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GaitedHorses 02-23-2007 05:55 PM

Very Sick Horses! Please Tell Your Opinion!
My cousin, Chris (owner of Booger, Skeeter, Chigger, Festus, and Smoky)...he's in some trouble...with his horses. I'm trying to get some other 'opinions' on what he could do (other than get a vet out...the horses desperately need it)...

Anyway... the two horses that really need a vet out are Booger and Smoky...

Booger: She is the better of the two... but she is VERY skinny, but VERY bloated (it's not worms either, he has been deworming her every two months).... She is eating and drinking well, but you can see her ribs. She is in a pasture with a young stallion, a young mare, and a young mule. She is only about 18 years old, but looks about like a 22 year old horse that isn't taken care of. Chris doesn't want to have to put her down, because he and her have been together for all her life. He cherishes that horse. Money is not a problem when it comes to her (or Smoky). He currently has her on joint supplements, (I don't know what kind of feed), unlimited hay and umlimited water. She also has the runs, badly.

Smoky: He is a whole nother story! I've seen bad looking horses, but he has to be the worst! He is only about 13, but he looks like a 40-sometihng year old [pasture nag] horse...bag of bones! He does crib...badly... You can see his ribs THROUGH his winter coat, feel virtually every bone in his body, his sides are sunk in badly, and his neck is 'sunk in' too! Chris has told me that they are pretty much having to make him eat and drink. He's gone off his hay (which in unlimited in the amount he eats), gone off feed, and gone off water. I think he is dehydrated. He has also been on a 'every two month deworming' schedule. Both his back legs are swollen, but he isn't lame. He also seems to have a bad cold, but isn't coughing. (I'm beginning to think that he has some sort of internal infection). Also, I can run my hand down his side and his hair just falls out by the roots, which is leading me to believe that he has some sort of cancer or something. His nicker sounds scratchy... I'm not sure what to tell my cousin other than get the vet I use out...and get some bloodwork done! This horse has been taken to the vet (not the one I use though) and the vet just gave them some antibiotics, which they have used up.

Does anyone have any clue as to what could be wrong with these two horses! Money isn't a problem to my cousin, he'll find a way to get it, just as long as he can get these two horses healthy again. He really doesn't want to shoot either of the horses, so please voice...(err, write) your opinions!!!

What could he buy that might help! Vet experts/techs, please tell me what you think!

Please don't just respond and say 'get a vet out' I told him more than once today when I went and looked at his horses that they need a vet, and he's agreed to call the one I use in a few days (either that, or I'll call him myself and talk to him over the phone

TudorRose 02-23-2007 07:03 PM

I'm a little confused as to how these 2 horses got this way if money is no option. There are very few conditions that would cause horses to loose weight quickly enough to end up in this state quickly. Which suggests they ahve been going down hill slowly over time and begs the question why didn't their owner notice something earlier? But that is by the by. In this kind of situation I would work with a vet to figure out a plan of action but here are some thoughts that come to mind.

For the first horse who has the runs I would suggest a probiotic like Forco. Having the runs suggests that its gut bacteria are not working the way they should something has unsettled them and they can not digest the hay properly. The probiotic will help restore the bacteria so the horse can get out of the hay what it should and maybe put on some weight.

The question becomes what caused the bacteria to get upset in the first place. Has the hay changed recently, new cut, different type? Did the horse start getting grain? Could it have eaten sometihng it shouldn't have? Figuring out what it was will help prevent it from happening again. You mention antibiotic? Why were they on antibiotics? and how long ago? Antibiotics commonly kill of the beneficial gut bacteria so this is likely the cause of the horses runs and should be easily fixed by the probiotic.

As for the 13 year old horse that seems trickier there are many things going on. Hair falling out can be caused by certain nutrient deficiencies. I doubt its cancer, you hair falls out during cancer treatment but I've never heard of a cancer causing hair to fall out. I know this sounds silly but is there any way this horse might just be shedding?

Both horses may also need their teeth checking especially the 18 year old. While you didn't want to hear people just say "get the vet out" you sound like a responsible horse owner and so you know that is the best option. Of course I would get the vet out straight away at this point but at the same time it sounds like a chronic condition and therefore a couple of days won't likely make a huge difference. Do make sure they are seen within the next few days.

Good luck.

ImaFlashyBit 02-26-2007 01:38 PM

If money is not an issue I would HIGHLY recommend having a vet come out there and some bloodwork and tests be done ASAP....

Bentley 03-08-2007 09:06 PM

Very sick horses! Please tell your opinion!
I don't understand why, if money is not an issue, the vet hasn't been called. However, it sounds to me like there is some sort of poisonous plant they've gotten in to and are eating. Really, however, none of us can help with these rather vague descriptions and not being able to see the horses and where they are kept. He absolutely MUST get a vet out there to make the determination on what the problem is. Don't let them suffer any longer, please, if you have any pull in the matter.

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