Advice on rescue horse
Rocky is a 29 years old gelding who was rescued in March 2011. He was severly underweight and even though we managed to put around 150Ibs on him,its still really bad. When we got him he had fungal infection which is now cured -according to the vet- but his coat is still very oily even though we already reduced the amount of protein he is getting. (we have been told that's the reason) And he still has to get his food because he really needs to fatten up. He also has dandruff and very serious infestation with lice. Although we already killed lots of the lice with the shampoo and powder,the problem is still there. I he also recently had colic... so,to sum it up - everything is going wrong and he actually lost a bit of weight again (enough to be noticable by eye) So if anyone here would be able to answer my questions i would be very thankful :) And if you have anything else to add,please do.
1] exercise - he is exercised every second day - mainly walk, little bit of trot. Sometimes slow lope.
2] food - unlimited grass and hay, 2 barrels full of haylage, this is what he eats in a day - suplement to aid digesting for old and stressed horses, chaff 1 1/2 a bowl ,1 a bowl of oats , 1 bowl of molasses, and a little bit of sugar beet. Water and salt lick is available at all times.
3] Teeth were checked and they are good
My questions are mainly-
Is the food amount alright or is my description not good enough to tell? :P
What should we do with the lice? Would garlic help?
This is a bit of a childish question but is there any way to make him less depressed?
Is his excercise good?
Why do you think he could have colic? - he didnt have more then usual,wasnt exercised after meal..he just had his usual meal and 3/4 of an apple.
i personally wouldn't exercise until the ribs were not noticable. but thats me. the exercise would consist of walking to stall or field and whatever field exercise he makes himself do.
as for feed i would talk to a nutrition specialist. i have gone to them before and they are very helpful. especially when it comes to age and a certain amount of weight.
but i would start giving him hay/grass. and let him have access to that all day. that i find helps the most.
colic could have been from anything. from what i know of it even stress can cause it. dont know if its true or not.
sorry not much help :( goodluck
I'm going to disagree with cutting back on the protein. Rehabilitating an older horse who has alot of muscle wasting due to starvation needs the protein if he's going to be able to build any muscle mass. It's also not contributing to the skin condition. Protein is essential to build healthy skin and hair. What's going on with his skin is more a result of a compromised digestive and immune system. Getting the lice under control with an insecticide, Sevin (garden dust for bugs) works and is cheap. Remove all his old bedding if he's stalled as it can be loaded with eggs, treat for bugs, rebed. Important!!! add a Vitamin A supplement to his diet. Read all the posts on rain rot/scald. Keep him on it until summer green grass comes in.
Keep up the free choice hay/grass. As far as the rest of his diet, he needs easily digested and nutrient dense feeds. What's the quality of the haylage and chaff? What's a bowl? What's a barrel? He's probably having a hard time digesting oats and unless you're using the molasses to tempt him to eat more, I'd dump it. The BP is a good choice when soaked. Add more. You can sneak some extra calories into his diet by adding some oil (1/2 C) to the BP. He doesn't even have to chew it to get value out of it. It's well digested, gets extra water into him (low chance of colic with it) and has about the same nutrition as grass hay. Add a daily pre/probiotic to help maximize digestion. Adding some lucerne is also good for old horses. It's higher in calories and nutrients than grass hays and usually piques their interest in eating.
Some work is good for him. It helps him mentally, improves his appetite as well as builds some muscle. Is he by himself or does he have some type of companionship? Another horse, goat or even chickens? The lice can spread from him to others but the others have a better immune system to fight it. Does he have access to turnout? He could also have some low grade pain somewhere that's making him blue.
You can buy Sevin in Walmart. It's the same ingredient in most cheap flea powders, carbyl.
Worm him, use one of the older worm meds first. A massive die off of worms can cause impaction colic. Then later after he's gained some condition worm him again with ivermectin. Month to 6 weeks, really depends on how bad he is. Ask your vet.
A good residual fly spray will take care of the lice, ivermectin will help too because it will poison them when they feed. Permethrin comes to mind here for fly spray ingredients. Don't know if it's one they allow without permits in the UK though. I know western Europe is a lot more stringent on insecticides than the US is. You will want to spray every few days because it will not kill the eggs.
Watch the oats with an old horse. The carbohydrates and sugars are a little high for senior citizens. A complete pellet might be a better choice. Little bit of vegetable cooking oil added to his beet pulp or pellets and increase slowly so it doesn't upset his tummy.
I agree, sevin can be purchased at most stores that supply gardening supplies and it has the same ingredients as flea powder. It is actually what we use in our gardens because it is one of the least harmful pesticides you can really get (my father in law is a horticultralist). My family and I have used I on our horses for over 26 years with no problems and is suggested by many vets in my area.
I would not cut down on protein, and I would do light workouts. He is quite aged so it will be hard to put and keep weight on him. I have a 22 yr old gelding and it is a constant struggle and he has always been properly taken care of.
Thank you. :) We already use the pro-biotic but you got me thinking about food specially made for older horses. And i will definitely try the oil. :lol:
Look for a commercial senior feed, and throw a cup of water on in. Not enough to make it mushy or soupy, just pretty damp.
Hores review did a study on SR feeds vs regular feeds with some water on old horses. The study showed evidence that a bit of water on the feed can help older horses get more nutrients out of the food they eat.
May I ask why the molasses? It is just adding sugar to the feed, which may help gain weight, but it is going to be quite unhealthy, and it would take a lot to help gain weight. Now I use it as a occasional treat, but it is just full of sugar, and it doesn't do much, you could add some water instead to make it a little mushier. Also, I recommend feeding rice bran, slowly introducing that into the diet, as it is high in fat. Fat is very efficient in gaining weight in horses - and people!- and usually is a bit cheaper than feeds such as Sweet Feed, that have lots of sugar (molasses).
And don't cut back on protein, malnourished horses need more than normal!
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