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Discussion Starter #1
Hoping the nutrition experts can help......
My Standie has been suffering badly with the midgies and particularly on his belly. He wears a full body fly blanket but they still get in. Today he has a large swelled area on his belly, which I guess is edema? It may be from the insect bites but now I've read that too much protein is hard on their liver/kidneys and can cause edema. Also I cleaned his sheath this ago but didn't find any large blockages.
So the food he is on is biomare pellets which are 15.8% protein, he has 2kg in the morning and 2kg at night. He's a little bit underweight and biomare was recommended to me to fatten him up.
Have I fed him too much? Could that amount be stressing his kidneys? Also its very hot here so would that be a factor?
Obviously if the swelling isn't down by the morning I'll get the vet out.
Cheers
Mazza
 

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Grown horse does not need all that much protein.
I´d take him off the bag feed stuff.
Hay and some rolled oats, a fist full of corn or a squart of corn oil for the Fat, B6, Omega 6 and other goodies not in the oats.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Yep forgot to say he has a cup of canola oil a day, for the fat. I just started that this week so not sure if its working yet.

Amigoboy, do you think that too much protein could be causing the edema? Would rolled oats keep weight on him? And not make him too excitable? And would he still need hay if he's got so much pasture?

He's just not keeping on weight even though I'm stuffing these pellets into him so I'm willing to try something different, I've just gone with what the vet recommended but it's not great.
 

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What kinda horse are we talking about?
What should his optimal weight be?
Yes it is very possible the high protein is causing the problem, you know the body can convert the protein into energy.
Rule of thumb is to keep it simple, with hay and oats there is not much that can go wrong, should something arise like bad belly, exem, tieing up and stuff, take away the oats and see if the horse clears up, if not then you have too check your base feed....the hay.
A lot of people claim "HOT HORSE ON OATS!!"
Myself I have had cold blooded work horses and hot blooded ones, all of them have had the mentality and energy one would of expect from such breeds and as individuals. Grain feeding has NEVER! made them hotter than what they normaly were.

I don´t know how your pasture looks, if it is thick and rich take a week too adapt him by letting him graze ½hr a couple times a day and increase it to 1hr. after a couple of days. Do that for a week, then he should be ok. Give him hay when he is not grazing, that will fill his belly and keep him from gorging on new grass.

Vet´s are a story in themselfes. There are very few Good Horse Vet´s around. Most of them are GP´s for small animals.
 

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My first bet would be that it's from the midges. How thick is the oedema? As in, how deep is it from where his skin should be over his belly, and where it is from the fluid, if that makes sense? Where is it on his belly? We had a horse at work that got a fly bite next to his girth on his belly, and he would reach round and bite it with his teeth, and he ended up with a swelling the size of two hands next to each other, and about a hand's thickness deep. He may be biting or kicking at his belly if it's irritated.

As Amigoboy likes to say - the most simple answer is where you should start. I'm more inclined to say midges than protein - I've never come across that issue in a horse before, but midges? All the time. Get a super strong fly repellent (we used to use one that you had to use gloves to apply). Also, try a slice of Marmite on toast once a day - great for discouraging midges - don't know why, but it works!
 

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A big weepy edema on the belly is caused by insect larva, a dose of ivermectin kills it. As for your feeding plan, keep it simple. Adding all sorts of stuff to a horse's diet makes an owner feel better, and really does not much for the horse. Unless the horse is lacking in some nutrient & doing poorly as confirmed by blood panel work, all a horse needs is forage fiber as in grass or hay, salt and fresh water. If the horse is being worked regularly some protein is required in the form of a high fiber extruded grain. Again, unless your horse has some sort of problem, keep it simple!
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Discussion Starter #8
Yes Indiesaurus its exactly as you describe, a big puffy patch about the size of two hands and about a hands depth. Will definitely try marmite/Vegemite.
I'm sure it is midgies, I just got worried when I read about too much protein causing edema.
Waresbear I'm just trying to keep weight on him, Id love him to live off pasture alone, my TB is fat from pasture alone. SB is in the same paddock but not thriving. Maybe he cant put on weight because the midgies are stressing him. Will definitely give him a dose of ivermectin.
Thanks guys for your advice.
 

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Hay and some rolled oats, a fist full of corn or a squart of corn oil for the Fat, B6, Omega 6 and other goodies not in the oats.
I have to disagree with this, especially the corn. Cereal grains are not well digested by horses and are much too high in sugars/starches. Usually you're trying to offset the high amount of omega-6 found in cereal grains and hard feeds, not add it, as it's a pro-inflammatory, which would be counter productive in cases like OP's. There are MUCH healthier alternatives.

While the protein is higher than is strictly necessary, I don't think it's high enough to cause problems unless the horse has other health problems. Protein quality tends to be more important that protein quantity when evaluating a feed; protein is made up of 20 different amino acids which must be present in the correct combination. If you're short of one (or more) amino acid, then the remainder of the amino acids can't be utilized and are filtered out by the kidneys. This is when it becomes a problem and can be noticed by strong smelling urine. Lysine is usually the limiting amino acid in horses (and is very low in cereal grains, btw), so a quality feed will list the percentage lysine (as well as amino acids methionine and threonine) in addition to just crude protein. You can read more here: PROTEIN AND AMINO ACIDS

I can't give you any recommendations for fortified feeds since I'm not familiar with what's available there, but alfalfa/lucerne and beet pulp are great for putting weight on horses (and alfalfa is a great source of lysine, as well)

The edema is most likely a reaction to the midges. Getting the vet out sounds like the right course of action for the problem.
 

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Oats are the most digestible of all grains, corn is next in line as a good energy source.
We´v now that for 100´s of years and for those who want finger tip science....google nutrition facts in oats and corn.
 

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Oats are the most digestible of all grains, corn is next in line as a good energy source.
We´v now that for 100´s of years and for those who want finger tip science....google nutrition facts in oats and corn.
And now it's actually being recommended not to feed them. Especially corn. Oats are the lesser of the evils, but still not all that good. You should never feed corn to a horse.
 
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While it is possible that the protein is causing it, I would have to go more the insect route. As long as the horse is drinking adequate water, excess protein will not cause a problem.
 

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15.8 is a med protein. 17 + is higher protein. there will be some proteins in the pasture grass and the first sign of excessive protein would be very dark urine.
what are the other percentages in the bagged feed ? fat / roughages etc...
The oil is a good thing, it takes a while to put on weight .
As for the insects, can you put something on him to discourage them ? swat or even vaseline, fly spray .. if they keep biting him, he will keep getting the edema.
he sounds like he needs the extra nutrition, so I would not change feed on him.
feed made for senior horses is good for any horse that needs to add weight. It is easier to digest .
 

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Discussion Starter #14
OK, more details on his pellets.
Digestible energy 14.3Mj/kg
Crude fiber. 3.8%
Crude protein. 15.8%
Crude fat. 3.7%
Salt. 1.4%
Lysine. 7.4g/kg
Methionine. 2.2g/kg

Tried marmite on toast this morning but he spat it out, maybe he wants Vegemite like any good Australian.

Yes Stevenson I spray him with every kind of bug spray I can find. I live in the tropics and the bugs are insane. Just rubbed him canola oil over his belly now, people say that is enough to stop midgies, I think I'm gonna go to a thick coating of Vaseline next.
 

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thats not all that bad of a mix. it should have a few more vitamins etc in there, many are trace amts. If you have a limited choice of feed thats available compare the ingredient tags.
If you can find one with a little more fiber and fat, with the same protein amt that would be great.
 

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Excess protein can cause hard lumps under the skin - these are mostly harmless and more an annoyance as they can occur around the saddle area . Protein is turned into collagen in the subcutaneous layer of the skin ( eosinophilic or nodular collagenolytic granulomas )
The lumps mostly occur around the spinal area - Neck, Wither and back , they are normally smallish ( about 1 - 2 cm across ) and can occur singular or in multiples .

Oats are good - any grain ( corn / wheat / barley ) that absorbs water and swells up should be treated with caution as it can lead to colic
 
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