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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am picking up a new horse on Friday and have heard she may be in rough shape. There is a hay shortage where she is being kept and am curious as where to start and what to start her on when i get her here. She has been eating shredded straw and hay mix, with maybe some grain (unsure of what kind), she is under weight and wormy. I have ordered a Panacur powerpac for her to start her on for worms but am unsure of what sort of supplements and grains i should be putting her on and how much? Would Probiotics be good for her to start? Thank you for your time and look forward to hearing what people have to offer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Quick change to post, should read...
I am picking up a new horse on Friday and have heard she may be underweight. There is a hay shortage where she is being kept and am curious as where to start and what to start her on when i get her here. She has been eating shredded straw and hay mix, with maybe some grain (unsure of what kind), she is under weight and could possibly have worms. I have ordered a Panacur powerpac for her to maybe start her on for worms depending on her condition but am unsure of what sort of supplements and grains i should be putting her on and how much? Would Probiotics be good for her to start? Thank you for your time and look forward to hearing what people have to offer.
 

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Be careful what you give her at first. I mean supplements, hay... whatever... ANY of that can make her gravely ill right now if she's bad off. How bad is she? Do you have any pictures?

Depending on how bad she is... she should probably get nothing but water and hay, in small amounts several time a day. I wouldn't start her on any rich hay either (First cuttings, alfalfa, etc). Her gut flora is going to be crappy, and she will be prone to gorging and that could lead to colic or foundering. You may also have food aggression to deal with - sometimes a starved horse (or dog) never gets over that and will be 'grabby' or especially greedy for the rest of their lives. If she's a body condition low 2 or less, I would have a vet on board the moment she got to my place.... because she may not even be healthy enough to be wormed. IDK. I'd want a vet's opinion immediately.

If she's just kinda ribby and needing some groceries on her, but not emaciated (mid-2/3 Body Condition - see chart below), I'd start with hay (Not straw - straw is for bedding!) for the first week or two, then gradually introduce a good quality pelleted senior feed (Yes, I know, probably not a senior horse but it's easy on their stomach, easy to chew, has a good nutritional content) (NOT GRAIN!) in small quantities along with increasing the hay. You can introduce a free choice horse formulated 'protein' bucket to help pack on the pounds and nutrition too - I keep one out for our senior horse who sometimes hovers between a 2 and a 3, and I have a couple of friends who have worked with local law enforcement and have fostered horses who were taken out of abusive homes and were malnourished. They swear by these tubs and so do I. Once you're out of the woods on any health or behavioral blow back from too long without regular meals, you can introduce rice bran (fat) into the diet. I would be sure to provide horse mineral and salts, free choice... and work your way up to letting the horse free choice hay all day, every day with feedings of the senior feed and rice bran twice a day,. Maybe even some fine gauge alfalfa pellets (But introduce them gradually - too much too soon and you'll have a horse with the drizzling poops). I'd go ahead and worm her as you plan to. Once she's in the clear as far as weight goes, you can gradually shift her to a non-senior feed. Keep out free choice hay if the weather is cold right now or the grazing isn't great where you live in the spring/summer/autumn.

For a truly emaciated horse, at a body condition 1, I strongly recommend you consult an equine vet and follow their directions before you worm them or try to fatten them back up yourself. The organs can be damaged, you could have all kinds of issues that you might not consider right off. Better to err on the side of caution when dealing with a low weight horse.... even Superman, our own senior horse, when he dropped a shocking amount of weight two summers ago? We sought the advice of our equine vet, just to be safe.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Be careful what you give her at first. I mean supplements, hay... whatever... ANY of that can make her gravely ill right now if she's bad off. How bad is she? Do you have any pictures?

Depending on how bad she is... she should probably get nothing but water and hay, in small amounts several time a day. I wouldn't start her on any rich hay either (First cuttings, alfalfa, etc). Her gut flora is going to be crappy, and she will be prone to gorging and that could lead to colic or foundering. You may also have food aggression to deal with - sometimes a starved horse (or dog) never gets over that and will be 'grabby' or especially greedy for the rest of their lives. If she's a body condition low 2 or less, I would have a vet on board the moment she got to my place.... because she may not even be healthy enough to be wormed. IDK. I'd want a vet's opinion immediately.

If she's just kinda ribby and needing some groceries on her, but not emaciated (mid-2/3 Body Condition - see chart below), I'd start with hay (Not straw - straw is for bedding!) for the first week or two, then gradually introduce a good quality pelleted senior feed (Yes, I know, probably not a senior horse but it's easy on their stomach, easy to chew, has a good nutritional content) (NOT GRAIN!) in small quantities along with increasing the hay. You can introduce a free choice horse formulated 'protein' bucket to help pack on the pounds and nutrition too - I keep one out for our senior horse who sometimes hovers between a 2 and a 3, and I have a couple of friends who have worked with local law enforcement and have fostered horses who were taken out of abusive homes and were malnourished. They swear by these tubs and so do I. Once you're out of the woods on any health or behavioral blow back from too long without regular meals, you can introduce rice bran (fat) into the diet. I would be sure to provide horse mineral and salts, free choice... and work your way up to letting the horse free choice hay all day, every day with feedings of the senior feed and rice bran twice a day,. Maybe even some fine gauge alfalfa pellets (But introduce them gradually - too much too soon and you'll have a horse with the drizzling poops). I'd go ahead and worm her as you plan to. Once she's in the clear as far as weight goes, you can gradually shift her to a non-senior feed. Keep out free choice hay if the weather is cold right now or the grazing isn't great where you live in the spring/summer/autumn.

For a truly emaciated horse, at a body condition 1, I strongly recommend you consult an equine vet and follow their directions before you worm them or try to fatten them back up yourself. The organs can be damaged, you could have all kinds of issues that you might not consider right off. Better to err on the side of caution when dealing with a low weight horse.... even Superman, our own senior horse, when he dropped a shocking amount of weight two summers ago? We sought the advice of our equine vet, just to be safe.
I believe she will be closer to a four
 

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But you don't know for sure how bad she is or have any pictures?
 
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If a BSC of 4 not considered malnourished maybe a bit lean. If worming history is unknown have a fecal done then worm as advised by vet.

Don't worm horse till a fecal is done,or you risk killing horse. With a massive worm kill. Vet can advise on how and what to worm with, according to fecal results. Or take your chances an worm it first but don't say you weren't warned..

My horse is a BSC of 4 hardly malnourished. Well fed cared for just no extra fat on him.

Pictures would help it's all just going on what you have told here.
 

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No i won't know forsure until i go pick her up.

Yeah a four ain't nothing some groceries won't fix. When you said malnourished, I conjured up some horror stories in my head.


Check with the vet on the worm load since you don't know if or when she was wormed last. I agree with Rambo there. Hay, 24/7. I'd still start with the senior feed and no grain, work your way up to a regular amount to feed her, then slowly switch her to a regular, good quality horse feed. Get her a tub like I gave you the link to - they can't eat it super fast because it's hard - they have to lick it like a lollypop. Don't be alarmed if she gets sticky feed tub goo all up and down her face. Mine are like toddlers with candy - it gets everywhere on their faces.


Get her some alfalfa pellets, some rice bran, and just start small with anything other than hay and work your way up over the next couple of weeks after she arrives.


I'd still get your vet on board since you're not familiar with this horse personally. She seems to be coming from something of a rough situation, so I'd want her checked out immediately and hopefully the vet can head off any problems, if there be any, before they get out of hand.


You also realize now that you've asked for advice, we're going to invoice you for our opinions, right?

We accept pictures of the pony in question as payment.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Okay, thank you everyone for the advice, I will be picking up the filly this week and will be posting pictures and updates on her condition. Vets are hard to come by where i am from so I may have to send away a fecal sample and get it tested. I will be able to assess the situation a bit better once i get an eye on her.
 

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Not trying to argue with previous posters. Another perspective: When some friends and I rescued a couple of starved horses (2 and 3 BCS), we were advised by the vet to feed free choice alfalfa. This agrees with studies I have read.
Alfalfa’s relatively low starch content did not cause a steep rise in insulin, a reaction that can contribute to kidney, heart, and respiratory failure in horses without sufficient electrolyte stores... alfalfa hay was judged superior for initial feedings because it provided a better range of nutrients in addition to calories.
https://ker.com/equinews/refeeding-starved-horse/
My advice would be free choice alfalfa, and I agree that worming and adding probiotics would be good also. After several weeks, you can see how much weight the horse has gained and once the horse is healthier you can switch over to a good quality grass hay, and then add vitamins and other things as needed.
 

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Not trying to argue with previous posters. Another perspective: When some friends and I rescued a couple of starved horses (2 and 3 BCS), we were advised by the vet to feed free choice alfalfa. This agrees with studies I have read.

https://ker.com/equinews/refeeding-starved-horse/
My advice would be free choice alfalfa, and I agree that worming and adding probiotics would be good also. After several weeks, you can see how much weight the horse has gained and once the horse is healthier you can switch over to a good quality grass hay, and then add vitamins and other things as needed.

I'll admit I was going off what the BLM told me about Whiskey (And what they'll tell anyone about a holding pen Mustang since they ALL have a 3 or 4, sometimes a 2, body condition). Whiskey had a low 4/high 3. They told me to not give her any rich hay or alfalfa for a couple of weeks, hay only, and then work her into the richer hays. Start small with the feed too since she'd never had anything but hay... or there was a good chance she'd colic and/or founder. Granted, she'd never had anything but straight up hay, but they also were considering she had, basically, an empty belly more often than she had a full belly and also might be prone to gorging until she got used to feed being consistently available. They may have been abundantly cautious with their recommendations too given the brand new horse owners that get Mustangs and promptly over feed them. Since OP's horse hasn't had much in the way of any food of value for several months, if she were coming to my house, I'd apply the same advice to her that the BLM gave me for Whiskey. ;)



If alfalfa is great, I say go for it!
 
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As the tub is mostly molasses products I would think a start on alfalfa or perennial peanut hay and grass hay would be where you want to start. A good senior feed, perhaps, depending on what the vet says and where she is actually at. Then if you know whether there are metabolic issues or not adding the tub would get calories into her.
 

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It is all held together with molasses, sure, but the nutritional values outweigh the molasses factor, IMO. I was a doubter at first, didn't want to try them, got talked into it, bought a couple, and saw vast improvement in his weight and mental acuity in just a couple of weeks. I've seen the difference these make, been using them for over a year to help the Old Man keep his weight up with no negative impacts. Since he shares with our other horses, I've seen an improvement in their coat, mane, tail, and hooves as well. I keep one hung up in his shed, and one more hung on a T post at all times.



Guaranteed Analysis:
Crude Protein (min.) 12.0%
Crude Fat (min.) 5.0%
Crude Fiber (max.) 2.0%
Calcium (Ca) (min.) 1.2%
Calcium (Ca) (max.) 1.7%
Phosphorus (P) (min.) 0.8%
Salt (NaCl) (min.) 12.6%
Salt (NaCl) (max.) 15.1%
Copper (Cu) (min.) 300 ppm
Iron (Fe) (min.) 1,000 ppm
Selenium (Se) (min.) 4.0 ppm
Zinc (Zn) (min.) 1,000 ppm
Vitamin A (min.) 50,000 IU/lb.
Vitamin D3 (min.) 10,000 IU/lb.
Vitamin E (min.) 375 IU/lb.
Biotin (min.) 0.2 mg/lb.
 
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I had a starved horse I rescued, always gorged down hay,feed. Even after he was back in good shape.

Never got past the gorging,could eat twice as much hay as a horse who was never starved. He ate like it was his last meal he'd ever see. Last I knew he was still like that he's in his mid twenties now. Been over a year since I've heard from gal I sold him to.

Was starved as a yearling almost to death another week he would have died. I rehabilitated him with the help of a very good equine vet. Alfalfa hay was what he was fed to start with and little meals every few hours, throughout the day.
 

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We can make feed suggestions all day and all night but, a lot of what you can feed will depend on what you can get easily where you are. If hay (grass) is plentiful, feed lot's of that. If you can get good alfalfa and the vet says it's ok to free feed it, then do that. If you can get good senior feed rather than rice bran, then feed that. I've brought many a very thin horse back to happy, shiny plumpness with Strategy & Ultium and/or Amplify, but that's what's easily available down here where I am. I don't feed any alfalfa due to blister beetles. If I want alfalfa for someone, I get pellets from a supplier in Idaho.

Your vet may have a starvation regimen to follow if the horse is terribly thin, may tell you not to deworm until the horse picks up XX amount of weight, may want to do teeth but won't until he feels the horse can withstand the anesthesia and so on. If she's truly starved, I'd get the vet on board right away. If not, then I'd just "feed her up" with what you can get easily. Protein tubs (we can get horse designated ones down here fairly easily and inexpensively), alfalfa, grass, rice bran, oil, concentrate feeds are all pretty readily available for us. You'll have to find your way through whatever is local to you. Make sure you follow directions on the bags for feeding to the weight you WANT not the weight she IS right now. A weight tape is a wonderful tool to measure her progress.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Update

Hello all, I realize i never posted any updates of this mare when i got her home. I have had her home since January now and she is flourishing. I have broke her and am riding her checking cows and will eventually be looking into working some cows on the family farm with her (shes a natural). I started her on small amounts of finishing touch by master feeds, tribute essential K, beet pulp, and probiotics. After she was looked over by vet, wormed and de-loused (she even had lice when i brought her home) i slowly started increasing her grain intake. I eventually started her on oils to add shine to her coat and add in extra fat to her diet. Since June she has been on pasture full time and taken off grain completely. She was in good condition before i took her off grain. I added a picture in this Thread to show the before and after of this mare. Thank you everyone for your comments and responses.
 

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Very nice :cool:

She looked thin when you got her but not horribly so that's good. She also looked very out of shape.

Look at her now!! She looks great. Good luck with her.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Very nice :cool:

She looked thin when you got her but not horribly so that's good. She also looked very out of shape.

Look at her now!! She looks great. Good luck with her.
Thank you so much, the hair she had on her helped make her look like she had more weight than she did, i could count all her ribs when touching her side. I cannot believe the progress she has made and never expected her to look this amazing. so grateful i gave her the home she deserved and needed.
 

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She is what I consider very thin when you got her. But she is an absolute beauty now. You have done a wonderful job with her for sure!!
 
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