Nutrition Challenge for horse of many problems

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Nutrition Challenge for horse of many problems

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    02-27-2012, 05:34 PM
Nutrition Challenge for horse of many problems

I have a (almost) 6 yo, arabian gelding that gets worked lightly a few times a week. He is turned out on pasture 24/7. He is current on deworming and all his vitals are fine. His teeth are healthy. He is current on shots and has a beautiful, healthy coat.

This horse has a SERIOUS choke problem. I have tried every texture of feed, dry, wet and soaked to a mash and he still has problems. I have had so many vet bills that I have given up giving him any kind of "feed". The past few years he has been doing well on a "meal" fat supplement with minerals added (which according to the feed company creates a complete feed), grass, and either grass or grass/alfalfa hay. He has maintained his weight and energy. He CAN NOT have too much alfalfa or starchy food or he gets VERY hot, to the point where he can become dangerous to ride. He is normally a very laid back horse.

The past month or so he has lost some weight and has been very lazy when ridden and even a little cranky at times. He still seems healthy in general and I can't find any soreness anywhere. Manure and urine normal. He eats and drinks good. I will take him to see the "doctor" if he doesn't improve soon but in the meantime I have gotten some Calf Manna (he can eat a small amount of pellets mixed in his "meal") and probios. Has anyone had success with these products or is there anything else you recommend for weight gain and "cool" energy?
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    02-28-2012, 01:09 AM
I've been in your shoes. I owned a mare that choked her entire life. Have you had him scoped to know where the stricture/obstruction is? Does he do fine on green grass? What exactly is his diet? Can he eat some hay? Do you soak it?

PM me if it's easier.
    02-28-2012, 09:27 AM
Originally Posted by Left Hand Percherons    
I've been in your shoes. I owned a mare that choked her entire life. Have you had him scoped to know where the stricture/obstruction is? Does he do fine on green grass? What exactly is his diet? Can he eat some hay? Do you soak it?

PM me if it's easier.
I've never had him scoped. I've talked about it with my vet but there isn't much to do about it so what's the point? Plus, you can always see where it is and it's the same place. I'm sure he built up scar tissue since the first time.

He does fine on grass and hay and I don't soak it. Knock on wood, he has only had a problem with pellets and grain. I tried soaking that, I tried putting rocks in his feed pan to slow him down, basically everything you can think of but nothing works. Very frustrating!

His current diet is Healthy Glo Meal and Stay Strong Minerals (from ADM Alliance), pangola hay, orchard/alfalfa hay, and as of yesterday, 1/2 lb of Calf Manna (I will probably up it to a pound but wanted to start slow) and 5 gram probios. And he is on bahia grass 24/7 (very healthy grass now) And a joint supplement (since he also has stifle problems and a tiny bit of arthritis in one of his pasterns - he's so lucky he's a great boy! Lol)

Any suggestions? He's become a bit ribby and lazy and I'm not liking it! I have a small concern that it might be ulcers? But the risk factors aren't there except for frequent hauling, but he isn't nervous when we go places at all.
    02-29-2012, 11:17 AM
So how's he done with the calf manna? Why can he eat some added pellets? Does he bolt all his feed but not this mixture? Are you adding it just as a protein source or something else? If that's the case and you want to stay with a meal product, use soybean meal instead. It's 48% protein, the same 1.5 Mcal/# and your vitamin/minerals are covered by the Grostrong. If the rice bran is working, leave it alone but it is a source of starch, 20%, and only has 1.7 Mcals/#. Add 1/2# of ground flax. Will he not eat oils? 1/2C is 1 Mcal. I love ADM products. Have you tried beet pulp shreads?

It's good he can eat hay but stay on top of that. Green grass as much as possible, only fine stemmed immature hays (I'd be dunking it in water even at this point). You can leach out some of the starch plus it might delay the progressive damage to the esophagus. Other things you can do is raise his feed off the ground. My mare was most comforable eating at chest height. Spread his feed over the entire bottom of a feed bunk (8 ft or more). Drizzle some oil over the top to help make it stick slowing his eating down to a crawl.
    02-29-2012, 12:53 PM
I did add the calf manna as mostly a protein source. I can't find soybean meal anywhere! That was my first choice. I've only added 1/2 lb of calf manna which is about a 1/2 soup can full. Mixed in with his meal he seems to be ok with it. He really takes his time with the meal because it sticks to his teeth and tongue so he it takes him a while to make it through it all because he stops to rub his gums on his stall (lol) and get drinks of water (which I am sure helps keep him from more choke episodes!)

I did try beet pulp shreds and he had a bad choke on them. And I got a lecture from my vet about it, lol.

He is currently eating at somewhere between chest and knee level. That seems to be the best spot for him. Any higher and he knocks his bucket down and any lower and he paws it. But he seems happy with it now. He eats hay from a hay bag in his stall or on the ground in the pasture. He seems fine with either of those.

What kind of oil would you suggest? I'm not excited about corn oil - he is VERY sensitive to corn and gets crazy hot!
    02-29-2012, 01:35 PM
Right now at Costco, Canola oil is the cheapest for me ($9/1 1/4G). Cheaper than vegetable oil which is a blend of whatever. Cheaper than the 35# jugs that are super messy. It's also the best of the general oil because it has the highest omega 3 values. Not your problem but it also doesn't solidify as easily in cold weather. Corn oil should not pose a problem because it's 100% fat. If he has a sensitivity to the high CHO and starch in corn, it's not found in corn oil.

Ask your feed store to get in the SB meal. If they're worth your business, they'll get anything you want.
    02-29-2012, 04:57 PM
Good to know about the corn oil! I know we've always fed it to performance horses growing up for energy and shine but that was the extent of my knowledge on the subject. Lol! I will give the oil a try! Don't have a costco around but I'm sure one of our town's two stores will have a sale soon.

As for the soybean meal, I can ask but I don't personally give me feed store enough business. My other horses eat mostly grass and hay and the hay is grown by a friend. But I did remember a feed mill that I forgot about that probably has it.

Thanks for all your help! Hopefully I can get this figured out and get him back in shape! He worries me to death with all his "issues".
    03-07-2012, 03:14 PM
The reason I am asking the following is because one of mine has started to choke on food and I just could not figure out why. But he did not do it with every meal. So I decided it might be time for a float well it revealed he had 3 chewing teeth. I changed his food to the following. He was also colicing and the EquiPride was recommended to me by a horse nutritionist it has prebiotics and other things to get their gut healthy as she put it. He has not coliced since I put him on that about 3 years ago. He shines and glistens and you cannot tell he is not being fed hay my vet is amazed at how good he looks and he is a senior early 20's horse.
Just a thought.

How many teeth does he have to chew with and when was the last time he was checked?
I have a horse that has a couple teeth to chew with he is being given soaked to the point of bursting open so there is not hard pieces.

Alfalfa pellets from WSI

Equine Pride Performance horse feed it is a complete feed.

I top it with Sweet Pro EquiPride a little about this product:
• Improved digestion
• Up to 25% less forage needed
• Helps combat digestive colicing
• A shiny and healthy hair coat
• Strong, solid hooves
• Better lubricity of joints
• Strength and endurance without getting hot or high
• Improved temperament
• Hard-keepers gain weight
• Bright clear eyes
• Overall health improvement
    03-07-2012, 08:39 PM
Originally Posted by TimeChaser    
He CAN NOT have too much alfalfa or starchy food or he gets VERY hot, to the point where he can become dangerous to ride. He is normally a very laid back horse.
Alfalfa's a good feed generally, but being high energy, 'good doers' can't afford to have much. It is also very high in calcium & protein, which can cause serious probs for horses if not fed *as part of a balanced diet. Starchy feeds & cereal grains are not generally good for horses, physically, which is a big reason for their 'hot' problems with them I reckon. If he's had these type feeds in the past, if he's had veterinary procedures or his choke episodes have caused him to go hungry at some point(s), or there have been sudden or major diet changes, then I'd be treating him for ulcers.

I haven't had anything to do with calf manna, but probios are potentially very helpful. I'd be adding anything, esp high fat/oil to his diet very sparingly & gradually, as horses don't naturally have the enzymes that digest fat, so they need to develop them. Wetting the hay & sprinkling some meal/oil on it may do the trick.

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