Horse losing muscle and weight rapidly?!
Okay, so I own a 6 year old off the track thoroughbred. In the past month and a half he went from being very well muscled and pushing on stocky to looking like a horse you would see on one of those animal cops shows thats been neglected for months. The vet has been out 3 times now, checked manure (its clean of all parasites), his teeth were just floated recently eventhough they didn't really need done (i did it as a precaution), and he is up to date on all shots and wormers obviously. He wears a heavy blanket through winter and has a walk in barn available to him, he is eating 4 slices of hay in the morning, 4 at night, and being fed a mixture of rice bran supplement and Rider sweet feed twice a day as well. He does have stomach ulcers and has been much more persistant about cribbing lately even with his cribbing collar on. Vet has no idea whats wrong with him, and is coming back for a blood sample but says we shouldn't wait more than a week because hes afraid of the way my horse looks as well. (this vet saw my horse a couple months before and knows he is well taken care of so he knows something is up) Does anyone have any ideas what this might be? Or what I can do to put some weight back on him as fast as possible? I heard vegetable oil helps?
Get him on free choice hay. Horses stomachs NEVER stop producing acid. Hay buffers the acid. He needs to have hay available AT ALL TIMES.
Start him on alfalfa hay or alfalfa pellets. It is very good for ulcers.
The ulcers WILL NOT go away on their own. He needs treatment for them. Either put him on UlcerGuard or put him on 3mg/lb of cheap human zantac (ranitidine) every 8 hrs for 60-90 days. I choose to go the Ranitidine route bc it is MUCH cheaper than Ulcerguard.
Oh.. and find a new vet b/c your is an IDIOT to say the least.
thats why its mixed in, the vet had told me to put him on a sweet feed in a mixture so it would not cause him any problems. The mixture is mostly rice bran and he has been eating the same feed for over a year now...if that was the problem i would assume he would have deteriorated before now? He goes get malox to help with his stomach, another horse owner who has a horse with ulcers said that helps and his stomach hasn't made the acidic noises it did when I first got him since I started with that. Why do you say my vet is an idiot though im curious? He checked my hay, it is alfalfa/timothy, everything i give to my horse is very good quality.
Re-read my above post, follow it... or else watch your horse continue to deteriorate. It's as simple as that. I have first hand experience rehabbing starved, abused horses with severe ulcerations.
I'm not sure why your horse is losing so much weight. But I would seek out different opinions. Sorry I'm not much help.
There are worms that won't show up in a fecal. You should effectively worm for those worms to be safe. Next please get rid of the sweet feed. It is horrible for horses. Rice bran is still high NSC so I would question that as well.
Next this horse is most likely anemic. Pull blood then start him on a blood builder. I like red cell.
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Your horse should have hay available 24/7. He should never be without hay in front of him.
You should be treating the ulcers MUCH more aggressively. Maalox is NOT sufficient to counter the acid in his stomach. You must block it from forming with Ranitadine or UlcerGuard.
You need to add a protein supplement and a blood builder. I am sure your horse is anemic from the blood loss from the ulcers. This will take a horse down very quickly. You can add fat in the form of a vegetable oil, but fat are 'empty calories'. They are only calories and contain NO actual nutrients like the amino acids needed to rebuild muscle mass. That require protein and the essential amino acids that are the building blocks of protein. Soybean meal is the best protein source for horses. Gradually working a horse up to 1 - 1 1/2 pounds of soybean meal per day will help with rebuilding muscle mass.
But, the most important things to remember are to keep hay in front of this horse and to aggressively treat the ulcers. Your Vet is just kinda treating them a little bit. A new Vet with an aggressive approach would probably serve him and you much better before he bleeds out internally.
Get yourself a couple of small mesh hay nets and stuff them as hard as you can. Then hang the two nets in the shelter in opposite corners. A horse will wad his mouth his hay but the nets slow down it's consumption. The nets may also help with the cribbing as he'll be spending more time pulling hay out. Four flakes of hay in a net, or two will last him much longer than when feed loose. You really need to weigh a bale as he needs at least 25lbs per day. If you hard stuff two nets, twice daily you will be close to what he needs. I put the hay into a plastic garbage tub, squash it down, place the net over top pulling it all the way down then flipping the whole works over. Pack this down in the net and top up with more hay. Hang them shoulder height over a clean spot (no manure) as some hay will fall out as he pulls it out. A stuffed net can last 5 hours. Your horse has likely finished his hay by noon and has nothing to put in his stomach until 4. BTW offer him loose salt as well even if he has a salt lick. A lick makes the horse's tongue sore so he doesn't get what he needs.
Need too be feeding more hay and lots of it free choice if possible and really need to ditch the sweet feed. Feeding sweet feed is like giving your kids candy bars for all three meals. Think you need a diffrent vet doesnt sound like the one you have is to good. The ulcers need to be treated with ulcer gaurd not maalox.
Thank you all for the tips! I'm going to head out to get him the things you guys have suggested and attempt to find a new vet. sadly there arent many equine vets that come recommended close by that I know of yet. But, hopefully this will all help!
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