Hey all. I posted a thread in the beginning of winter talking about how Drifter was losing weight and I couldn't get it to stop. I got back great advice about feeding regimens, blanketing and nutritional alternatives to the grain he was on.
Well he has just gotten worse and I am looking for some more help. Equine nutrition is really not my forte. When I bought Drifter last year around this time, he was about a 2 or 2.5 on the body scale. He improved dramatically with the right food and work and looked great going into the winter. He was actually a little chubby at the beginning of the season because he had been laid up due to an injury.
He is probably back at a 2 now. I have been working with my vet because of the dramatic weight loss. I have been researching as much as I could. We scoped him again even though he was eating and not showing other signs of ulcers, but I wanted to make sure his hadn't returned. My vet said that area was fine. His teeth have recently been fine and his fecal count did not show anything out of the ordinary. I also ordered bloodwork which my vet said did not show anything wrong. That does put my mind slightly at ease because I have been terrified that he has cancer or some other weight loss causing disease.
Personality wise he is the same. Not acting depressed, lethargic or sickly. He is out 24/7 in a group of geldings in a 200-300 acre pasture. I am not sure on the exact size. They're normal pasture is 100 acres, and the BO closed off the back 40 acres and opened up the gate to the cross country course to allow the geldings more grass. He is not at the bottom of the totem pole. He gets along with most of the other horses. No insane amounts of bullying to stress him out.
He is on unlimited pasture with 24/7 access to all the hay he wants. He is fed a mixture of Strategy, beet pulp and Purina Senior. The strategy is the only way I can get him to eat his beet pulp and Purina Senior. I have recently added cool calories to his diet per vet's recommendation. We have started out at 1oz per feeding,and are working up to 2oz per feeding.He is also on the SmartGut supplement due to his history with ulcers and Tri-Amino to help him regain some of his muscle.
My vet is of the belief he is just a TB with high metabolism. He thinks I unfortunately waited too little, too late when getting Drifter a blanket earlier this winter (he had already dropped before I realized he needed one). He has recommended putting Drift's blanket on anytime its 60* or below. If ii is below 50, Drifter is brought in and stalled and given unlimited hay. He is NOT in any work right now. The last time I really rode him was about 5 or 6 weeks ago. I ended up falling off and suffering an AC joint separation so Drifter has not been worked in a while. I do not plan on working him now until I can get his weight back up.
I have been following the new diet for the past 3 or so weeks now. The management plan (stalling, blanket, etc) has been in place for a week and he seems to be doing slightly better. How long should it take to see real results? How do I know if what I am doing is not working? I am sick with worry. He looks awful and it makes me want to cry with frustration because I just can't seem to be able to help him.
Can a horse being too cold really cause this dramatic of a weight loss? It rained yesterday and I ran out to the barn to get him up only to find him shivering so hard I was afraid he was having a seizure. I brought him in, toweled him off until he was dry, gave him a warm mash and put his blanket on. I put him in a stall and he was fine and he has been in all day today and night as well since it has been raining. This is our last cold snap of the year supposedly and I am hoping the warmer weather will bring with it a new Drifter.
My vet recommended I begin managing his feed for winter before the actual cold sets in next year, to help him be better prepared and to start blanketing him immediately. I have class until noon tomorrow but my vet is coming back out around 1 to give Drifter his shots and check him over once again. Is there anything else I can talk to him about? A disease or condition that needs to be ruled out? I just want to make sure I cover all of my bases and am truly getting him the help he needs. Any and all advice appreciated. Below are some few pictures of him.
The first 3 are from around 2.5 weeks ago when I first contacted my vet freaking out. I had been busy with school and had not made it to the barn in about 4 days. When I finally made it out, that greeted me. The last pic (eating in the food trough) was taken earlier this week as a comparison. As you can see, he IS looking better and there IS improvement but I think that picture misleads a little bit and makes him look better than he actually does. He is still very thin.