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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all.. I just rescued this horse from kill buyers. He's an approximate 12 year old, 16.2 Percheron cross. He is REALLY under weight at his topline to the point where you can feel where the ribs stop, and you can see his spine all the way down. He is currently barefoot, and overall besides the weight, seems to be doing okay. He has so far, been wormed, had his teeth done, his feet, and of course his coggins/shots.

I've ordered Smart Gain from Smartpak, as well as other supplements to help boost his health. He will be on turn out with a large round bale to munch on, and daily grain. I also called the vet this morning to have her come out and give me an assessment.

Besides what I'm already doing, is there anything else I can try? Is there anything I should ask the vet? (He came to my barn last night) I know weight doesn't come on over night, and it's a slow process. I just want to get him on the right path to success.

Thanks in advance.
 

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Subbing. He's a sweet looking guy :) How is he settling in so far?
 

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Agree - go easy on the grain and introduce whatever you give him over a gradual period of time
Free choice hay, alfalfa and grass pellets and sugar beet pulp are safe options. Since you'll be feeding dry hay (not soaked) then be sure he's always drinking plenty
Its sometimes cheaper to feed a complete pelleted feed at the recommended amount that's got all the essential vitamins and minerals in it than it is to add supplements like Smartgain - look for the ones that are aimed at horses at risk of IRS and laminitis to be safe
 

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Thanks for the reply. So far, he's settling in well. He hasn't been wanting to eat the hay though. He kinda just pushes it around in other piles. It's great hay. And I checked to make sure it's not old or anything. Hopefully he grasps onto the idea that it's a good thing. He's drinking plenty of water and he has no issues eating the grain we've fed him. I also started soaking some alfalfa and he seems to be okay eating that. Overall, he's doing well. He's a gentle boy. I found out the hard way he really doesn't like his back legs touched. I can only imagine as to why. I got a nice kick on my calf. Lol. We'll work on it slowly.
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Thanks for the reply. So far, he's settling in well. He hasn't been wanting to eat the hay though. He kinda just pushes it around in other piles. It's great hay. And I checked to make sure it's not old or anything. Hopefully he grasps onto the idea that it's a good thing. He's drinking plenty of water and he has no issues eating the grain we've fed him. I also started soaking some alfalfa and he seems to be okay eating that. Overall, he's doing well. He's a gentle boy. I found out the hard way he really doesn't like his back legs touched. I can only imagine as to why. I got a nice kick on my calf. Lol. We'll work on it slowly.
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I've always been told a horse that refuses good hay and doesn't gush over it, is a horse with ulcers. I wouldn't doubt that he has some ulcers with his condition, I would get him scoped if I were you.
 

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I've always been told a horse that refuses good hay and doesn't gush over it, is a horse with ulcers. I wouldn't doubt that he has some ulcers with his condition, I would get him scoped if I were you.
Hmm.. Thank you. I'll let the vet know.
 

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I would do a fecal as you don't know his past "wormed" may not cover it..fecals are cheap anyway.

Probiotic. Agree ask about ulcers.

Have the vet look him over thoroughly and honestly I'd just ask the vet for a feed plan.
 

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They're not good enough pics to be sure(can make out that atrophy along spine), but he doesn't look skinny generally. Can't tell how much he may need, but looking at him overall, I'd be inclined to suspect his back problem was not for lack of 'weight' - that doesn't fit the rest of the picture. Perhaps long term heavy rider/bad saddle, perhaps body issues... etc.

I would not feed grain to a horse without good reason. There are generally healthier, low starch alternatives for putting on condition, and unless he's in heavy work, shouldn't need it generally. A good nutritional supp wouldn't go astray though.
 

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He doesn't look that bad but does look older than 12. Some of the lack of desire to eat is probably from being in a stall. If he's been outside 24/7 up to now, being confined in a stall is stressful and the first thing to go is eating. I would work on getting him outside fulltime with a round bale.
He looks like a nice size for farming.
 

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Drafts tend to lose muscle in that area quickly when not worked. Then if they lose the fat layer it can look worse than it is. You may try a different type of hay first and if he still isn't eating it I agree with a call to the vet. When we moved my drafts from Tx to Al they refused to eat both pasture and hay as they did not like bahia. They were quicker to start on the pasture when they realized that was all they were going to get but there were two we just had to source bermuda for when we fed hay in the winter. Even now years later they will walk away from a bahia bale.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Day 3: Miller is doing well. I was a little uneasy yesterday when I went to the barn because his manure was very liquidy. Today it was back to normal. I was so happy I actually praised him for good looking poop. Lol. Oh the joys of "parenthood". He got a nice bath and grooming today. He seems at ease, and I noticed that he ate most of his hay when he was in his stall last night. He is outside now 24/7 with a big round bale.
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I just realized I called him by his name. So... I named him Miller. Lol. He's been a super gentle giant with a puppy dog personality. With All of the evil he has faced, He is extremely kind
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I somehow missed the bit that he wouldn't eat grass hay & is kept locked up when he's not used to it. I would a)get him out in a paddock 24/7 ASAP and b) feed him grass/hay & not so much alfalfa. Could be the stress or purely the diet change that led to runny poo. & the grain... what kind are you feeding him, how much & how many meals of it daily?
 

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I would get his teeth checked as well. Sometimes a horse who is reluctant to eat hay is a horse with a sore mouth from sharp teeth.
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My sister has a 16 y/o percheron with a back that looks like that through the summer when he's not working. He has a long back, and if he's not shoulder-in and head down, working in harness (which raises the back) he tends to get lazy and Everything drops. He could have been a working horse at one time.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Change -- He was. I found out he used to be an ex Amish horse. He has some scars on both sides of his shoulders from the harnesses. I started lunging him yesterday. Not by much at all, but for about 10 minutes. Mostly walking.. very light trot -- nothing more. He's getting a nice healthy amount of food, so I think he needs to work a little bit to help build his muscle back up. He's a really sweet boy -- He was just in the really wrong hands before.
 

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Just wanted to give an update for whoever wants to know: Miller is doing well. He started eating hay! YAYY! I sounded like a little kid excited for christmas. lol. He's been happily munching on it. Not necessarily going through it fast.. but he's steadily grazing on it. Very happy. We've also started some very light lunging work. I can tell no one has lunged him ever before, so he's learning the concept of staying out on the circle. He's also doing small bursts of trot work, then walk. Just enough to get his muscles working again. I've noticed 2 things which I could really use some help with.

1) He has a VERY large chestnut on his back right leg. By large, it's more than 2 inches long. I'm not a fan of chestnuts and typically keep them nice and short. I have no idea how to go about getting it removed.

2) He has Ergots on all 4 fetlocks. These are to the point of curling so it's like having small pieces of a rams horns on the back of each hoof. He is extremely sensitive with his feet. How can I safely remove these so i don't harm him?

Thanks everyone.
 
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