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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Anyone know the potassium levels in Safe Choice? I noticed my foster horse -- who is about 22 -- this evening seems to be getting the start of a cresty looking neck. I had actually been switching her over from Safe Choice to Triple Crown Senior (has minimum of 1.25%). It has been 3 weeks on Monday since I have been switching her over so she is getting 2 qts TCS and 1 qt Safe Choice twice a day also with about a 4 qt container with TC Safe Starch forage twice a day (2% potassium) which she isn't it all of the forgage and I give her hoof supplement and 2ozs of Cool Calories. Then between 7-8 flakes of hay a day no grass.

The girl that owns her that runs the rescue said that maybe the TCS has too much potassium in it and that is causing it maybe. I just started noticing it this evening. I feel that she is probably at a pretty good weight right now. I was thinking about actually cutting back the forage because she is sometimes leaving a lot of it and some days has some hay left over. I don't want her to drop weight for the winter. In the end all of her feed changes really have to go through the rescue owner.

Any suggestions?
 

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Why are you worried about the potassium, HYPP?
I would say she's pretty much overweight, so would definitely cut back on something, not on hay. Hay is needed for warmth. Cut down on all but the hay, and start adding TC 30% supplement , phasing out all other feeds over a couple of weeks. I'd be more concerned about her becoming IR/ laminitic now with the crest neck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I think she was saying that she thought she had read somewhere that Paint horses had something that was genetic with potassium and increased chance to cause crestiness or something like that. She couldn't remember. Do you think I should continue to completely switch over to the Triple Crown and just cut her back? I think she was thinking it was the switch that caused it from Safe Choice. I am feeding the exact same amounts but just was weening from one to the other.

I think the first pic makes her look a bit bigger even though the picture of her neck probably accurately reflects her. I have attached another pic I probably took a week or so ago of her.

I will definitely talk to the owner tomorrow about cutting her feed back. I know she probably won't want to here that and will put it on the switch from the Safe Choice.
 

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The only thing I can think of where potassium is a problem is HYPP, a genetic problem in QH and Paints which carry Impressive blood lines. since she's a rescue, I guess there are no papers for her. To be sure, there is a test for it available. Feed wise, the greatest problem would be alfalfa, which is high in potassium, and HYPP horses shouldn't have that.

On the second pic she doesn't look overweight at all, rather lacking muscle, and topline. Neck is definitely there, a slight crest also. For that I'd keep her low starch/ sugar, so grass hay, free choice, and the TC 3O%, and see from there. The TC 30% is a ration balancer, so she'll get all the nutrients she needs on top of what the hay supplies. The TC senior is a very nice feed, but I'd be very reluctant to give it to my IR horse.... just smells too sweet and is too dark.... it screams "molasses", which my horse can't have.
 

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add a little magnesium to her regular feed. Seems to help with cresty necks. Helps with horses that insulin resistance problems. My two fatties still have cresty necks but they lost the squishy part of it and are less puffy around the eyes. It's kinda hard to explain, something like water weight is what peeled off in a fairly short month. I actually started noticing on the pony in a week.

Aside from that...what deserthorsewoman said.

Protein will build topline a little bit but exercise does the most. The ration balancer should cover the protein by plenty.
 

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When I was gifted with an NH the research began long before he arrived. The feed companies were excellent about answering my questions regarding the potassium levels. I wrote only to those whose feed is available in my area. Both Feed Rite and Purina assured me that senior feed is in the 1% potassium. It cannot be totally eliminated. In feeds, other than sweet feed, about all that's left of the molasses is the sweet taste and little else and is a good binder. Senior feed is balanced for the older horse as it contains beet pulp and extra oils as well as other goodies. Start her on 2 lbs, 2xdaily and be sure she is getting about 20lbs of hay. You need to weigh it, not go by flakes. Also, spread her pellets out as much as you can so she's nibbling at them and not filling her cheeks. A couple of small mesh hay nets spaced well apart will slow down her hay consumption which enables her to better digest what she's eating. Walking back and forth between the nets improves digestion also. She will gain weight on less feed. At 22 it takes much more time to build the topline and it may not happen.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I'm not too worried about her topline because I know that will come with more exercise and work. I haven't noticed any puffiness in her eyes like SueNH said and I remember reading that can occur too. She actually is a pretty slow eater with her grain and dengie and does not bolt it down. She is also pretty good with her hay too. I put her hay in hay bags so she has to work at it which does slow her down too.
I will get a scale soon so I can weigh her hay. I did cut her grain and the dengie back tonight to two quarts (which I believe that TCS weights a tad over 1 pound per quart) of each and made sure she had plenty of hay. Almost daily she has extra hay left over not a whole lot though and in the morning her hay is always gone. I will ask about the TCS and the 30%. Are you guys suggesting that I cut her off the TSC and totally replace it with the 30% instead? I am actually going to consult TC also. I found that NSC listings below:
Triple Crown Senior 11.7%
Triple Crown Complete 20.6%
Triple Crown Low Starch 13.5%

I am going to keep a keen eye on her feed and what is left over and not. Before she was so thin when she came to the rescue but now she is good. The rescue owner did mention that she thought it was weird that when she first came to the rescue and when she starting picking up a bit of weight she thought she was becoming a little bit cresty but then it went away. They actually didn't start feeding her Safe Choice until after her teeth were floated which was several months after she came. She was being feed hay, the low starch dengie and alfalfa cubes (which she really wouldn't eat). I told the rescue owner that I did cut he back this evening and she didn't really say anything. I hope I caught this in time because I am worried about laminitis.

I will also consider Quiessence for the magnesium as well.

Thanks everyone for the suggestions.
 

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Quiessence or Remission is fine.
The TC senior I tried, had whole corn kernels in it and, as I said, was way too black and sweet smelling for being low sugar/ starch. And I knew of two IR horses who had a laminitis attack when on it. So I personally will not risk it with my IR horse. The 30 supplement should be grain free, so is overall safer. Alfalfa cubes are quite hard, I prefer feeding soaked alfalfa pellets when adding alfalfa to a diet.
 

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Your in CT so if you have a Blue Seal dealer near you they can order a bag of Magnesium oxide for you for under $20.
50lb bag will last you forever and you could split it with the rescue. Same ingredient as in Quiessence or remission for a fraction of the cost.

Probably too far south for Poulin feeds but if you do have one around they have a feed they call carb safe that has an NSC of 6.9%. Smells delightfully of fresh alfalfa. They also have a ration balancer and few other feeds that are really low carb.

Pour some warm water on the cubes before you feed them. Doesn't take much or take very long to soften them up.

Senior feeds are a staple at rescues taking in skinnies. I used it with all the thin ones I've taken in too. But I've also cut it back to other things much lower in starch once the weight was mostly on.
 

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There's also a new feed out, called Stabul 1, which is guaranteed below 10% ESC+starch with fixed ingredients. It's being much talked of in the Cushings/ starch group on Yahoo. Available through special order at TSC, and a dealer list is on the site
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
So after talking to the rescue owner I am going to just switch her back to Safe Choice. We were talking tonight about it and she said that before she was on grain at all, she was on the soaked alfalfa cubes and the hydration hay. She said she had starting to get cresty before and thinks it could be the alfalfa. Alfalfa is the first listed ingredient in TC Senior so I am going to just switch her back and see what happens. If it resolves than we will know if it's the alfalfa or not. If it doesn't then I am going to see about getting her tested for IR. I will definitely post and update to see how she is doing.

SueNH, I believe the feed store we use does sell Blue Seal products so I will ask about that.
 

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Potassium levels are a major issue for horses who are grazing green grass all year as most of our horses in NEw Zealand are.
Green growing grass is way higher in potassium than sodium which throws these very important minerals out of whack in the system :) So you do not want to feed any feed that has high levels of potassium in it on top of green grass :)
This includes alfalfa (lucerne) anything with mollases - mollases is very high in potassium and most of the processed horse feeds. You are far better to feed plain feeds such as beet pulp, copra, oaten chaff etc with minerals added than anything processed :) Also plenty of meadow hay and, when they are grazing grass, always remember to add extra salt to each feed - do not rely on salt licks - they just don't get enough. This helps with the sodium/potassium balance ;-)
 

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I second the safe choice special care too. Safe Choice original is pretty high carb.
I actually liked the special care but the only place that carries Nutrena feeds here is tractor supply and the one near me has proven completely unreliable. So I have to truck my butt 30 miles in either direction to get Poulin's feed. Both of those dealers are very good and are rarely out of anything and they do have a couple viable alternatives should the rare out of stock happen.



Be ready for blank or confused looks when you ask for Magnesium Oxide. I think it was in the list of cattle supplements that blue seal sends their dealers. I actually had to call the mill to find it. Once I got the sku #'s I had the local dealer order it in. It was under $20 and with a loading dose of 2 teaspoons and maintenance dose of 1 teaspoon a 50lb bag is going to last me a bit.

I doubt very much the alfalfa has much to do with it. Could be but there are lots of horses out west where grass hay is really expensive and hard to come by that get nothing but alfalfa with no problems. I actually give my 2 fatties a little bit of alfalfa pellets with their meal but I admit it's at a feed rate that mostly just adds interest to an otherwise bland looking diet. Probably does more good for me than them. My walker seems to need a bit more calories than the other 2 older mares. I tried to put her on the same spartan diet the fatties were on and it didn't work so she gets a really low NSC feed mixed with same mix the other 2 get plus a touch of rice bran. I was warned early on to watch her diet because many walkers do go IR later in life and it's easier to prevent it than treat it. The pellets she's getting are more calorie dense purely from more alfalfa in the mix. Has the same overall NSC rating of 6.9%.

You have to read and fiddle with the feed a bit. No way around it. Your girl is not really heavy and she is already getting a noticeable crest. I'd be feeding on the assumption she is IR or some closely related metabolic issue. A 10% NSC rating or lower is what the IR gurus are recommending.

Katy Watts | Articles about Laminitis and sugar in grass
 

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If you can get Triple Crown feeds then why not stick with the Triple Crown Safe Starch Forage and Low Starch pellets?
Its an overall better quality feed and molasses free
The Quiessence also contains chromium which is showing good results in controlling blood sugar levels in horses with IRS problems and I found it works much better than magnesium alone on my IRS mare
Given that the mare has a cresty neck but isn't actually overweight I would be thinking IRS, low thyroid or the start of Cushings - worth a blood test as the latter two can be treated with medication
 
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