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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Alright well I have my 19 year old haflinger gelding. Always a bit chunky. Muzzled 24/7 and recently (as per vet instruction) he will be muzzled all year round.

Vet suggested he be put on thyroid meds just cause he's chunky. Oookay. I did that. She never tested his levels or anything.

He's been on them for over a month. At first he was getting 2 cups of beet pulp with the meds plus his other supplements just because I wanted to get water into him. He seemed to still gain weight so I took him off the beet pulp figuring that was my issue to him not loosing weight.

He still looks like he hasn't lost much and he is muzzled 24/7. Vet said to still keep his muzzle on during the winter to limit his hay intake since he's got a round bale and has a bale or two thrown to them 2x a day usually and I cannot limit his hay. She said he's getting too much hay and that's why he isn't loosing.

Just alittle background-
He's out 24/7 365 on 15 acres with 6 other horses unless the weather is crummy. Then he is stalled.

He's fed-
1/2 pd ration balancer
1 tablespoon salt
1 scoop probiotic
2 scoops thyroid meds

He's fed that twice a day. Now, I can't say in seeing any difference in him since being on the meds and thy only thing they're doing is costing me money. I know someone mentioned to me something about having his levels tested but my vet never mentioned that to me. And if the meds aren't working I feel bad keeping him muzzled all winter too.

Where would you go from here? The 2 scoops twice a day of the meds was supposed to be his "loading dose" til he started loosing weight then we would cut him down but I can't see were he's loosing or even if he is.

Anyone have any input ? :)

I will get up to date pics of him tomorrow as well.
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I'm not sure if it works this way with horses, but as a human I have a low thyroid. And it's not something you 'treat to diagnose'. I feel like it could cause it to become over active which could be just as dangerous as under active. I would ask that his levels be checked, and I would ask what the specific level is and do research to establish if it's within normal limits. Don't just let the vet tell you yes or no about whether it's under active. With humans at least, the 'normal limits' range varies a LOT from lab to lab and doctor to doctor.

Just the other night my mother went to the ER (she's also under active) and the doctor said 'oh they're normal'. When she looked at the actual level she was a 6.6, when 0.3-1.3 is normal I believe. (higher number means it's under active) so it was was off.

Sorry I couldn't provide any more relevant information, lol! Maybe try exercising him? Good luck though!
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I would love to wrap my fingers around your vet's juggler vein. You don't arbitrarily give a horse thyroid meds without running tests:-x

Yes it was very wrong to give thryroid meds with beet pulp just so the horse would eat the meds. One of the purposes of beet pulp is to put weight on. That was an internal tug-of-war:-(

If the thyroid meds were pills, powder or liquid (as opposed to granules that will not mix with water), it would have been safer to smash the pills into powder, put the meds in a 10CC syringe and add just a tch of 100% pure apple juice to some water and syringe that down the horse.

If the meds have to be added to the feed pan, straight timothy pellets, an 1/8 teaspoon of cinnamon, and water work pretty good:)

Grazing muzzles are not meant to stay on 24/7. Where do you live that you have so much green grass, the vet thinks your horse needs muzzled 24/7?

Regardless of the time of year, the muzzle can safely come off at dusk (after dark thru your growing season) and go back on during daylight hours. Either that or dry lot the horse part of the time with hay.

My apologies but your vet's approach is not what I would call knowledgeable or ethical; it sounds like an arbitrary-no-nothing statement, pulled out of his/her hat because they aren't familiar with metabolic issues.

Vet's don't spend much time in school on metabolic issues (at least they didn't used to) but that is still no excuse for grabbing at solutions one read about for a few hours in veterinary school without first running some blood tests and giving the horse a thorough physical.

The first vet that diagnosed my now 26 year old, back in 2007, was so far off the mark with his "prescription", my horse might not still be with me, had I listened to him. I spent a lot of tearful hours, researching on this internet, which is partly why I am so P.O.'d that your vet would just arbitrarily decide to put your horse on thyroid meds without running tests.

If it is at all possible, unless this vet is a whole lot better in other areas of treatment, I'd find a new one.

This is a terrific website for folks dealing with metabolic horses. It is free to join; that allows you to research the archives and ask questions, although some off the folks take their "mentoring" a little too seriously and like to play "50 questions" instead of 20.

ECIR Group

I am so sorry to sound so ugly and I know I have left out some useful information. If your vet has not run any tests on your horse, your horse should not be taking drugs for thryroid issues, IMHO.

I have two metabolic horses, one off whom is a real bear to control his insulin, wears a muzzle only in the daytime, and is on prescription herbs instead of chemical meds. To be fair, my horses all come in at night so I am able to control his hay intake.

My current vet also ran several blood tests on him, over a period of many months, before he decided the horse needed to be on something to get the weight off.
 
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All the halflingers I've ever met have been stout, chunky little things. Part of their build. Just how fat is this horse? I'm with walkin, I wouldn't be giving a med without the testing.

You might want to contact a lady that does barefoot trimming in my area. On facebook her page is balanced hoof services. She has a pony with a thyroid problem and controls it with diet.

Personally I'd try more exercise first.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
In summer, he looks amazing. I thought he looked great until the vet told me he needed to loose 100# then.

I am goin to snap a few pics later and post them of him currently. He wore a muzzle all day during the summer and came in at night. Right now he's still got the muzzle on but is out 24/7. The grass is long dead but my vet feels like that's the only way I can limit his hay intake. (He only comes inside for bath weather)
I'm all for listening to my vet but I feel like these meds are not doing a single thing.

Let me just add that he doesn't have any fat pockets but does have a very cresty neck. Pics are coming soon.
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I found Haflingers have a talent off gaining weight when on a diet.... ask me how I know.... we got ours from a pasture he shared with an equally fat Shetland. There was NOTHING edible on this pasture anymore, yet both still were fat. We got him home, put him on restricted hay, no grain, and he kept gaining. I had him stalled at night, to further restrict hay intake, during the day he was with the herd. Then I read about certain types of horses, and people lol, when on diet, save every little bit of energy they get in the form of fat, for bad times. So I started feeding him like the others, even added a handful of oats, and low and behold, he started playing and running around more and losing weight. Just something to think about...

I second the ECIR group, lots and lots of good advice there, and change of vet to evaluate the situation properly before prescribing unnecessary stuff.
Oh, and skinny Haflingers look horrible......
 

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How much exercise does he get? I have never known a remotely thin Haflinger, in fact, I picked up one for a trainer who had to SQUEEZE into my 41" wide trailer slot, and he was ONLY 13.2!!!

Even in training, giving lessons, competeing, he never lost an ounce. Not one. He was fairly fit(driven in combined driving events by a competitive person), and put on muscle, but his back still held about a GALLON of water!

Good Luck, but I am not really sure there is much to be dome, unless he spends all day on a treadmill......

Nancy
 

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Magnesium can help cresty necked horses. I can tell a big difference if my mare is off hers for more than a few days. You can buy plain magnesium oxide in bulk pretty cheap or you can order Quiessence pellets. You might also try restricting the amount of hay by using slow feed nets or other types of slow feeder. They even make nets big enough for round bales, or I've seen instructions for making them from soccer goal nets if you don't want to buy one pre-made. My little mare turns in to a a big fat balloon if she has free access to a round bale. Slow feed nets would be more comfortable than a 24/7 muzzle, too. Then you could leave the muzzle off during the safe hours of the night. Grasses don't produce any sugars from something like midnight to 10 AM. Not sure what exact hours, but I remember it being the early morning.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
The hay/pasture situation I cannot do anything about as I board. If he was put in a smaller field or dry lotted he tends to be a fence buster and gets out.

Here's pictures as promised.

August/Sept (was muzzled all day and stalled at night with hay) [vet said he needed to loose 50-100# here]





Him today. Appologies for bad pictures. He is standing half on a hill so appears butt high. Also, I can feel his ribs fairly easily and you can see them when he moves.



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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Hahha thanks! Yes he's gained weight since then and is still muzzled. He does have a hay belly going right now.
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the last sunny picture... he was too thin. now he is alright. If you( or the vet) want to see a slender horse, get an Arab or aTB, for crying out loud. Split croup and thick neck are breed standard. It's a light draft breed. Keep him working, and if it's only taking him for walks. Much better than making him miserable 24/7
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I thought he looked fine too but she disagreed. Especially in the one summer picture of him facing the fence turned to the side I even thought he was a bit too slender. She said he needed to loose 50-100 and I was like, shocked.

I know now he's a bit fat but I can see an feel his ribs and when he walks you can see the outline of ribs. I am going to stop muzzling him. I thought the vet was a bit crazy when she said he's too fat but you guys just confirmed what i was thinking all along. Ok. Muzzle is coming off and I'm going to keep him on the thyroid meds for now and see how it goes seeing as I have 3 jars of it. -_-
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well if you can see and feel his ribs hes not to fat,dont forget winter woolys make them apear fatter. My two who are on the skinny side look fatter now because of major winter coats.

Run your had over them and ribs and back bones are easly felt just thick hair making them look better. You sure dont want him skinny with winter coming.
 

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I think he looks fine too.
If you think his neck is too cresty try a teaspoon of magnesium in his food.

It's winter. He's going to need calories to stay warm. Eating hay is the fuel for the fire. The winters where you and I live are cold and damp. I would even give him a break from the the muzzle or you are going to wind up with a horse with ulcers.

If you are seeing ribs and feeling ribs it's time for the muzzle to come off. If a TB is eventing fit you see the last rib or two. Halflingers are small drafts. With big round muscles meant for pulling. The rib thing doesn't really apply.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 · (Edited)
Is it beneficial to put him on a magnesium supplement? I know the vet was mildly concerned about his cresty neck which was another reason for trying him on the thyroid meds.
I know I've had my old gelding on the Remission supplement. I heard that is supposed to be good for cresty necked horses, too. Since it has magnesium and chromium.


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Vet needs to test to see if thyroid is a problem or not. You can't just throw it out there without it.

And the blood needs to be checked frequently too, to see where the levels are at.
 

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In general, soil is pretty low in magnesium, so is the hay/ grass grown on it, supplementing for sure won't hurt. Besides, overdosing, if it was the case, will show up in loose stools, which is easily resolved by lowering the dose.
 
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