best weight builder for the starved horse
A friend took in a rescue horse the other day. (Picture below) She went to see this "free" horse for her son and found out quickly that the picture she saw in the online ad was nothing like what this horse really was. I cant imagine how awful he REALLY is under that winter coat. The vet needs to work on his teeth but when he came Wednesday, he refused to start work until after the first of the year because he isnt sure the horse is going to survive that long. :cry:
She wasnt looking for a starved rescue but she couldnt leave this horse where he was. The people didnt even have any water available to this guy! They said it was "hard" to bring water from the house to the barn. UGH.
My question is- he is on multiple small meals and slowly upping his feed amounts so he doesnt get sick.. but soon we will be adding a weight builder. There are a million out there.. What do you suggest???
That is what my 27 year old Appaloosa named Shadow looked like when I brought her home. I am sure you can feed him senior feed and beet pulp. There are some more experienced people on here that can help more. Tell your friend thank you for saving the poor soul.
Happen to have a UC Davis study about rehabbing a starved horse in front of me right noe:-)
Day 1-3: 1lb good quality alfalfa hay every four hours
Day 4-10: increase amount and decrease number of feedings to, at day 6, you're at 4 lbs every 8 hours
Day 10 and for several months: as much alfalfa as the horse wants. Saltblock. NO grain, or treats, apples, carrots until well into recovery. Each if these complicates the return to normal metabolic function
Other hays can be added after two weeks, but slowly.
Alfalfa contains sufficient amounts of salt, so careful with a block within the first 4-6 weeks.
Deworming and taking care of teeth is beneficial, but I'd let the vet decide when, as he did ;-)
I'm not a fan of using "weight builder" for rehabbing - I'm a fan of the approach posted by desterthorsewoman above.
It's tried and proven. My worst case was "only" 300lbs underweight, not starved in sense of no food, rather too little and low quality. She came back within a month with free choice oat/alfalfa hay and 3 lbs senior feed, but we started VERY slow. She had straw only, and very little, when we got her so we added alfalfa, a quarter flake at a meal, the senior literally by the handful, then slowly replaced the straw with oathay, adding more alfalfa, and up-ing the senior, too.
Pics are in my 'critters' album, Snipper before and after". She started shedding out at the same time and what was under her woolies sure impressed me;-)
Have to add, for the OP's horse I would go the UC Davis way, to make sure to not overwhelm the system.
You don't need a weight builder. You need a good low starch/sugar feed and free choice hay. For a horse coming back from starvation, less is more. Personally, I feed Triple crown Sr, free choice mixed grass hay and a 2-4lbs of alfalfa pellets (depending on the animal) to my abuse cases.
Second thing I do is have their teeth done. Usually, if a horse has been starved, then they have def never had their teeth done. My last TB rescue had HUGE hooks in the back that had to be cut out. Poor girl.
I have rehabbed quite a few starved horses and one thing I have found is that treating them for stomach ulcers is a good idea. Being starved like that almost always causes ulcers bc of the acid to "buffer" ratio. No forage in the stomach, nothing to buffer the stomach acid, therefore causing ulcers. Horses stomachs produce acid all the time. This is why it is best if they do not go with out forage for more than 4ish hrs at a time.
I use the cheap ulcer treatment, but it's a pain. I use equate brand ranitidine (cheap zantac) 3x a day for 30-60 days to treat. It works just as well as the ulcer guard and is much cheaper. I just throw the pills right on the feed and they generally eat them. If they don't, I pull the plunger out of a large syringe, drop the pills in, put the plunger back in and fill it with water and leave sit. The pills dissolve and you can give it orally in liquid form via the syringe. This has worked for me as well when horses have went off feed bc of ulcers. I dosed for 1-2 weeks via the syringe until they started eating their feed, and then just put the whole pills on the feed. The pills are tiny so it usually works unless you have a suuuuper picky eater.
Hay. Start SLOW, but work up to free choice 24/7, alfalfa is best to start but grass is fine too. Once eating free choice hay without issue for a week or two, you can start adding in some low-starch feed (senior feeds, beet pulp or the like) and gradually up that to 5-10lbs a day.
But HAY HAY HAY is the most important thing.
How many of the over the counter ranitidine pills are you giving for what sized horse?
3mg per pound.
3,000mg per 1,000lb horse every 8 hrs.
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