When to "up" my feed proportions?
So a little history: my 20yr old appendix QH gelding Bingley was diagnosed in May with Cushing's disease and he was also laminitic at the time. We did a x-rays and luckily had no rotation in either hoof. My vet gave me some Bute to help with pain and inflammation and recommended new a new shoeing regimen. Good thing my farrier was scheduled to come out the following day! My boy was also told to eat a strict diet of grass hay.
Well, after a couple weeks on the grass hay, my boy started to drop weight. he has the Cushing's that makes him more of a hard keeper. He has always been a just right eater, never been too fat or too skinny. We were only feeding him twice daily feelings of the grass hay. So I called my vet and asked about adding a complete feed to his diet. He said to go ahead with a low starch, low sugar feed such as WellSolve L/S, but only give half of what the feeding label recommended and stay at that for some time like several weeks before upping the amount.
So right now every day my gelding is getting free choice grass hay, gets 3 pounds of Purina Wellsolve L/S, and half a pound of Max E Glo rice bran. He also gets a senior supplement for his joints and it also contains probiotics for digestion. In the 3 weeks he's been on this new regimen, he is picking up weight and starting to act like his old happy, friendly, energetic self. And he also is no longer showing signs of soreness in his feet.
But i'm wondering when and how do I add more feed and rice bran to his diet. I know I need to introduce things slowly. I can feed up to 7lbs of the Wellsolve, and 2lbs of rice bran. I don't want to add weight too fast either, but my current plan is seeming to be working. Should I up things?
If he's picked up on that diet, why do you feel the need to give him more?? Perhaps it's because he's thin & you want to 'pump him up'? It's best for them to gain weight gradually, so it sounds like what you're doing is working fine. Other than that, I'd be consulting a nutritionist & including a nutritional supplement.
You should up when you don't see a positive change in weight. So when the horse isn't gaining and you want them to, or the horse is losing.
That's my opinion.
Since he's gaining, I wouldn't change it at all. Less is more in terms of grain (again, my opinion.) Hay is the most important factor to increase.
Since he's been feeling better, I've been working on getting him back into shape. I've mainly just been worried that with doing light exercise that he may need just a little more calories to keep the weight on. I've put him on the hot walker for 10 minutes to start and have worked him up to around 20 to 25 minutes now. Would I need to consider that? Or if things hold steady, just keep doing the regimen I'm doing now?
So you're concerned that 20 minutes walking will make a difference? As Sky said, wait & see. But 20 minutes a day walking is very negligable exercise & I'd be doing a lot more than that if you want him healthy. I have to ask, what was he getting before? Was he locked up with no exercise previously?
He was getting light riding about 2 times a week for about 45 min before he became laminitic. And since he was sore and not moving a lot, he lost some muscle. And with the diet change, so did weight loss. He isn't stalled, he lives in a corral and gets daily turnout for a couple hours. He doesn't get turned out with other horses, as he tends to pick fights.
Walking 10 minutes isn't strenuous. Now if he's out in the sun then he may tire easily so watch him.
Ok, thanks Sky.
If he has laminitis and Cushings then you are better off keeping him on the thinner side rather than fat or well covered.
Unfortunately laminitis and Cushings go hand in hand so you have to be very careful with management.
Is he on any meds for the Cushings, they can help?
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