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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've seen about a million posts from people with this same problem, but I have a bit of a tough situation.

2 Quarter Horse yearlings got into the the feed room about 8 hrs ago. I'll be addressing the feed room door situation ASAP.

It looks like two of them ate 25-40 lbs of Purina Junior feed.

I know colic and founder are both huge possibilities. I know calling the the vet in is the best option, but the owner is out of town and has not given permission for that.

They have not been handled much, so walking them and soaking their feet is difficult. I can barely get close enough to check their feet.

No signs of colic yet. And as far as I can tell, no heat in the feet or legs.

Questions:
1.) Without being able to bring the vet in, and without being able to handle them much, what can I do?

2.) Is 25-40 lbs life-threatening for a yearling?

3.) I know senior feed, being a complete feed, isn't AS bad as some feeds for a horse to eat alot of. Is it the same case with the Junior Feed?

I'm a little bit terrified right now.
 

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Based on the purina website (Purina Horse Feeds - EQUINE FAMILY) the Purina Junior, like the Senior, can be fed as a complete feed, meaning it has a relatively high forage content and less starch than some of the supplemental feeds. Looks like for a 500lb youngster, they're recommending upwards of 10lbs a day, which supports that. If your estimate is right, they ate somewhere between what they would have been getting over a whole day and four times that amount if one was a piggy and ate it all himself.

If you can't get a vet out, I would still be concerned, particularly of colic right now, but at least it looks like it's better they got into this feed than a bag of oats or sweet feed. I'd still be trying to get in touch with the owner- if they do colic or have other issues in the next day or three, you may need that permission to get them taken care of. It's too late for a vet to do anything other than try to minimize and treat any damage that that much feed might do. Most horses get through things like this with no ill effects other than a little colic or diarrhea, unfortunately when things do go badly, they can go very badly. Typically in this situation, one horse will be worse off than the rest because the pushiest, bossiest one ate the most of whatever it was they weren't supposed to be eating.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
That is very helpful. I hadn't thought to check the Purina site. These yearlings are on the larger side. I would guess heavier than 500 lbs. So it sounds like it could be worse. Even still, they're accustomed to ~2 lbs a day, so that is a HUGE jump in what they are used to.

I know the risk for colic decreases after a certain amount of time, and I'm watching them for that. But I'm also very concerned about founder. I don't know if there's anything I can be doing to prevent that.
 

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My yearling QH's weigh between 700 & 800 lbs and it recommends roughly 17 lbs per day per horse for moderate growth and up to around 19 lbs per horse per day for more rapid growth, so if they even ate 40 lbs of feed, approximately a bagful then they still only ate a little more than the recommended amount. I'd withhold anymore concentrates from now til tomorrow afternoon and let them eat grass hay and just watch them for any signs of distress.

I would KEEP trying to reach the owner(s) to let them know what happened and get their wishes on it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
Dreamcatcher Arabians, thank you so much! That makes me feel alot better about it. I'll keep watching them, but it sounds like there's no reason to panic. I was pretty terrified when I found them.

I will definitely keep trying to get in touch with the owner. And if things take a bad turn (signs of colic or lameness), I'm going to call the vet in anyway.
 

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I hope you have called the owner, especially to know what you are allowed to do (vet) if things do go badly.

This just happened to me the other day (indirectly). Horse has Cushings and is laminitic, and got into a grain with 26% NSC. He was up and down, but otherwise OK. My directions were to handwalk him, give him our colic remedy (tea and whiskey basically), give him banamine if he got worse/no change, and call the vet to talk and to get on standby. Vet was much more concerned about his feet since this is a major issue with him. He was standing in snow and his feet were iced whenever possible/not in snow. In the morning he got bute (for his feet) and continue icing/snow. He got a few handfuls of hay, but no real dinner, syringed mineral oil, very small (hay only) breakfast, then tonight my instructions were to mash his grain very well and give him a small amount. (Vet ok'd normal feeding, but I am being paranoid since I am not there myself and he was still a little "off" in the morning.)

He never had a real "colic" and vet thought maybe he was lying down because of his feet, but his feet (SO LUCKY) seem fine, and I think if they were sore he would lie down and stay down. So I think we were dealing with a mild colic, and got VERY lucky with his feet (he is EXTREMELY sensitive to his diet).

The pony got out at the same time, probably did not get any grain. She seems ok and just got a small dinner (no grain).

So hopefully my little story will be helpful to you. I would not medicate unless the horse is showing symptoms (as said, call and talk to a vet, they can advise- and talk to the owner!) but a home remedy like I said won't hurt, though again, I would probably wait. Might try mineral oil though. Try and figure out which ate more (watch them both of course!) My main concern in this situation would probably be colic. Just give them a very small amount of hay to eat, water. Monitor input/output of hay/water, and check them frequently.

I definitely agree with Sharpie, that things are USUALLY OK, but if they aren't it can be very serious.

Don't check the legs check the hooves.
 

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Based on your comment: "I know calling the the vet in is the best option, but the owner is out of town and has not given permission for that." and the fact that I assume you are boarding horses, you MUST have something in writing from each horse owner that states that you can call the vet in case of emergency (when you can't reach them) and they will be responsible for the bill. Heck, I sign something like that for my dogsitter when I'm out of town.

It's great that these two yearlings seem ok so far, and I hope they continue to be, but what if they weren't? The owner would problably then blame you for not calling the vet. This could be a very good lesson for you.

As one of my friends always says, "an ounce of preframing is worth a pound of reframing".
 

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I don't think it really matters what the recommended amount is. I think it matters what the horse is USED to eating.

If the horse only gets 1 lb a day and the recommended is 15 and the horse ate 20. it's still 19 pounds more than they are used to.

If the horse is used to 15 and the horse ate 20 it's only 5 more pounds. So slightly relevant but I think the actual difference is the real factor. And you also need to look at "per feeding" amounts, since obviously no horse is supposed to eat 40 lbs at once.
 

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Dreamcatcher Arabians, thank you so much! That makes me feel alot better about it. I'll keep watching them, but it sounds like there's no reason to panic. I was pretty terrified when I found them.

I will definitely keep trying to get in touch with the owner. And if things take a bad turn (signs of colic or lameness), I'm going to call the vet in anyway.
If you don't have something in writing with permission to call the vet, the extent of treatment in a worst case scenario, and a maximum $ amount to spend, plus an emergency contact number or alternate person in case you can't reach the owner make sure you get it when they get back.

Here's what's on my boarding agreement:

IN CASE OF EMERGENCY NOTIFY:

NAME ___________________ PHONE _____________________

VETERINARIAN ____________________ PHONE: __________________

FARRIER __________________________ PHONE _______________


DCA agrees to attempt to contact Horse Owner should DCA feel that medical treatment is needed for said horse, but if DCA is unable to contact Horse Owner within 15 (fifteen) minutes or if DCA feels the horse’s life is in immediate danger, DCA is then authorized to secure emergency veterinary and/or blacksmith care required for the health and well-being of said horse. All cost of such care shall be paid by Horse Owner directly to the attending veterinarian or Farrier. DCA is authorized to instruct emergency care veterinarian the maximum amount of monies the owner is willing to spend on any one incident is $____________ and care should be limited to this amount. Horse Owner agrees to hold DCA harmless for results of those services.

This at least gives you a guideline in an emergency and helps the owner think of what they can afford to authorize you to do, BEFORE it's needed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
That's good to know. It's actually not my ranch. (I mean really, do I sound qualified to run a ranch?) It is a series of unfortunate events that I ended up being the only one here this week. Very long story.

The owner of the ranch never told me about any form like that, though I will be sure to ask her when she gets back. This has certainly been a learning experience. Hopefully I'll know better how to handle stuff like this in the future.

I'm thinking I made a bad call in not getting the vet to come out, permission or not. I really hope things turn out ok.
 

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Lizard- what we are trying to say is even is you can't get the vet out (and KEEP ON CALLING the owner and, if separate, the horses owner(s)) you CAN and SHOULD still call the vet and ask for advice on the phone. Also, if you know any experienced horse people that could help you out that would be good too.

Don't beat up on yourself just do what you can. In our situation the vet did not need to come out. Even if the vet did come out it may or may not be needed, so just wait and think about needing to get the vet out and what you should be doing in the meantime and in the time to come. For now keep on checking on them frequently, and call the vet.

Pawing and/or scraping
Stretching
Frequent attempts to urinate
Flank watching: turning of the head to watch the stomach and/or hind quarters
Biting/nipping the stomach
Pacing
Repeated flehmen response
Repeated lying down and rising
Rolling
Groaning
Bruxism
Excess salivation
Loss of appetite
Decreased fecal output
Increased pulse rate
Dark mucous membranes
Distress/anxiety/nervous
"unhappy" horse!

Just look for anything that seems odd or if the horse looks stressed.
 

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Well, then it sound's like the liability for this is going to end up in the ranch owner's lap. They're boarding horses, they leave someone who doesn't feel qualified to handle an emergency in charge while they're gone, they don't provide the person with necessary instructions and/or information to be able to notify someone in an emergency and haven't made it clear that if at any time in the worker's opinion a vet's opinion is needed that they have permission to call...........YIKES!

I make sure my house/farm sitter knows where I have my contracts filed, the phone number to the vet hospital is on the refrigerator, I leave the keys to a truck on the kitchen counter, the horse trailer hooked up to a truck and I stock in extra feed for horses, chickens, dogs, cats and I stock the fridge for her. I have yet to leave, even just for a weekend, that she hasn't had to call me because a horse gets a ding almost before I'm out of the driveway. She calls me first, but the 15 min rule applies for her too, if she can't reach me or the owner of the horse in question, she calls the vet and I'm on the hook for it. We discussed all this a long time ago and we discuss it again every time I have her to come out. I never leave any question about what she may or may not do or that I will support her decisions in my absence. It's not fair to her to leave things uncovered.

Think about that and have a talk with your farm owner when they get back.
 

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I have yet to leave, even just for a weekend, that she hasn't had to call me because a horse gets a ding almost before I'm out of the driveway.
I swear, horses KNOW when the farm owner leaves! I've done a lot of horse-sitting and horses that have never so much as a had a booboo give themselves a nice gash, go suddenly lame, colic or otherwise try and kill themselves and then look oh so innocent when you arrive! :-x
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
The yearlings look ok. Both have passed healthy looking manure and are looking quite content. No heat in the hooves. Hopefully things will continue to look up.

Finally got a hold of the horse owner, who thinks calling the vet in would have been overreacting -_-

I guess so far things are turning out as well as the could have given the circumstances. And I've learned several valuable lessons.
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I think you did well, given you had both hands tied from the start. I'm glad you've learned from it too. That's the important thing, learn from whatever happens. You sound like a responsible and caring person, that's the main thing I'm looking for when I hire someone to house/farm sit for me. I can teach other stuff and be just a phone call away but I can't teach responsibility and caring if they don't already have it.
 

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I don't think getting the vet IN was necessary, but better safe than sorry, and yes, if the horses did colic, you would not be overreacting! Since you weren't sure I agree calling in the vet would be best, but to each their own.

Glad things turned out ok and that it was a good learning experience.
 
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