Pregnant Mare Losing Weight
I have a 12yr old Freisian Mare 5 months into her pregnancy and no matter what I try she keeps losing weight!! I've been mixing her feed with corn oil and she gets fed 4 times a day!! But she is still extremely skinny....she eats her feed okay but doesn't really eat her hay. She's carried 4 times before and has lost weight each time but never this much. She also has really bad arthritis, she's not my horse and I advised against breeding her again but she always does really well, so her owner decided to again. But now he's beside himself with how skinny she is and I hate seeing her like this too!
Have her owner call the vet and have a blood panel done up, as well as a complete physical.
If the horse is receiving enough nutrition, there's no reason she should be losing weight. Could be any number of things, but if she's IR or Cushingoid, she won't gain weight unless she's on the right type of food.
Pain will take weight off a horse very quickly. The added weight of the foal will cause the mare to be in MORE pain.
See if something can be done for the pain. something that won't harm the foal.
Seems strange that she doesn't want hay..I would get her teeth checked. Maybe soaked cubes, it would be easier to eat..Has she been dewormed?
If something isn't done now... her last few months of pregnancy are going to suck the life out of her, she will be eating for 2 and will go down hill very fast. I would offer free choice good hay, soaked beetpulp, maybe a senior ration and for her last few months switch to a mare' n' foal ration..Seek medical advice. A phone call is free!
You say that "you have" the horse but the owner is the one that opted to breed against your advice - so does that mean that you are a boarding facility, breeding facility or???
Her owner is a man who has the farm as his weekend farm, he lives in the city during the week. I'm his horse barn manager. He really doesn't know anything about horses, very sweet but kind of clueless. The vet told him it would be okay to put her with a stud again and once his mind is made up, it's made up!
She is given a pain killer in her food every morning for the arthritis and we've had several different vets in to look at her. All with suggestion of "keep doing what you're doing"....the problem is I don't feel like we're doing enough because she is thinner and thinner every day!
She has been de-wormed, just after our first frost....I was wondering about doing the mare/foal ration, maybe I will try that for a bit. She gets safe 'n easy right now along with 10% sweet feed and beet pulp all mixed with corn oil.
A complete physical has been done but not a blood panel, so I will get one of those done!
Here is what I would do.
#1) Test the hay. Find out its value. If it is very high in Neutral Detergent Fiber it may be relatively unpalatable. I had a load of hay delivered to my farm once.. all bright green alfalfa that had been cut with seed heads (as opposed to bud or blossom stage). It was so coarse NOTHING would eat it. Fortunately, I realized this BEFORE it was off loaded and sent that load on DOWN the road (the seller was really mad too). I proved it was unpalatable.. I took 4 bales (that I paid him for) and threw them in with cattle and horses and they sniffed it and walked away. It was THAT stalky!!
#2) Float her teeth. When was that last done? At 12 it needs to be done.
#3) Corn Oil is fine but you need to supplement with Vitamin A and E because corn oil can prevent the utilization of those in her feed.
#4) Get the blood panel. It can't hurt to know more.
#5) Be real careful of that Sweet Feed. It can cause more trouble than it can help.
I would worm her again with a broad spectrum wormer - sometimes horses for no apparent reason will pick up a larger than normal worm burden and this will affect her greatly. They will need an extra worm dose to clear them. Choose one that is safe for an infoal mare. Make sure that it will kill, roundworm, tapeworm (now a big problem) both red worms and also bots.
Have her teeth checked by a dental technician - they are far more knowledgeable than the vets. Will never have the vet do my horses teeth again, they are not dental experts.
See if you can spread her pain medication over the 24 hour period - maybe twice daily instead of once. Being an oldy myself I know that I feel a lot better when I have my anti inflamatories twice a day.
Feed her one cup of freshly ground Flaxseed daily as when freshly ground the Omega oils are good for joints. I grind mine in a coffee grinder - takes very little time.
Poor mare must have had a hard life to be so arthriticy at 12 years old.
Feed an appropriate brand of feed for an infoal mare.
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