Weight Gain Help
Well, I was going to take the equine nutrition course but my current college got in the way so you guys might have to help me out a little bit. First I'll note that a vet has been consulted regarding physical issues, teeth, ulcers, etc. we've concluded as of right now that old lady is 'miss picky pants'.
She's 22 years old, but more of a 'senior' than any older horse I've ever owned. Unfortunately this winter has been super hard on her, and while we've tried everything we can to maintain her weight, after worming she dropped weight quickly, which was, to say the least, startling (I'll reiterate that we have spoken to a vet about teeth / her insides).
She's been getting free choice hay, beet pulp and Otter Co-op Equi-Cal pellets. She eats her pellets, but turns her nose up at the idea of beet pulp, munches on hay for awhile and then will wander off to graze the almost barren winter grass in the pasture -headdesk-. She seems happy, alert, content, but is just disinterested in her food. So enough is enough, missy is getting locked up morning and night, will have her free-choice hay in front of her, and we're going to have to look into her grain options (she will be pulled out during the day to graze on her own in the backyard, it's a couple acres that hasn't seen the mower in awhile, she'll be happy to graze that down).
SO a couple of questions:
I want to put her on hay cubes as well, see if that's something she 'likes', but I don't have much experience with them... Alfalfa isn't the best option for oldies, is it? What about Timothy cubes? Or a mixture of both?
I'll also look at different hay sources, see if she prefers something different.
And what about different brans? I'll definitely look into it myself, but what are your guys' preferences? Thoughts on wheat bran? Rice bran?
At this point I'm not above putting her on some high fat, junk food diet just to get her weight back up and then getting her 'fit' once that's levelled out. I've included the link to my current feed store, I'm honestly just... lost looking at all the different options.
Anybody else have a similar problem?
Vanderveen Hay Sales Ltd. - Hay, Pet Food and Supplies - Surrey, Langley, Vancouver, Burnaby, Richmond, Coquitlam, Abbotsford, White Rock
My old guy has been impossible to get weight on these past 3 or so winters, last year it was so bad he still looked thin going into this winter, but I finally found a feed combination that works for him, total per day he gets 9lbs of triple crown senior(12 if I can fit in a 3rd meal) 3lbs alfalfa pellet, 2lbs rice bran and about a cup of beet pulp. He has access to free choice hay, but it's mostly there for the other horses as he has no teeth. I also put out a tub of a few lbs alfalfa cubes soaked( everything is soaked) but he's not usually very interested, one of the others usually end up eating those.
I'm thinking about picking up some alfalfa cubes or pellets, soaking those down and giving them to her, skipping the bran (looked it up, didn't like what I saw) and putting her on a mix of equi-cal and senior feed. Possibly some black oil sunflower seeds, I've heard good reports and an oil. Depending on what she 'likes'.
I've never seen a horse be so picky, we were worried about the other stealing her food but NOPE she just gives it to them.
I love rice bran, and so do my horses. I believe that is one of the biggest helps with putting weight on him.
What did you see that you didn't like?
Few reports that it put weight on and too many reports that it did nothing to justify buying it. When you look into the purpose of a bran it makes sense to sweep the digestive system. Plus many reports that horses just didn't like it.
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I'm starting to think this is more than hard winter / hard keeper. Missy has been very listless, not interested in her feed. Will eat less than half of what we put out for her, leave her free choice hay in the morning and it's still there when we check in the afternoon, and when we feed at night. If I put her out in the back yard where there's lots of green grass she'll stand and graze, but she seems overall very down trodden. I was reading another thread regarding sudden weight loss and somebody mentioned tumours, given the circumstances and how quickly she lost all this weight I'm worried cancer might be the culprit. I'm going to have the vet back out this week, and continue offering her free choice hay, and giving her her grain.
She's a 22 year old gray, so it seems like the odds are against her.
(I know not many replied, but thought I'd update in case anyone has anything else to add).
let us know how it goes!
I definitely will!
I'm not usually the type of person to jump to conclusions. But with this one I just have a 'feeling' with the way she's been acting, the weight loss, her age, etc.
They all lost a bit of weight this winter, we had a particularly bad year with worms but she looks like she's still losing, and she has absolutely NO appetite. Hoping for the best, but still wanting to get it checked out.
I feed 20 ounces daily to both my hard keepers. One is 25 with Equine Metabolic Syndrome, the other will be 27 next month and loses weight horribly thru the winter.
That being said, I completely forgot about split peas until I read a really great dissertation directly from Dr. Eleanor Kellon's website.
Split peas ( like we put in soup) are great for metabolic horses with weight gain issues. I am not saying your horse has metabolic issues, I am saying split peas are safe to feed any horse that is a hard keeper because they a low in starches.
Since you took the time to research rice bran, I am thinking you will be interested in the entire copy/pasted article below:D:D I hope this helps:-)
This re-Quote Below is from one of Dr. Kellon's articles; the original poster could not get the link to post, so I don't have it as back up. It was directed at a person with a metabolic horse that is a hard keeper and the person is on a tight budget, so was looking for inexpensive ways to get weight on the horse. Having two metabolic horses, I am very familiar with Dr. Eleanor Kellon:
Her age and symptoms also make her a prime candidate for metabolic issues.
You mentioned earlier she has been checked for ulcers? I think might spend the money on two weeks worth of Omeprazole from the vet and see what happens. If her appetite picks up in the first 48 hours, you will know you are dealing with ulcers.
I honestly also would not discount metabolic issues that could be insulin resistance, equine metabolic syndrome, or even the very early stages of cushings. Early stage cushings horses do not always show a rough coat.
I might consider getting some blood work done on her to check not only her insulin level but her cortisol level. Just don't let the vet do the Dex test for cortisol; it can bring on founder in some horses.
I am not discounting the tumors either. Strangulating lipomas in the hind gut might be an issue. My vet is suspicous of them in my 25 yr old with EMS but I would have to haul his arthritic self four hours to the nearest equine facility and I'm not doing that.
He gets Suceed every day and it's keeping things quiet so he can eat without colicking.
Feeding these older horses smaller portions, 3 - 4 times daily, if possible, really is a big help. I am thankful to be fully retired or I don't know how I would manage that one. I am mentioning it in case it's something you can do, once you get her appetite back in order:-)
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