Unable to digest hay - Page 2

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Unable to digest hay

This is a discussion on Unable to digest hay within the Horse Nutrition forums, part of the Horse Health category

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    09-04-2010, 10:22 PM
Green Broke
Sounds more like choke to me, like the horse isn't chewing it properly. I'd have the vet or equine dentist out to do the horse's teeth. If they were done recently, have another vet/dentist out for a second opinion and explain the issue. The horse could need their teeth done, have a tooth abscess or cracked tooth causing enough pain to prevent normal chewing, or some other issue.
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    09-04-2010, 10:38 PM
Green Broke
Just read it wasn't choke or mouth related. I still might want some x-rays of the horse's head, to check for any underlying tumors in the jaw bones or something like that, if they haven't been done already that is.

I like Fury's idea of the deer feeder. Those are common to find around here, for sure . You might check if you have any Gander Mountain or similar hunting-related stores to see what they have. Here's a kit you can buy online, using your own bucket, etc.
Pro Hunter Kit
Here's a simple one. I think you'd just need to disconect the "broadcast spinner" to make the feed drop straight down.
Cabela's -- Big Game GF100 Hanging Feeder

An auto-dog feeder might work too, if you want small enough meals to be doled out. Here are some auto horse and pet feeders.
Automatic Pet Feeders, Horse Feeder & Dog Feeders by Quick Feed
Agpro® Pro Feeder » automatic horse feeder
Stable Grazer Automatic Horse Feeder
    06-27-2011, 03:02 PM
Maybe it is not so rare - my horse can't digest hay either! He had colic surgery before we discovered the problem and I will always be grateful for the surgeon who is the only vet who seems to understand that he can't eat hay. We have spent the last 1.5 years experimenting with feeding this 5 y.o. TB without hay. We have found that he does well on soaked Equine Senior. (BTW: if he gets too much "hay" he looks like he is choking too, but it is really a back up of the food in his system) Due to another injury, he was off feed for about 24 hours and for 2 weeks, we had formed manure for the first time in 1.5 yrs! Now, we have discovered that he is not processing the soaked hay cubes as we thought he was either. The "Nose-It" has been a HUGE help for feeding. He loves playing with it and gets his dry Eq Sr over 40 minutes instead of 2 minutes. We think it helps with the need to graze. This is getting lengthy, but I had to share.
    06-27-2011, 03:58 PM
I am confused about the horse not being able to digest hay but able to digest hay in cube form.
    06-27-2011, 10:54 PM
The horse in the original post was euthanized at a vet college.

This was extremely hard on my friend but she was not prepared to have her horse suffer any longer.

Thank-you very much for your interest and suggestions.
    06-27-2011, 11:46 PM
Very sorry to hear about your friend's horse.

I don't truly know exactly what he digests. I know his manure most often looks like a cow patty with lots of hay pieces. I also know he gets sick if he eats too much hay. He'll get bloated, uncomfortable (won't move and nips at sides etc.) and eventually ends with a choke condition and/or severe colic symptoms. He has been able to handle 4 lbs. Of soaked balanced timothy cubes per day - maybe because the pieces are smaller and it's basically served as soup. If we give him more, it does not work.
FYI: the theory is that his colon only works sporadically and if it is weighed down with too much work (ie hay) it can't function. I could not accept this initially, but after 1.5 yrs of trial and error and watching manure, etc. it seems to hold true.
    06-28-2011, 09:47 AM
Originally Posted by Hanover    
The horse is either unable to digest hay or it is very slow in doing so.......sometimes having it come back up the esophagus. At present is maintaining on beet pulp and alfalfa cubes and pasture grass but with winter coming in a few months the problem will get worse because she will be on hay rather than being out on grass.
I have acid reflux myself and understand about having difficulty swallowing certain foods. Having difficulty swallowing certain foods is much different than having difficulty digesting certain foods. This is where this conversation is plain ignorant! Grass and alfalfa are both forage products. If the animal can process one, he can process the other - end of story. Now, we can have a major quality issue with the grass hay and it can impact the horse easily if it is prone to colic. If you have a 75 rfv grass hay and he cannot "digest" it, but his alfalfa is 150+rfv and he gets along just fine with it, the problem is not an inability to digest hay, but an inability to digest cardboard - feed him some better hay. Much more information is needed.
    06-28-2011, 11:12 AM
[QUOTE=duction Acres;10792Pro39]This is where this conversation is plain ignorant!

Sorry you used that choice of words.

As I said, the horse was not mine and I was trying to be of some assistance to my friend.

The vet college tried very hard to get to the source of the problem. An autopsy was done but I do not have it in front of me to quote.
    06-28-2011, 11:18 AM
Hanover, do not take PA's post to heart.

I appreciate your response to my question. I can honestly say I still do not get it but I am willing to accept it happens.
    06-29-2011, 09:15 AM
It is easy to make personal attacks - you are so stupid, ignore XYZ's post - he doesn't know what he is talking about, etc., especially when you don't like what they have to say. I did not say any of those things. I said the conversation was ignorant - lacking in understanding - grass in a paddock, alfalfa in a bag, and hay all will be digested by the same enzymes, bacteria, stomach juices, etc.
We had an old pony that could not eat long stem grass hay any more as he would choke on it. Much to my irritation, the only way my wife could keep weight on him in the winter was 1. Feed copious amounts of soaked equine senior, or 2. Feed straight alfalfa - he left the stem and ate the leaf, or 3. Allow teh pony to graze the hay fields during the winter and not confine him to a paddock.

BUT not being able to injest a hay is much different than not being able to digest a hay.

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