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Klassic Superstar 11-23-2012 09:02 PM

Oliver is having a weight issue
Would like some input:
Seems like the TB in Oliver comes out this time of year. Now into my second winter with him and last year was so stressful with him getting pneumonia and getting depressed and not keeping a healthy weight with all that we tried!

I guess he is just not a good cold weather horse! He is not clipped at all this year, I waited as long as I could before nlanketsing him with just a sheet so he could grow a good thick winter coat, now that is getting into the 30's at night and he dropped weight I put his thicker blanket with hood on, on the clear sunny days where it's warmer the hood comes off.

When he is ridden he is warmed up and cooled down correctly, extra night check to make sure he's not needing an extra layer on the colder nights.

Before he started loosing weight (about 2 1/2 weeks ago) he was getting 10 pounds am and pm of grass/Timothy mix. For pm feeding with the 10 pounds of hay he'd get one scoop of oats, 1- 1 1/2 cups of grass pellets soaked, one scoop of shredded beet pulp, flax seed, fish oil and some aloe gel.

Since then we have upped his hay more then anything.
First we upped it to twice the orginal weight if hay he was getting.
Now he has a hay net full of hay in front of him 24/7 and is getting the pm ration of grain. We added a morning ration on grain, one cup of soaked grass pellets and a scoop of shredded beet pulp (yes both beet pulp and pellets are soaked correctly)
So I was out tonight doing barn chores and checked his weight, still can feel his ribs, maybe even more then two weeks ago!?

I live in the NorthWest, Seattle area. Vashon Island. It's been extremely rainy here, pastures are flooding, arena is half underwater....something that is just sadly so normal with this time of year. So he hasn't been ridden in the last two and half weeks due to weather and I got sick.

Ideas? Suggestions? Anything?
Both my trainer and I are at a loss, I made all these big changes for him in order for him to be healthy. In barn board to pasture with run in stall, changed training, didn't clip him, his feed is much better then last years. Last year after he was recovered from his bad bout with pneumonia, he still wasn't gaining weight so he was wormed, checked for ulcers....everything. Nothing seemed to give us the answer to what was wrong.

So our thought is to give it another week, if he loosed more I will be Purchessing VitaFlex Hard Keeper and hope that that will work? I really dont believe in supplements other then the naturals, oil and flax seed, aloe to help everything digest smoothly ESP with any feed changes.

Help, I am at loss. I don't want to go through another rough winter health wise with him.

poppy1356 11-23-2012 09:37 PM

I feel your pain. My old girl started losing weight a little over a month ago. She has been blanketed since it got below 50. Her coat is still 2 inches thick. She has 5 blankets now that get changed out depending on weather.

I added alfalfa pellets and wheat germ oil and she seems to be picking up weight.

She gets along with 140lbs hay shared between 5 horses;
1.5lbs beet pulp crumbles-no molases
1lb alfalfa pellets
.5oz iodized salt
1oz red cell

1.5lbs beet pulp crumbles-no molases
1lb alfalfa pellets
.5oz iodized salt
1oz red cell
3oz wheat germ oil

I also use feedxl to make sure she is getting everything she should be. With her I think she was losing muscle more than anything, as she lost weight while she wasn't being worked like normal. I added protein and oil and for me it seemed to work.

Klassic Superstar 11-23-2012 09:46 PM

And your in a place that gets much harsher Climate zone!
Ollie is only 6 and with him getting pneumonia when he was only 5 I just hope he's not going to get sick again this year.

I could have gotten the pellets mixed up to, he could be getting pellets instead of grass pellets but like said I am not 100%
It's been drastic change in the last three weeks. From fat and healthy to ribby and dull

poppy1356 11-23-2012 10:05 PM

I would do a cbc just to be sure everything is functioning. And yes much colder the wind chill has been in the single digits today. My girl was in her 400g fill blanket all day, not sure what I'm going to do with her once it stays below 0.

When you said you checked for worms does that mean you also dewormed for those that do not show up on a fecal? My girl had an infestation of encysted worms and I had to do a panacur powerpak, not to be confused with regular panacur.

Klassic Superstar 11-23-2012 10:19 PM

I do the rotation of wormers so that it gets different ones. Iv checked his poop and nothing in there. He's not having issues chewing so I don't have a reason to think it is his teeth.
Just kind of at a loss...

poppy1356 11-23-2012 10:30 PM

That doesn't mean he is free of worms. Rotational doesn't get everything as if they have a larger than normal encysted worm count the regular wormers won't touch them. That's why I had to use the 5-day powerpac. Blood panel is the only way to know.

I would consider the CBC just to make sure. Could be anemic as well. Which if he had worms can cause anemia.
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Klassic Superstar 11-23-2012 10:50 PM

I know that it doesn't mean he is worm free.
Iv never had a worm issue any of my horses so I feel that is not causing it, neither does my trainer. I do all the cleaning on the property and it's kept up, no manure piles left in the pasture over long periods of time, no coming and going of horses from the property.
Last year we did blood work, fecal exam, the works. Checked fir ulcers. Vet and trainer at that time (different trainer from now) felt he could have a small ulcer or the start of one, so we treated him as if he did have them, regained some weight and then lost it again within a couple weeks.

He has a WeatherBeeta Orican medium weight blanket with detachable hood on currently to keep him warm.

Have you ever used Vita Flex Hard Keeper?
Here is the information I have on it:

Weight Gain Supplements at a Glance

poppy1356 11-24-2012 07:40 AM

I read that pdf on the Vitaflex and honestly it isn't much more than you are currently feeding. It's main ingredient is flax. You are already feeding flax but in what form? I like flax oil the best, seems to be absorbed better I think. But if it's whole flax he probably isn't actually getting any of it. Fish oil is also great, how much of that are you currently feeding?

I would make sure that the grass pellets are actually alfalfa pellets as those will do more for him.

Also weigh all his feed. My crumbles weigh more than the shreds and one scoop of mine is only 1.5lbs if a heaping scoop. So he may not be getting very much beet pulp. Walmart sells kitchen scales for $7 and so far it has lasted pretty well.

Do you check under his blanket to make sure he is warm? He might need an extra layer under his current blanket.

Does he get a vitamin supplement? You might want to consider adding Red Cell, it's cheap and one gallon should last 2 months.

spirit88 11-24-2012 09:48 AM

If hes a older horse might want to add a probiotic to his feed. I have my 26 year old on a probiotic makes a huge diffrence.

themacpack 11-24-2012 09:55 AM

If I were feeding this horse and wanting to change his condition I would make some changes to the feed program (all other things being considered - FEC, floating and blood panel):
I would replace the oats with a complete feed such as a Senior feed (TC would be my choice where I am). I would start slow on the amount and build up to the weight of feed that works for this particular horse.
On the "grass pellets" - a cup and a half or cup of pellets for a full-sized horse is really not much different than giving him none at all. If you do want to include them in his diet, I would suggest using alfalfa pellets and feeding at an amount that will actually offer a benefit beyond draining your pocket book with another type of feed to buy. Feed in pounds.
Beet pulp is a very light feed in dry weight - estimates range between .5-.8 pound per quart (you will want to weigh your particular brand to pin point YOUR weight) - so depending on the size of scoop you are using in measuring his ration you may not be giving much of that either (similar to the grass pellets - enough to cause you another feed expense but not enough to offer any sort of benefit to his weight).
Is he digesting the hay fully and properly (from his fecal waste's appearance?)

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