Fatty McFatFatFatty...what to do?

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Fatty McFatFatFatty...what to do?

This is a discussion on Fatty McFatFatFatty...what to do? within the Horse Nutrition forums, part of the Horse Health category

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    11-21-2011, 03:13 PM
Super Moderator
Fatty McFatFatFatty...what to do?

So Miss Lacey is ridiculously obese right now and it's basically horrific.
I'm worried about giving her less food because I'm concerned that if I do she won't be getting enough nutrition. However, right now I suppose she's getting too much nutrition so maybe not enough for a while would be good, I don't know.
Also, she was seen by the vet a few weeks ago and given a clean bill of health aside from being IR (did a blood test) and fat, so no unexpected worries there.

Right now she's getting a pound of beet pulp, a pound of Enrich 32 (ration balancer), unlimited grass hay that she really doesn't touch, and maybe 3 pounds of alfalfa a day (that she steals from her llama buddies, they're the ones mostly eating the grass hay and she basically takes their alfalfa but I can't stop giving them alfalfa because their owner would have a cow[and I'd have to feed that too, ahhhh! Hahaha], so I just give "the llamas" as little as possible) and unlimited pasture (that's really dead right now).

What would you suggest cutting out? I'm considering cutting out the beet pulp but at the same time, I worry that that will cause her to eat more other stuff since BP is basically, to my understanding, just a filler.
I think the grass hay could probably stay since the llamas are really the ones eating it and our grass hay isn't very rich anyway. The alfalfa, maybe I could give them even less... Right now I'm giving them maybe half a 5 or 6 pound flake per day, I could give them like a 3rd or 4th of small flake...
The RB should probably stay too because that's her vitamins and minerals, right?

And the pasture, she's really not grazing at all that I've seen. The grass is pretty long still (6 inches in most areas) but she's not touching it, I would assume because it's pretty dead...


She's currently probably about 1100 pounds and she should be about 950 which is a healthy, slightly plump but muscular, weight for her.
She is relatively muscular right now and relatively fit so all that weight isn't like gross fat hanging off of her, it's like toned fat, but it's fat all the same. I'm also trying to work her more but with the way my school schedule is, I'm lucky if I'm able to feed before it's dark out.

Also, I haven't dewormed her in probably a year (I know, bad me)...Would doing that help? I'd assume that a load of worms would help her gain weight, not lose it but then again, stranger things have happened...

Thanks for reading my novel. Haha
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    11-21-2011, 03:35 PM
Green Broke
Beet pulp isn't a filler... it's used to put weight on horses. She's going to gain more weight eating a pound of beet pulp than a pound of grass hay.

Ditch the beet pulp, cut back on the alfalfa if you can (are the llamas losing weight with her eating their food?) and have the vet run a fecal so you can see what her worm-load is.
    11-21-2011, 03:40 PM
Drop the beet pulp. He should be getting all the nutritional needs from the enrich. And maybe change to the enrich 12 is has less fat in it.
Take some poop to the vet and have it tested first before you treat him so you know what type of worms if any you need to treat for.
Also maybe a grazing muzzle as founder can be an issue with overweight horses.
    11-21-2011, 03:48 PM
Super Moderator
Originally Posted by Delfina    
Beet pulp isn't a filler... it's used to put weight on horses. She's going to gain more weight eating a pound of beet pulp than a pound of grass hay.

Ditch the beet pulp, cut back on the alfalfa if you can (are the llamas losing weight with her eating their food?) and have the vet run a fecal so you can see what her worm-load is.
Of course! I knew that. Geez. I do not know where my brain is today. Apparently in la-la land.

I'm not really sure if the llamas are losing weight. They don't get shorn (sheared? I dunno) or anything (they're basically wild) so all that hair makes it hard to see if they are a good weight. Their pattooties are filled in and they weren't in the dead of winter last year so maybe the llamas are chubby too? Unknown. I guess I will have to do a Google search. Haha

I should have definitely had that done when the vet came out. Darn it. My vet doesn't have a real office and charges $85 for a farm call (the only option since she doesn't have an office) so to have her come out, just a for a fecal is rather cost prohibitive. :/
Is it a terrible idea just to worm Lacey? I know I used Ivermectin last time so I'd use something different this time...
    11-21-2011, 03:59 PM
Llamas are browsers and grazers they are meant to live off of little, because the are pack animals from mountain ranges. I was always told not to feed them alfalfa because it is way to much protein they only need like 8%, I think it is hard on their digestive systems, they are meant for low protein diets. If you know the owners of the llamas you might suggest a grass hay, might be cheaper and better for them. Also might help Lacy lose some weight. Good luck.
    11-21-2011, 04:11 PM
Super Moderator
I've tried talking to the owners of the llamas about the alfalfa as well but the guy who owns them is sure that they will "starve to death" on grass hay alone. He's one of those people who cares a lot but doesn't really research his animals, comes to his own conclusions from talking to people who aren't very researched either, and is very stubborn about said conclusions no matter what. :(
They are relatively elderly llamas as well (like, he's had them for at least 14 years and they were both fully grown when he got them) so I kinda worry about dramatic changes to their life long diet...

My Google search about llama weight turned up pretty much nothing. I found information about body scoring through feel but nothing visual and since I can't touch the llamas (I'm working on it but so far, after a year, they're only ok with hand feeding, no touching)...well that could be a problem. Haha

This afternoon, when I feed, I'll cut out even more of the alfalfa and cut the BP out of Lacey's diet. Hopefully that'll do the trick.
And I plan on using the weight tape on her just to get a starting weight so I can see for real what's going on instead of just kinda guessing. Maybe I should start "weighing" her once a week, that could be a good idea.
    11-22-2011, 03:11 AM
I would cut out all the hard feed and offer a loose mineral free choice. Horses do not need hard feed and most actually survive just fine off of hay alone. Some do require a vit/min supplement but most are fine even without that. Make sure that you make any dietary changes slowly. The rule of thumb I've heard is about a pound per week of change to the diet.

Because she has been diagnosed with IR you should cut out all alfalfa. It is simply too difficult for her to digest. She also should lose weight like yesterday as IR horses even of a good weight are prone to founder. Being overweight makes them even more prone. Did your vet discuss with you what to feed your IR horse? Did you talk about a nutritional or feed plan or was a nutritionalist suggested to you?

Good luck!
    11-22-2011, 07:23 AM
I wouldn't be giving a fat/obese horse alfalfa....
    11-22-2011, 08:39 PM
Super Moderator
Alfalfa wouldn't be my choice either. However, the owner of the llamas is adamant that the llamas must have alfalfa, and since he's letting me keep Lacey there for free (in exchange for feeding the llamas), I need to at least make an effort to work with him.
Yesterday and today I cut them back to about a pound, at most, of alfalfa plus the usual unlimited grass hay. I also spread said pound out into 4 of the smallest piles ever so hopefully Lacey can't eat all the piles before the llamas eat most of it. It seemed to work today and yesterday so I'm hoping it'll keep working.
I also cut out the beet pulp.

Also, on the vet/IR front, my vet agreed that alfalfa was fine for her in the winter because grass hay alone, even unlimited grass hay, has proven in past years to cause Lacey to loose drastic amounts of weight (and be unable to maintain a healthy, not uber skinny, weight). The grass hay just doesn't have enough protien for her during the winter. However, apparently it's not winter enough yet for her to be getting alfalfa.

In the year that I've been feeding her a ration balancer (which my vet is also very in favor of, especially for IR horses), I've found that she's less hot (she's crazy hot in general but on the RB she's less so) and it seems to help her not fluctuate as much in her weight. Right now she's really fat but off the RB, she'd go from being 100lbs overweight to 50 underweight in a matter of a month or less with no stop in between. The RB seems to encourage her body to be less extreme and loose/gain weight in a slower, more controlled, fashion. I'm not sure why that is but I figure it probably has something to do with the vitamins and minerals in it that she's missing, or something. And I need something to add her joint supplement and Mare Magic to!

I feel really bad that I've let her go like this over the last few months. Thankfully she's generally pretty easy to get weight off of so in a few weeks she should be closer to, or at, a good weight. Especially since I now have time to really start riding her again. I foresee lots of trotting in her future!

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