn't want to taste anything else but dry food, when I add there something wet or different what he has used to eat (he eats grain and foal pellets), no. Now we have tried veal drinking bucket with a bigger dummy, but no. Next thing I will try milk replacer and smaller milk bottle to get more time to try him to learn. He is going to dry out if I can't get him to drink anything without his mother to nurse him.

He is staying with 2 other foals and a older gelding. With the seller there was also other horses, why didn't he learn there like normal foals or didn't they just give water them enough?
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post #2 of 3 Old 02-09-2011, 02:18 PM
Green Broke
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Arkansas
Posts: 4,138
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To get him hydrated, you might try making "stew" with hay pellets or beet pulp (speedi-beet?) and molasses. Most horses will dive right in for the molasses.

If he nursed from his mom, then he should have no trouble swallowing. I wonder if he has a horse equivalent to a cleft pallet and water or liquids go in to his sinus cavity...? That result is lessened when an animal nurses as the teat goes back pretty far in the mouth, avoiding the malformed pallet area.

I would have a vet out ASAP to have the colt thoroughly examined and given IV fluids.
luvs2ride1979 is offline  
post #3 of 3 Old 02-10-2011, 06:53 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Finland
Posts: 4
• Horses: 2
Colt didn't first eat anything moistured food nor molasses, I tried them first. Now he is willing to eat oatmeal with warm water and he eats his hays watered.

Vets has said that if he had som problem in his palate, milk and other stuff should came out of his nose. I just visited my own vet in the morning and she told me just to carry on trying to teach him.

The colt has looked now much better than when he arrived, he is quite lively. I also dewormed him and there came out strongylos-wormes.
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