Weight Loss in Older Horse - Need Suggestions!
My retired guy is about to have his 29th birthday. He's gotten to be a harder keeper as he's gotten older but he came through winter looking good for his age. However, all of the sudden he's starting to drop weight... This is within the last week or two. His hips are looking sunken and his spine is noticeably protruding more than it did just a couple of weeks ago. I'm especially worried because I have to leave for two week for training for my new job and will be two states away. My SO will be caring for him while I'm away and is good about following my directions but lacks the educated eye to see minor things that might indicate a decline in his health. I'm hoping you guys might have some ideas for packing on some pounds so I can get my SO set up with feed before I leave. I'm going to call my vet tomorrow as well but would greatly appreciate any ideas on what to do.
Here's his current routine:
2 - 3 large flakes of hay in morning and evening - enough to keep him in hay all day/night. He never finishes all of his hay.
Grain (I'll have to measure weights again as I can't remember what they weighed out to):
12 cups of soaked Beet Pulp (post soaking amount)
5 cups of Rolled Oats.
5 Cups of Senior Feed - equivalent to Purina Senior.
This week I've started adding 2 Cups Rice Bran (working on upping this - he didn't want to eat it if the ratio of bran to beet pulp & grain was to high).
He has a separate bucket with a Himalayan sea salt block.
I am thinking about adding a calorie supplement (Cool Calories) before I leave. He was on this previously but hasn't been for the last three or four months.
He also has 24 hour access to his pasture. There is grass but it's pretty overgrazed and very short at the moment. He was previously on the dry lot for the winter w/ no access to grass. I've working him onto turnout over the last couple of weeks.
The vet was out for routine shots/floating last month. Teeth are good, still has all of them and nothing was rotten or causing pain. He's had no trouble chewing that I can tell and when she visited she said his weight looked great.
He does have bouts of diarrhea off an on but not for extended periods of time and in checking his stall, paddock, and field he appears to be fine right now.
Farrier is going to be seeing him on Wednesday. He's generally very sound but has been slightly sore on the right front since this past weekend with what I am 99% positive is a stone bruise. I'm doubting these are related but I'm just trying to think of anything different lately.