Weight gain - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 9 Old 05-19-2019, 07:51 PM Thread Starter
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Weight gain

Can anyone please help with a weight loss and unable to rebound issue with my daughters 12 year old Tennessee Walker mare. She was fairly overweight when we got her 2 years ago and after a strenuous 3 day ride last fall she has steadily lost alot. After she lost her winter coat I realized you can now see her ribs, her hips, and her spine protrudes when she used to be the most flat comfortable bareback ride I've ever seen. She has been steadily lost despite 6 weeks ago doubling the amount of Purina 12 12 with adding a protein/fat weight gain supplement. I'm am at a loss and desperately need advise. Because due to health issues I can't afford a vet right now.
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post #2 of 9 Old 05-19-2019, 08:12 PM
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You took your "fairly overweight" horse on a "strenuous three day ride"? Just like humans, one shouldn't expect too much too soon and over exert an out-of-shape individual - let alone carrying the extra weight of a rider. That was extremely unfair to the horse. I understand that was last year and it already happened, but I just had to say something.

I understand you cannot afford a vet now, but when was the last time she had a vet? How was her health then?

There are many reasons why a hose could be losing weight. The most common reasons are inadequate nutrition, inadequate food, or health problems.

Besides being underweight, how is her health right now?
What exactly are you feeding her? Exactly how much are you feeding her? Is she eating what you are feeding her? If I understand correctly, which I may not, Purina 12:12 is just a supplement. That would be like you trying to survive on multivitamins. You can take a whole bottle every day, but that won't be enough calories.
How are her teeth? When was the last time they were floated/tended to? If is it hard or painful to eat, that could decrease that intake which contributes to weight loss.
When was the last time she was wormed? Horses that have worms may lose weight due to improper nutrition absorption.
Is she under any kind of stress? Has she experience anything traumatic - physically, emotionally, or mentally? Horses that are under a lot of stress, are depressed, have experienced something very traumatic, will often not eat as much.
What is her current living situation like? Is she turned out in a pasture with good grass or does she live in a stall or on a dry lot? If she is in a stall or in a dry lot for most of the time, she could be missing out on natural calories from grass.
Is she in pain? Horses in pain sometimes eat less.
What's her poop like? Is it like diarrhea, extra soft, or otherwise not "normal"? Again, you could be feeding her a truckload of food, but it is useless if she is not absorbing the nutrients.

I hope she is not as thin as I am imagining. Would it be possible for you to take and post some pictures?

I understand you like this horse and try to take care of her; however, if you can't afford to care for her, then you should sell her. I know that sounds harsh and unsympathetic, but your horse bought in your name living on your property is your responsibility. Money - or the lack of - does not and should not change that. In my opinion, currently, in your situation, based on this post, you have a responsibility your horse and her health above your own sentimental feelings.
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Last edited by LoonWatcher; 05-19-2019 at 08:31 PM. Reason: Grammar. Adding.
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post #3 of 9 Old 05-19-2019, 08:37 PM
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Adding to the above:

Again, pictures would be very helpful.

I believe we are subjected and conditioned to overly, pasture-puff-of-a-horse-horses, especially if we are used to seeing our horse "fairly overweight." Most horses need more muscle and less weight in fatty-fat. Take a look at those wild, BLM mustangs. While they may look a little thin to us, many are actually absolute tanks and are in really good shape.

ETA:
I don't really believe that a horse's "protruding" is necessarily "normal", but if they are only slightly underweight and/or have very little muscle/topline, then the spine is seen to be more prominent, especially if you are used to seeing and feeling a fat, flat back.
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Last edited by LoonWatcher; 05-19-2019 at 08:54 PM. Reason: Adding.
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post #4 of 9 Old 05-19-2019, 09:17 PM
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Hi & welcome,

Quote:
despite 6 weeks ago doubling the amount of Purina 12 12 with adding a protein/fat weight gain supplement.
In addition to Loon's pertinent comments & questions, I will point out that horse's feed should generally be changed/added to gradually, and 6 weeks is often not long enough for much noticeable change. Also, as the 12 12 is a min/vit supp, why did you double this? Did you learn that she needed more of all those nutrients, based on whatever her diet is? Along with Loon's analogy of a bottle of vitamins not giving enough calories, there's the consideration that too much of, or the wrong balance of certain nutrients can also cause more harm than good. So any nutritional supp should be carefully considered as part of the whole, well balanced diet. Which really goes for adding 'protein/weight gain supps' of whatever kind, to a large degree too.

So... perhaps with further info, it is just about what/how much she is fed, & we can advise you adequately without needing a vet. But if her diet IS OK, &/or she needs her teeth done, has gut damage, or something else is wrong, be it vet or otherwise, you're going to need to spend money I'm afraid. I absolutely - & I'm sure most of us do - sympathise with very... restrictive budgets, and am not in the least meaning to assume you are/will neglect her because of it, but I'm with Loon, that if you can't afford to look after a horse adequately, then, sadly, it's time to find someone who can for her. Hopefully your financial restrictions are only short term/minor, so if it's a matter of vets etc, it won't come down to those questions anyway.

Some info I've found helpful; [COLOR=Lime][B]www.horseforum.com/horse-health/hoof-lameness-info-horse-owners-89836/
For taking critique pics; [COLOR=Lime][B]https://www.horseforum.com/members/41...res-128437.jpg
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post #5 of 9 Old 05-19-2019, 10:41 PM Thread Starter
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Ok I'm sorry everybody thinks neglect. She is my daughters heart horse and I love her also. If neglect was an issue why would I care enough to ask for advice. Goodbye and thanks
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post #6 of 9 Old 05-19-2019, 11:29 PM
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We do not think nor did we say that you are neglecting you mare.

Both @loosie and I understand you like your (daughter's) horse and try to take care of her. All we are saying is that if you cannot afford adequate care, then it is in her best interest (by you doing something selfless) to sell her to someone with the monetary means of affording her care. We also understand financial problems. If it is short-term or otherwise temporary, then there are other things you can do to better provide for her until you can better afford it.

Also, as we both pointed out, she may be perfectly fine and only needs a diet adjustment, something you do not necessarily need the vet for at this time. However, in order to suggest a diet, we need to know what her exact current diet is. Simply "doubling the amount of Purina 12:12 with adding a protein/fat weight gain supplement" is not enough information. We need to know a lot more. How much Purina 12:12 is she getting exactly? Is she in a grass pasture? Is so, what kind of grass and how long is she grazing? Is she getting any hay? If so, what kind and how much? What and how much exactly is "protein/fat weight gain supplement"?

In my second post, I also alluded to the possibility that your mare actually might not be "underweight" - just that you think she is because you are so used to seeing her "fairly overweight." That is why we ask for pictures. If she is in fact not underweight - just under-muscled, you trying to make her gain weight (that is not muscle) is not a good idea, either.

We are not judging you or your care but in the best interest of the horse.
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Last edited by LoonWatcher; 05-19-2019 at 11:36 PM. Reason: Grammar.
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post #7 of 9 Old 05-19-2019, 11:34 PM
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Short answer and the most common reasons, wormy and/or dental issues. Have a vet check her teeth and do a fecal egg count

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post #8 of 9 Old 05-20-2019, 12:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tkreis21977 View Post
Ok I'm sorry everybody thinks neglect. She is my daughters heart horse and I love her also. If neglect was an issue why would I care enough to ask for advice. Goodbye and thanks
Please re-read "...and am not in the least meaning to assume you are/will neglect her ", Neither of us said anything of the sort. You just indicated you didn't have the money for vet care, so we both just said IF you cannot provide adequate care...

And again, I at least, wasn't assuming anything at all about you, but when you ask 'why would I care enough to ask for advice'... Please understand that while I believe the vast majority on here are... 'honest sorts', we do get all sorts on a forum like this, and this includes people who appear to care, unless it's too inconvenient, 'honest sorts' who do care but are just ignorant/unaware of all factors, people who have people telling them otherwise... whatever, so just because you're asking for advice, doesn't necessarily mean anything about you, IME. I hope you understand what I mean.

And especially as this is a world wide forum, with people of many different mannerisms, so there are bound to be misunderstandings & things taken differently to how they were intended. So try to both read and reply to people 'charitably', give benefit of doubt & try to assume the best.

Respectfully
Loosie

Some info I've found helpful; [COLOR=Lime][B]www.horseforum.com/horse-health/hoof-lameness-info-horse-owners-89836/
For taking critique pics; [COLOR=Lime][B]https://www.horseforum.com/members/41...res-128437.jpg
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post #9 of 9 Old 05-20-2019, 05:23 AM
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I don't think any of us were feeling you are neglectful. I know how hard it can be to open up to the internet to ask for help. You may already have a bit of worry that people will judge you, and might be misinterpreting because you're already sensitive to the situation and to the possibility of being accused of something because perhaps you are already telling yourself in your mind that you're letting your daughter down or unable to afford vet care. I may be assuming, but I assume only because I personally am this way, I always assume people think the worst of me, it's a personal issue I have but it helps me be more empathetic towards others.

Please understand that I do not believe anyone in this forum would lambast you for your rl situation. It takes a lot to step into a new situation and ask for help, I respect that you are able to do that. It took me a long time to be able to step into the ring here. Really, more information would help us take a better look, and pictures also help a lot.

Firstly, since we are not vets (and those of us who are, are not seeing this horse in person to evaluate) we can't really make any decision based on the best course of action for your daughter's lovely mare, and we don't really have the answers. What we do have is many years of experience with our own horses, our friends horses, and we all have varying backgrounds in horses and offer experience in different ways that may help one another see things from a fresh perspective.

Honestly I always worry about being held liable if I make a suggestion and it happens to not help because I was not aware of (or in a position to diagnose) an issue that was the real reason the mare was losing weight... and that my 'help' actually ended up harming your mare. An example would be: If a horse is dropping weight due to undiagnosed cushings... and I recommend a weight gain path based on what worked for me when I rescued healthy emaciated or underweight horses, the sugars and fats in my recommendations may end up causing the horse to founder because the underlying issue is something more serious than just dropped weight.

I would feel so sick if I helped someone with their horse, sight unseen, only to find out my help (while well meaning) made more issues for that horse.

So honestly I think my best recommendation here would be to contact your vet, or another vet in your area, and let them know you're having financial issues but you want someone to come see your horse, examine her, and do a fecal egg count (for worming) and let them know you're in a pinch financially. Every single one of the vets I've had from California, to Alabama, to South Carolina, to Ohio have ALL allowed me to partially pay, or set up a payment schedule. Get a good skilled eye on your daughters lovely mare to get a good start from a qualified vet, and if the vet says she's healthy but just needs bulk, then hey, we can help with that here too! (that's where our years of experience with different backgrounds work best!)

I really do wish you both the best. It is so hard to see your horse struggling, but look for options! Someone will help :)
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