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BarrelracingArabian 04-24-2012 12:58 AM

weight gain for older arab
So where i board/ ride we have a couple older arab geldings who are having rough time getting weight on. However one is far worse at about 30 he has lost quite a few teeth and has almost completely stopped eating his alfalfa. Currently he is on about a flake of grass and 2 flakes of alfalfa along with whatever extra flowers are left after feeding everyone else, he alsl gets i believe 2 scoops of equine senior( not positive on actual measurement) and 2-3 scoops of beetpulp. He is used quite often as much as he could use atleast a partial retirement it isnt my choice. I suggested to my bo either getting alfalfa pellets and soaking them or soaking his regular alfalfa but what other options are there to get some weight on him?
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DRichmond 04-24-2012 02:41 AM

First thoughts are the horse may have renal or other organ failure, or possibly ulcers if he's lost his appetite? I wonder if whoever owns him could have a vet come out to do bloodwork on him if possible.

He may not be touching his alfalfa for that reason. If he still has an appetite and is eating some or all of his senior and beet pulp, I would suggest feeding well soaked grass pellets instead of alfalfa with less beet pulp. I'm presuming these are soaked into a mash for him. If he's, say, ideally a 800-900 lb. horse, he would need at least 4 lbs. of soaked grass pellets 2x a day and at most 1 or 2 lbs. max of soaked beet pulp 2x a day (much less if his organs are failing him).

Mind you, I'm just talking off the top of my head here and offering ideas, but it does sound to me like the horse needs a farm call.

Here's a link to a nice article with some info on renal failure - and personally I don't think it is all too rare:

Diet for a Horse With Kidney Failure |

If there's any possible way to buy or borrow a scale and for those who do the feeding weigh hay and grains initially, that's a big help, seeing's how a flake can mean 3 lbs. or 8 lbs., and so on.

Beet pulp ferments easily so that's something else to watch for too.

A microbial supplement such as FastTrack or whatever's available in your area is great stuff. Rice bran, another one. And adding a small amount of corn oil to his feed 2x a day may help. I'm assuming he has a salt/mineral block and water 24/7. If it's renal failure, some bute and an appropriate diet will help keep him comfortable meanwhile. I hope any of these ideas, suggestions can be of help.

BarrelracingArabian 04-24-2012 05:23 PM

His appetite is great the second we start feeding he is one of the noisiest especially when the grain buckets come out. We have talked about getting a vet out but have been trying to try some different feeding ideas first as we really only have one equine vets office which is two hours away they come to town every other Wednesday so that will be our bext step if it doesnt start improving. He has plenty of water and a mineral block as well. I will let my bo know about the corn oil and rice bran. Feeding is an issue right now we have several different people feeding each week so loke i said i dont know exact measurements sometimes feed is baggied sometimes not.
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Casey02 04-24-2012 05:36 PM

What my friend does for her old gelding (arabX) is soaks alfalfa cubes and gives him Purina senior feed and it does wonders! Believe it of not he would not touch the alfalfa pellets! He has a shiny coat, looks nice and healthy, he is actually 30 to and looks like he is 10! We soak the cubes and dump them in what should be a water troff and let him "graze" on it all day

Casey02 04-24-2012 05:37 PM

I for got to mention, he also is missing 6 teeth all in the back of his mouth.

BarrelracingArabian 04-24-2012 06:34 PM

That is something we have been doing actually but just a smaller bucket added to his normal feed occasionally i'll have to tell my bo that we should look into just doing that :)
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Casey02 04-25-2012 10:06 AM

With her gelding, he is off hay unless we dump him the very fine stuff from alfalfa he can still eat that slowly

Good luck! I hope you find something that works

BarrelracingArabian 04-27-2012 11:36 PM

Well we recently found out a big part of it is that he is refusing to eat his grass so was initially only getting his grain and about one flake of alfalfa morning and night ( should have been one flake alfalfa 2 flakes grass) so we have completely taken out the grass bumped up his alfalfa and added in the soaked cubes. So hopefully we will get some improvement.
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Casey02 04-28-2012 12:47 PM

I hope that helps, and that he enjoys the cubes :)

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