Weight Gain Help - Page 2

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Weight Gain Help

This is a discussion on Weight Gain Help within the Horse Nutrition forums, part of the Horse Health category

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    03-11-2013, 12:46 AM
Split peas are something that I would never ever consider as a feed for horses, very interesting! Definitely going to read through that article when I'm finished this essay draft.
I also hadn't considered metabolic issues or cushings, and will look into that as well. I'd like to have as much information on hand as possible when I make the phone call to the vets office, to see if they have any other ideas at all. Hopefully we've got one of our younger ponies on the way to sold in the coming week, might make all these tests a little easier to swallow. Of course these issues always seem to pop up at the worst possible times- and so suddenly. She's such a fantastic girl too, was completely sound, completely healthy, being ridden by a 10 year old and still winning the 2ft jumpers. Just goes to show that they can appear to be the epitome of health one minute, and then just like that...

Someone is home all day long, so I'm going to personally make up a feed schedule for her and see if we can coax her appetite back with smaller feedings. Your posts have been unbelievably healthy, walk, I'm just a little overwhelmed at the moment and will probably have more questions to throw at you once I've looked at all of the thoughts you've already put out there. I have been fortunate enough to avoid any sort of ill health in my horses, so this is all very new to me.
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    03-11-2013, 08:38 AM
Green Broke
Originally Posted by alexischristina    
I have been fortunate enough to avoid any sort of ill health in my horses, so this is all very new to me.
I've had horses my entire life. It used to be my dogs cost more in extraneous vet bills than the horses.

That all ended in 2007 when my now 25 yr old was diagnosed with Equine Metabolic Syndrome.

In hind-site now that I have some knowledge on the subject, he had been demonstrating insulin issues for three years previous but the gradual increase of poor health was like a slow-cooker and went un-noticed by me; in my infinite wisdom, I figured he "was just showing signs of old age early" dumb, dumb, dumb

Until he lost ~80 lbs in six weeks, got depressed, would not lead the herd (he's the strong alpha guy), and started laying down all the time in one corner of the front pasture with the 2nd-in-command standing guard over him.

That was May, 2007 and his diagnosis by the first vet was "cushingnoid". Technically he has Equine Metabolic Syndrome, a/k/a peripheral cushings. It seems to mimic cushings in certain symptoms, yet the pituitary gland allegedly is not affected like it is with true cushings.

He's been with me since a coming 3 yr old and was never down with anything a day in his life.

While he's never had laminitis, he did colic on me nine times in 2012, thus the diagnosis of hind gut ulcers, possibly lipomas in the GI tract, and now on Succeed at $90/mo, forever.

In June, 2010 another TWH was diagnosed with true insulin resistance and foundered in a major way March, 2012.

I said all that to say, up until 2007, it was "good ride Cowboy, good ride" - lol lol

Anyway, I did find the link to back up the quote above, in case you want to bookmark it.

Horse Hay Alternatives

Please update when you find out what's wrong. The diagnosis may be helpful to someone. Along with burning my eyeballs out, reading every credible article I could find, the help I received on forums has been immeasurable
    03-11-2013, 03:46 PM
The people on this forum have helped me through countless training and riding issues, I don't doubt I will get amazing advice here (I already have!)

Quick update on my way to class- she was interested in her hay today, munching away at that but refused any hard feed. Even hand feeding didn't interest her (but carrots did). I have mom at home checking on her grain all day, she will be offering her the rest of her breakfast in smaller feedings.

What a fickle pony.
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    03-11-2013, 04:40 PM
Green Broke
Originally Posted by alexischristina    
Even hand feeding didn't interest her (but carrots did). I have mom at home checking on her grain all day, she will be offering her the rest of her breakfast in smaller feedings.

What a fickle pony.
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Interesting about the carrots.

It could be just because of the sugars in the carrots BUT, when my EMS horse started into all those colics last year, the only things he could eat (in small portions) were pelleted rice bran, and apples & carrots run thru the blender.

Apples and carrots were a complete contradiction to his "no sugar" rule, with his metabolic issues but, I had to get something in him and I needed a carrier for the liquid vitamins I had just ordered.

Liquid vitamins because it only takes one little ounce to give him what he needs in vit/min nutrients; think a very old person's inability to eat a lot of solids but they still need nutrients.

Anyway, we would chop up three medium apples and three medium carrot in the blender. That would last him a couple days as I carefully measured 1/2 cup twice daily and prayed it would not spike his insulin - which it didn't.

By some miracle his tummy was happy with that; after three months, I was finally able to stop feeding apples and carrots.

Since your mom is home----------------------------

Eventually something is going to have to be added back in to give her the vit/min she needs; I might be inclined to order something right away, before you get a diagnosis.

There are quite a few things on the market but I went with Liquid 747, even though molasses is the carrier.

Things may change but, for now, my EMS horse is tolerating the molasses very well. My IR horse's hooves would probably be skyward if I tried feeding this to him.


Valley Vet also has some great products than only require a few ounces daily.
    03-12-2013, 03:07 AM
I'll look into it!
Pony was interested in hay in the morning, by the time I got home from class she was using it as a bed, sleeping right in the middle of it. Mom said she was doing it this morning too. But I did turn her out in the yard for a few hours and she was happy to eat grass. She'll go out as soon as I get up tomorrow too. Vet will be coming this week.
    03-12-2013, 09:28 AM
Green Broke
Originally Posted by alexischristina    
I'll look into it!
Pony was interested in hay in the morning, by the time I got home from class she was using it as a bed, sleeping right in the middle of it. Mom said she was doing it this morning too. But I did turn her out in the yard for a few hours and she was happy to eat grass. She'll go out as soon as I get up tomorrow too. Vet will be coming this week.
Has it always been normal for her to lay down so much?

That was the first indicator that something was wrong with my EMS horse. It is not "him" to lay down at all, outside; when he started to lay down with more frequency and in the same spot, I began to worry.

On the chance, she does have metabolic issues, I think I will back-peddle on the blender full of carrots and apples and say don't feed them to her

It's good she is eating grass but that's is also risky business if she is having insulin problems. Grass is good for ulcers but not good for insulin problems

Great news the vet will see her this week
    03-12-2013, 11:17 AM
Excellent advice so far! The article mentioned a tried and true recipe for weight gain for difficult horses( in my case a TB who would explode with any grain but desperately needed weight )....alfalfa pellets and bran. It did wonders, it is pretty safe, just about anything can be hidden in it, it serves as a warm mash in winter and it is very much affordable.
1/2lb a-pellets, soaked in warm water, 2-3oz wheat bran mixed in, for starters. You can grate a carrot and add that to get her to eat it. Once she likes it, start adding: oil, ricebran, flax, maybe a couple of oz of soybean meal. I used to, with too much time on hand, cook barley and max this in, add the flax for cooking to it.

Peas: a friend, TB breeder/trainer, grew his own oats, overseeded with peas, for his horses in training.

I would also like into hind gut acidosis, there is a thread on it here by OneFastHorse, something like "so your hard keeper is not....", rather recent.

I would also get her the best hay you can afford, alfalfa/grass would be my favourite. Alfalfa is only a problem for horses with existing kidney problems, so nothing to worry about. Even if there are metabolic issues, it is fine, because the lowest in sugars of all roughage, unless horse is overweight. Then it would supply too much energy.
    03-12-2013, 05:19 PM
Hi there,

It was my post on COTH with the Eleanor Kellon article - thanks for posting the link! While on COTH I just was not able to get the link to stick.

To the OP, definitely look into the idea of ulcers? When they start to eat and then walk away before finishing, it's the rush of stomach acid causing irritation. Horses produce acid nonstop, which is why they do best to be constantly nibbling on something, so I would actually pull her out of the field and put her in a dry paddock and put some good hay in front of her about 3-4 times a day so that she is basically eating all the time, even if she nibbles and rests, nibbles and rests, etc. If your horse likes peppermint, you can do a cheap test - try peppermint flavored tums - about 12 - just before mealtime. If your horse eats a full meal and looks comfortable eating, that's your cheapo method of determining sour and/or ulcerated stomach as a potential reason for the limited appetite. Then you can justify the expense of a good round of ulcer treatment. Tums isn't a cure, just a test.

Let her taste a handful of split pea direct from your hand (just dry and crunchy). If she likes them you can introduce a 1/2 cup a day for the first week, then increase by 1/2 cup increments until your horse is at about 3-4 ounces per pound of hay fed (if feeding timothy or a grass hay). Since she doesn't really like beet pulp (a calcium source), no point even bothering with it.

If you can hunt down some timothy hay that doesn't have a soluble sugar of higher than 10, then that's your best bet. Timothy has balanced calcium/phosphorous ratios and usually decent enough protein for the average horse. The split pea just tops up some extra protein. Don't just feed rice bran without a good calcium source because rice and wheat bran are both extremely high in phosphorous. If you add a vitamin/mineral supplement, check the ingredients list and make sure it has about 2 grams of magnesium in it. Personally, I don't like adding extra magnesium by itself unless it's mixed with a good mineral supplement, because it must be ratio'd correctly to calcium or you'll run into serious issues - usually heart rhythm problems.

Some IR horses do great with alfalfa meal as a calcium/protein source. Some decidedly don't. Some horses also do well with soy beans (protein), some most decidedly do not.

You can also test her on sunflower seeds and see if she likes them. Start with a handful and watch for a week to make sure your horse doesn't react in a negative way. It's a good balanced oil source of Omega-3 and Omega-6. Not all horses like sunflower, but a goodly chunk of them do.

I have found some pre-formulated feed stuffs that make claims to be great for IR, metabolic or Cushings horses aren't really all that great and some can actually cause a horse to react. So, test your best brands available in your area first and if you have to resort to what would be considered a 'lower' quality brand because that's all she wants to eat and she doesn't react, well then in your case, the horse has the final say. In your case, you literally need to follow your horse's lead and stick with whatever works. :)

A note about carrots - they are extremely high in sugar. Very few IR or Cushings horses can actually tolerate them without reacting. I'd be careful.
    03-12-2013, 06:26 PM
Thank you all for your responses! I'm also wondering about her teeth (again). I didn't use my vet to have them checked / done, so I'll have them check her teeth themselves again, the vet had okay references but I'd like to be extra sure.

She was upset this morning being locked up, super excited to see me come out and trotted, ears up to the fence, so she went back out while I was at work and seemed interested in her hay. Unfortunately the Shetland in the field likes bullying her off her feed, so I'll be putting her back on dry lot and clearing out a stall for her so we can moniter her at meal times.
    03-13-2013, 03:02 AM
Rodawn, I tried tums tonight and will see if she eats all of her grain by the morning. Do you know if it is safe to use the same method for her next night time feeding or is it something I should avoid doing again? I know it isn't a cure, would just like to be 'doubly sure' as she's currently free feeding with her hay and will be moving into a stalled position tomorrow.
Hopefully we see an improvement with her grain eating tonight, though! This is the worst time of year for me, with mid terms and papers due, so I'm trying to juggle everything as best I can. Mom is helpful, but is not very knowledgeable about equine health.

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