My vet says horse's weight is of concern - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 13 Old 07-04-2012, 09:08 AM Thread Starter
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My vet says horse's weight is of concern

My friend and I have the same vet and she was told that her horse is getting too skinny and is concerned about his weight. He is a 29 year old Morgan gelding. He had his teeth floated earlier this year and is up to date on all vaccinations. She has three horses all together which she feeds 2 flakes of grass hay which is split between 3 horses and each horse get half a flake of alfalfa twice a day. Young Man, the horse in question, also get a pound of beet pulp and about 1 1/2 -2 lbs of alfalfa cubes soaked with water twice a day. In the evening he gets a cup of LMF Super Supplement. The horses are not fed separately but his is alpha and is able to eat his food without being pushed off. He does not get ridden but does get turned out to pasture a couple times a week. We think for his age his body condition is good. We would like your opinion please.
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post #2 of 13 Old 07-04-2012, 10:24 AM
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I'd say he's in pretty good shape for the shape he's in! 29 is getting to be an old man and you really can't expect them to look like they did when they were young! I too have a 29 year old gelding. He looks very similar to this horse. He's a retired roping horse who used to be huge, thick, and wide. But now, in his old age, he isn't skinny but he is a lot more narrow, his back is swayed, and he's lost muscle tone because we don't ride him anymore.

I wouldn't call this horse skinny by any means. He sure doesn't need to be too fat, as that could stress his old bones and joints!
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post #3 of 13 Old 07-04-2012, 10:55 AM
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He looks to be in OK shape there, but my question would be has he lost a lot of weight since the vet last saw him? Maybe they are seeing a decline and want to get on top of it before it comes a problem?
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post #4 of 13 Old 07-04-2012, 11:00 AM
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He looks OK to me.
That isn't very much hay for 3 horses but I guess if they are holding their weight on it it is enough.
All vets have their own opinions on what is proper weight. One of my vets was a race track vet for years & he thinks most horses are too over weight, he may be right too.
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post #5 of 13 Old 07-04-2012, 11:50 AM
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He looks okay. I could see maybe 50 more pounds on him but any more than that would be too much. He's shiny and bright, I wouldn't be too worried. Unless, as someone already said, he lost weight since the last visit. Then that could be worth looking into.

I also do not think that is enough hay for three horses, so I am hoping this is one of those cases where one flake is way more than average. How much do the bales weigh?

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post #6 of 13 Old 07-04-2012, 12:11 PM
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I would listen to your vet. A few photos on the internet can be very deceiving. While most posters are giving you the "he looks fine" answer, we are not seeing him in person and your vet is.

I think he is too thin, not by much, but you do not want to get the weight low on an old horse because it can be difficult to put back on. I can really see weight loss in his rump.
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post #7 of 13 Old 07-04-2012, 12:17 PM
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I think his weight it perfect, it is not fat that he lost it is muscle tone from not being ridden.

Horses are scared of two things... Things that move and things that don't.
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post #8 of 13 Old 07-04-2012, 12:57 PM Thread Starter
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I am not sure on the weight of the bales. My friend and I had talked about his weight and I asked her if I could post on this forum to get other people's opinions and she was curious to see what others had to say. As for his weight lost or gained, he is the same as when the vet visited him. Thank you everyone for your input. I will let her know.
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post #9 of 13 Old 07-04-2012, 01:06 PM
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He is in passable condition in those photos, but I sure wouldn't want to see him any leaner. (And I'm sorry - age is not an excuse. I've seen plenty of well filled-out oldies. Its a matter of finding what is right for them rather than just sitting back and saying oh-well its because they are old.) If she has had the same vet for a while and this is the first time he has said anything, it probably means the horse has lost some weight since last time. As owners that see our horses every day sometimes its hard for us to see slow weight loss/gain and it takes someone who only sees the horse on occasion to notice it.

Maybe adding a senior complete feed or a fat-based supplement will help him keep his weight up?

All I pay my psychiatrist is cost of feed and hay, and he'll listen to me any day!

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post #10 of 13 Old 07-04-2012, 03:29 PM
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He's not getting enough hay, IMO, IF that's all he's getting. If he is on good pasture and also getting that amount of hay, then I wouldn't worry about the amount he's being fed.

Especially at his age, he needs all the hay and grass (if he's not dealing with metabolic issues) that can be shoved into him. Those acidic digestive juices inside a horse work 24/7 whether there's hay to digest or not. Not enough hay to "soak up" those juices might result in ulcers.

My question is aimed at the vet. Sooooo okaaay, you think he's too thin, what's next on your list of things to check on him?

1. CBC (complete blood workup).

2. What about ulcers? Hind gut or gastric ulcers might be an issue.

3. What about doing some blood work to check for insulin resistance, equine metabolic syndrome (which certainly does cause muscle waste), or cushings?

Just because he's thin doesn't mean he might not have metabolic issues. EMS caused one of my horses to lose weight, muscle mass, and it's now difficult to keep weight on his 25 yr old self.

My horse has a coat slicker than a peeled onion, just like this Fella. He's had three colics in six months when he's never had any before. First off, he has hind-gut ulcers for which he's on EquiOtic. Second, the vet is suspicious of either adhesions from the first colic or benign lipomas which are fatty tumors.

Point being healthy shiny coat and hooves, my horse is not healthy inside and that may very well be the case with this handsome Gent.

Unless the vet has run some tests on this horse that the OP hasn't mentioned, I am doing smack-down on the vet. Don't say the horse is "starting to get thin", then ask for the check and roll out the drive. Do some "possibilities talking" with the owner.
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