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HippieCowgirl 07-19-2012 11:30 PM

Draft diet newbie
So I am the barn manager for a mental therapy center and have take in abused/neglected/starved horses before, but this is my first time with a draft. He 10 year old percheron gelding his only problem is that he is super underweight. He old owners just had him on 3 coffee cans of grain twice a day, but before that he lost the weight by the drought last year here in TX.

Anyways my question is how much should I give him? I have done a ton of research and talked with my vet and it looks like he will be getting soaked beet pulp mixed with Acco senior feed and Acco Safe & Sound. We are also adding corn oil to help give an extra fat boost and vinegar to help with fly. He has free range to coastal hay all day.

I know about taking my time changing him over, but I just have no idea what the right amount should be.

He is such a sweetheart and I just want the best for the big guy.

loosie 07-20-2012 04:25 AM

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Of course only got one pic to go off, but he does look like he could do with a few bikkies, but I wouldn't call that 'super underweight' at all. Looks like he's got no topline at all, so to speak, which could be due to him having been thin, but I'm concerned more about that horizontal(ish) line near the top of his ribs - the only time I've seen that is in horses who have suffered chronic pain, such as bad founders. I'd be considering getting him thoroughly checked out including a good bodyworker.

Re feed, free choice grass hay may well be all he needs(along with a good nutritional supp). If he's been starved and been fed grain, I'd also consider giving probiotics to help him recover. Drafts do tend to be easy keepers & you also don't want to beef him up too quickly or allow him to become overweight. If he doesn't gain weight on hay, then you can think about adding other stuff & possibly treating him for ulcers. I'd avoid grain/high starch feeds as a rule. Beet pulp is one good option.

Left Hand Percherons 07-20-2012 11:07 AM

I agree he doesn't look ”that” bad. He does lack muscle tone and that could be from lack of work/diet or from a condition called EPSM in drafts. a simple test for that would be to as him to swing his backend (1/2 circle) in both directions. Does anything look wonky or jerky? Or is it nice and smooth? Diagnosis is confirmed with a mucsle biopsy. with EPSM he can't properly utilize charbohyrates so a high fat diet is warranted. He could be worked up to 2# (4 cups) daily.
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HippieCowgirl 07-20-2012 10:27 PM

His EPSM test came back negative, but we will still be on the lookout. Here is a picture from this morning

He is measured 17.2hh and his weight right now is 1203lb so I guess not super underweight, but he does need to gain more fat and muscle.
Thank y'all for the advice :)

Left Hand Percherons 07-20-2012 11:34 PM

Well that's good he doesn't have it. Were you able to get him on a scale or did you tape him? He should be in the #1600-1700 range even with his slimmer build. For helping build muscle, I like adding roasted flaked soybeans. They are high in quality protein as well as fat. Soybean meal will have the same protein but no fat.
What's with the flared nostrils? Just hot?
He probably has never had his mouth worked on. That's always a safe place to start. Keep in mind drafts are more sensitive to sedation than light horses and the rasps and floats need extensions to reach the last set of molars.
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HippieCowgirl 07-20-2012 11:54 PM

He went on the scale at the vets. His teeth need some work so we scheduled it for this weekend. Thanks for the tip in sedation and roasted flaked soybeans!
The flared nostrils are just from this darn Texas heat.

kntry 07-23-2012 01:43 PM

When we got our horses home in January, our Thoroughbred/Clydesdale cross had that horizontal line about 4" below his protruding spine. It was awful. It has taken a good 7 months to get weight back on him but he is not rounded out with no visible bones showing.

It's hard work and very expensive to put weight back on them, although our Draft was the first to gain all his weight back.

I tried soaking the beet pulp and also mixing Vegetable oil in their feed. They weren't real happy with either but they ate it. They had free hay 24/7. The Draft was getting 4 scoops of feed, the Thoroughbred/Clydesdale was and is still getting 6 scoops and my QH was getting 4 scoops a day.

Good luck.

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