Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: Livingston County, MI
At what point do you call the vet?
My QH mare, Nala turned 24 in March. April 8th she saw the dentist who floated her a pulled a tooth. At that time, the dentist told me her teeth are at the stage of being rounded and that she should be given at least one feeding of alfalfa mash at this point.
Through the winter, I had my other mare boarded off site and Nala was kept company by a small goat. Nala was kept on senior grain and they both shared 3rd cutting grass hay, nice and heavy green. She had all that hay to herself (I'm a liberal feeder) so I'm thinking she's good!
Fast forward to beginning of May when Nala starts shedding out. At this point she was still getting good hay and the goat had left and my other mare came back. I thought things were good until, like I said, Nala started losing her coat and she was heartbreakingly THIN. I was/am HEARTBROKEN over this. I truly had no idea because her coat is always so thick.
I am still sick over it. Anyway, fast forward from then to now. I switched her to a performance feed with high fat (9%), alfalfa pellets, alfalfa cubes and still eating 2nd/3rd cutting hay. Here is her schedule and has been over the last two months (all of these things were given to her starting slow and increasing up to what I'm detailing below):
2.5 lbs. high fat grain
1 lb. alfalfa pellets
10-15 lbs. hay (or more, whatever she can eat, although she isn't able be to chew it as good as she used to, but she does eat)
Not sure how to measure alfalfa cubes but about 2 scoops dry and soaked in hot water. Bucket is fairly heavy.
Same as morning.
So total-- grain: 5 lbs. Alfalfa pellets: 2lbs. Alfalfa cubes: 10-15 lbs.? soaked. Hay: 15-20 lbs. PLUS, she has access to fresh grass on a side pasture that they've eaten almost all of.
Sometimes I add vegetable oil to her grain and some scoops of weight gain powder that I had left over.
At this point, on all these extra calories for 60 days, she has really put on weight. I do understand that it takes TIME. However, I'm still seeing ribs, and there is that ridge right above her tail and her thighs are still sunk. Granted, she is 24 and she has no muscle tone. I wasn't going to exercise her in her condition.
My question is, at what point do I call the vet? 90 days? 120 days? Just keep increasing her feed? I'm worried I'll overload her. She is on target with worming and farrier as well. She saw the vet last fall and has every year I've had her. She's ALWAYS been a relatively easy keeper and I understand their calorie needs can change, but can they change THIS much? Or is something medical possibly going on?
My game plan was to give her a solid 4 months since I know it can take months to put weight back on, especially a senior horse... and I tend to be a worrier anyhow.
Would love some thoughts and opinions on this as I refuse to let her enter into this winter underweight. Thank you guys!!