Horse suddenly refuses grain
I'll try to keep this short- old horse, late 20's. Horrible teeth, missing most in the back. She has been on 8 quarts a day of sentinel performance LS, soaked with beet pulp also and free choice soft green grass hay. Up until Sunday, she was eating it great. All of a sudden she stopped.. wont touch it. She had some moderate swelling in her cheek area close to her mouth for a few days. Vet came last night and it turns out the swelling was from irritation from biting her cheek or sharp points from her teeth cutting in. He floated her teeth and said she should be all set.
I know the most reasonable explaination is that her teeth were hurting and she didnt want to eat.. BUT she is eating her hay! AND she is more than willing to eat her "friends" grain, whether its soaked or not. Im so confused.. its not a new bag of grain.. already half gone. I tried the beet pulp alone, the grain alone, and the grain mixed with beet like usual. Wont touch it.
Is she going senile? Anyone ever had this happen?
I am afraid to just switch her to another senior feed because she is prone to diarrhea. If I start slowly she will lose weight for sure til she is up to her large quantity that she usually gets. SUggestions? Sorry, I gues its not so short.
Ulcers? Any other behavior changes?
I had all four of my horses go off the vit/min supplement I was feeding them --- one at a time over a period of a couple weeks.
The Expiration label says the feed is good until October, 2013, plus I keep that very expensive stuff in the spare bedroom to keep it from going bad. This stuff costs $60/bag and it's got me so honked off that I am sending a sample out for analysis to see if there's something "brewing" in that bag that shouldn't be:shock:
There seems to be no rhyme or reason as to why they all stopped eating this product and, yes, they all pound their hay down, like your horse:?
I have changed vitamin/mineral supplements and they are once again eating.
Since weight is an issue for your horse, replace the beet pulp with pelleted equine rice bran and see how that works. Rice bran is 22% fat and provides the horse with cool energy.
TSC sells Manna Pro's Max-E-Glo. It is specially formulated for horses and is stabilized so it won't get rancid. It comes in meal form but I prefer the pellets.
If you're already adding water to whatever goes in the feed pan, try a 50-50 mix of 100% pure apple juice (I use WalMart's brand) and see if that helps.
Don't buy the apple juices that have added sugars in them, WalMart's brand does say "100% pure" without anything added. I drink a lot of bottled water and will just drink one half way down, then fill it the rest of the way with apple juice, as needed.
As far as getting his vit/mins in him, you may end up having to buy something on line that only requires 1 - 2 ounces be fed,daily. Eight quarts is a LOT of feed to shove down him and he may simply be sick of it and by now he's sick of the taste of everything:-(
If possible, I might try feeding him three times a day but, I know that's about impossible if the horse is boarded and/or you work outside the home.
Hope this helps:-)
She seems to be otherwise acting normal.
I have used rice bran in the past and had good results. Also, I like the thought of adding apple juice to entice her to eat it but I worry about the diarrhea. There is a senior feed that Agway makes that has more molasses in it than what I am giving. I might try to get a bag today and mix it with what I already have for her?
Keep the suggestions coming! Thanks so much!
I stay away from any added sugars which molasses is. By the way, rice bran smells like cocoa puffs so that might be enough to get her to eat it :)
Stolen feed is always tastier. Before you buy any more feed, do you have any molasses in the cupboard? If so, dilute about a tablespoon with a little hot water and pour this into her feed. If she likes it and you decide to go this route, get blackstrap as it's an excellent source of calcium and iron. BTW are you providing a salt lick or loose salt. Lack of salt can put a horse off feed. Offer pickling salt/coarse salt. Salt licks are designed for the coarse raspy bovine tongue. A horse gets nowhere near enough salt from a lick. The lick in the barn is 4 years old and it about 2/3 gone (two horses) because I offer loose salt in a pan near the water trough. Because I'm out there twice daily I can easily see if it needs replenishing. Since it's outside I dump about a cup in at a time.
I've seen that happening too with teeth problems. It just plain hurt and they might associate the pain with the feed, hence the eating of the other horse's feed.
I'd try a different senior feed, maybe soaked alfalfa pellets instead of the beet pulp, and add the ricebran. But slow with the change, if there are already diarrhea problems.
And just to throw that out there, I've had horses go off sweetfeed/grain when bot larvae migrated from the mouth down to the stomach. Which led me to worming for bots much earlier than recommended and had no more problems since.
How did you discover that? I will have heart failure if that turns out to be the case with my four BUT, the reason your comment really struck a cord with me is I have had a devil of a time trying to keep bot eggs off my horses.
I keep saying if they don't have bots in their fecals, it will be a miracle. Those little b******s lay a few eggs
here, a few there and in places under the belly, near the flanks where it's almost impossible to get them off.
Then there's the throat bots that the eggs migrate themselves into the mouth. Half the time I can't get at them either, so I suffocate the ones I can find with any type of ointment I have in the barn.
Then just when I think I have all of them, I find more when I turn the horse in a different direction and the light hits him different:-x
Anyway, apologies to get off-topic but I am curious how you figured that out - Inquiring Minds need to know:D
Usually when a horse refuses grain, they are hurting somewhere. Colic is a real possibility. I would really watch him closely. A few days without grain may turn things around. One poster mentioned bots which is a good thought. Ulcers come to mind. Any other thing that can cause colic also should be considered. You mentioned that tooth problems had already been addressed.
I have one older horse that just can't tolerate the levels of grain that your horse gets. She would look better if she ate that much, but it always makes her sick. It is better for her to be a bit thinner than I like than for her to colic. Cutting her grain rations back solved her problem.
Coincidence and my inquisitive mind;-)
Bot flies lay eggs. That causes itching/irritation. Horse gnaws at them or seeks other horse for mutual grooming(eggs in the mane, close to the withers). Warm saliva of the gnawing horse triggers the hatching. They establish themselves first in the mucous membranes of the mouth, for about a week, emerge and end up being swallowed and attach to the stomach lining.
I discovered it with two of my colts, they would go off feed, grain only, they kept eating hay, tho a bit less. It was just at the timeframe where the last couple of stray bot flies were around and active, me thinking they were dead and gone and not checking for eggs. 4, 5 days they wouldn't eat the grain, were otherwise normal. My vet suggested that being the cause and since then I do Ivermectin right at the first frost, not end of the year, as being suggested. These two colts were, as long as I had them, very annoyed by the bot flies circling.
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