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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun. 4, 2002
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    Suffolk, VA
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    16,684

    Default Old Horses NOT Eating Hay after Vet Uses Power Floats...Updated!

    We've had a very frustrating time here at our farm the last month. We had a local vet do floats on several horses at our farm using the power tools. It is the first time this particular vet has floated any of my horses...in the past it was others from the same practice. I've never had any issues before.

    Anyway...and it just seems unlikely to be a coincidence...three of the four horses floated quit eating hay or were not able to chew hay immediately post float. Two are older horses with some missing teeth and existing issues and one was a three year old. We thought at first it might be soreness but it's been a month and that seems very unlikely at this point. Two were stalled horses and we picked up on it quickly but one is my older (20) stallion who lives out on pasture with mares. I noticed that he was dropping a bit of weight and while he appeared to be eating, I had not stood there and watched how much he was eating until this past weekend. Poor old guy tries to eat hay but quids and drops it. No wonder he's lost weight. He's on some pasture and does OK with the grass but it's declining in the dryer weather.

    The other old horse we brought in some bagged chopped hay and he's gets beet pulp, alf. pellets and seems to be doing OK but he can barely chew hay either. The three year old just quit eating hay and dropped weight fast. He also got chopped hay. He's since moved to another barn closer to his owner's home and I heard that he is also not eating the hay there and the owner is soaking alf. cubes for him. We had one vet from this practice check the older stalled horse when he first had issues and she could not feel any lose or broken teeth or obvious problems but did point out that if there's a broken root, she would not know by manual exam.

    I can't help but wonder if the vet was overzealous somehow and did damage to these horses' teeth. I know that power tools have the potential to do so if not properly used. The fourth horse he did, a younger stallion, is also ribbier than he was but appears to be eating hay OK. I've contacted a local dentistry specialist (non vet) and we're going to have this person out and see if she can figure something out. This specialist does not use power tools. In 30 years with horses, I've never seen horses get worse after a float but when 75% do, you can't help but wonder can you?

    I have two questions...one...has anyone else had this happen? Did you manage to resolve it?

    Next... I need suggestions for a forage based diet for the my older pastured stallion. He can eat beet pulp and alfalfa pellets OK. He's quidding badly with any hay. I've tried the chopped hay and he's working very hard to eat that even but does better with that than normal hay. I'm fine with a complete diet or pellet if that's what it takes but I don't want sweet feed and a bunch of sugar in the feed...he's of a breed than can become metabolic. I have access to Triple Crown, Southern States, Blue Seal and Purina dealers in my area. This horse did not seem soy sensitive last summer when I had my soy feed issues so I'd not feel necessary to avoid that in total with him. I can feed him several times a day and am doing that now with beet pulp and alf. pellets while we're waiting on the dental professional to come and to see what we can manage to do for him.

    I'm so frustrated with this whole mess. Thanks for any suggestions.
    Last edited by Daydream Believer; Aug. 3, 2009 at 02:27 PM.



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun. 22, 2008
    Location
    Outside Ocala FL - Horse Capital of the World
    Posts
    6,193

    Default

    I would suggest an extruded complete senior feed, and forget about the hay altogether. I have 3 horses that are all on a no-hay diet, due to the fact that one of the 3 can never eat hay again or risk another small intestine impaction that he has had surgery for.

    I feed them all Blue Seal Vintage Senior, 3 meals a day now (since they are also on 24x7 pasture turnout), and it was 5 meals a day in the winter months when the grass was dormant.

    All three horses are in great weight and condition.

    You could also soak the feed to make it easier to chew.
    There are friends and faces that may be forgotten, but there are horses that never will be. - Andy Adams



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec. 19, 2008
    Posts
    510

    Default

    Sounds like there may have been a problem with the floating...

    My oldest mare (32) has no molars at all. The last few years she's maintained her weight real well with help from beet pulp, chopped alfalfa and her grain.



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb. 6, 2000
    Location
    MA
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    12,996

    Default

    Given the timing, multiple horses and age ranges, I'd strongly suspect the floating.

    Were the occulsal surfaces overly smoothed, leaving little ability to grind?
    "It's like a Russian nesting doll of train wrecks."--CaitlinandTheBay

    ...just settin' on the Group W bench.



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan. 10, 2002
    Location
    work work work
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    316

    Default

    I have a similar issue with my 28 YO mare. Don't know if she has bad teeth anyway (I know she's misssing a few....) but she had 2 power floats in the last 4 years. The last year she hasn't really been able to eat hay, quids it, and actually had a short episode of choke
    Also caused diarrhea in the winter, when she had no grass to eat. Here's what worked (so far!)
    She gets Vintage Senior pellets 1 quart, 2 X day, that I wet down a little. Starting in fall I worked up to a dry quart of beet pulp that is soaked really well (i.e., sloppy) as a 3rd meal.
    Since she was able to eat grass in spring, I stopped the beet pulp.
    I must say she kept her weight over last winter really well on this, and no diarrhea to boot. I leave hay in her stall just to keep her occupied, but she doesn't really eat it.
    I always wet the pellets though, when she had the "choke" episode it was after scarfing down her breakfast.

    She's only 14'3 so these amounts are on the low side!



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr. 17, 2006
    Posts
    375

    Default

    I have had young horses go off their hay for a few days after routine floating (not power). Help them out for a couple of days, but don't blame it on the floating. If it persists for more than a few days definitely call the vet and ask them.
    Last edited by SillyMe; Jul. 13, 2009 at 03:56 PM. Reason: because I hate it when people use there/their incorrectly



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb. 5, 2002
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    2,211

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    I have a 27-year-old who doesn't have any matching molars, so no ability to effectively chew hay (though he tries and tries, and is smart enough to spit out the quids rather than trying to swallow them). Beet pulp - 3# dry/24 hours, plus 8# Purina Senior (works for us, maybe there's another brand you'd rather try), 1# roasted soybeans, and some combination of Buckeye Ultimate Finish and/or oil. All this is soaked to a mash and served 4x/day - above quantities are for 24 hours. He doesn't have any extra weight and has had chronically loose manure, I think because of the type of fiber he's getting, but he hasn't choked lately and he looks great, apart from looking more like a polo pony than a show horse (ha!). Alfalfa pellets would be a really good alternative to the high calorie stuff if you have the ability to soak them; he used to get those but now we go for maximum calories per bite because we're limited to 4 meals and have to watch the volume per meal.



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug. 30, 2007
    Location
    Illinois, USA
    Posts
    8,277

    Default

    I would wonder if they're just too sore. Call the vet's office and perhaps have a different vet come out and check them over. Perhaps a bit of bute may help, of it's an issue of being sore from the floating.

    FWIW, my mare's been floated manually with basic tools and powerfloated. She's never been sore from either.
    Tell a Gelding. Ask a Stallion. Discuss it with a Mare... Pray if it's a Pony!



  9. #9
    Join Date
    May. 12, 2009
    Posts
    55

    Default

    I have 2 older ones that don't eat hay anymore. Beetpulp, Equine Senior, and and soaked alphalpha cubes works for us.



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan. 1, 2008
    Location
    SC
    Posts
    422

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    I would call the vet immed. and let him know the problem. If he doesn't think it's a "problem", call another one.

    I had a horrible experience with a vet who went to town on our old guy many years ago. We almost lost him. The power float got too hot and damaged the nerves in several teeth The pain was excruciating, poor old horse stopped eating, lost a dramatic amount of weight.
    We literally had to prepare him soup 3 times a day.

    I know there are power advocates out there but the damage can be devastating in the wrong hands.



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan. 4, 2007
    Location
    TX
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    44,603

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    I got a horse from a bad situation a few months ago.
    He was over 20 and had a terrible mouth.
    I took him to our vets, that had a new vet helping.
    That new vet did power float and was very aggressive, the horse needed it, but maybe not in one session.

    Like your horse, he didn't want to eat much for a week, finally started eating normally again and went from a barely 3 to a 5 in no time.
    I told the vet to go easy next time, that the horse sure had a hard time from the floating and the vet listened and next time was much easier with his floating.

    While the old horse was so tender mouthed, I fixed him some senior pellet mashes and he ate that fine, until he could eat properly again.

    I chalk that to things that happen, that maybe should not have happened, but did and we made arrangements so it would not happen again.

    Talk to your vet about it, they need to know.



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar. 24, 2008
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    1,833

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    I know of an older horse that had a power float and what Ghazzu asks is what happened to him - not enough grinding surface from overdoing the occlusal surfaces. He was not able to grind his food afterwards. Those would be the questions to ask the vet.



  13. #13
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    Apr. 7, 2005
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    With a dog named Rockstar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Bluey View Post
    Talk to your vet about it, they need to know.
    Ditto.



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jul. 24, 2008
    Posts
    8

    Default Dental Problem after float

    I would call the Vet Office, and talk to the senior Vet about your horses issues. They should help resolve this problem, or call in another vet that you can trust for a second a opinion. This is not normal for pain after a few days, for a normal float motorized or not.
    Exposed nerves are no fun.... if that's the case



  15. #15
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    Jun. 4, 2002
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    Suffolk, VA
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by SillyMe View Post
    I have had young horses go off their hay for a few days after routine floating (not power). Help them out for a couple of days, but don't blame it on the floating. If it persists for more than a few days definitely call the vet and ask them.
    It's been a month...I think we're past any minor soreness at this point. We had the vet check one and got a non answer of sorts. Go back and read my earlier post and you'll see that. Thanks!



  16. #16
    Join Date
    Aug. 30, 2007
    Location
    Illinois, USA
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daydream Believer View Post
    It's been a month...I think we're past any minor soreness at this point. We had the vet check one and got a non answer of sorts. Go back and read my earlier post and you'll see that. Thanks!
    Definitely call a vet, preferrably one that isn't affiliated with the vet who did the float.
    Tell a Gelding. Ask a Stallion. Discuss it with a Mare... Pray if it's a Pony!



  17. #17
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    Jun. 4, 2002
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    Suffolk, VA
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    Quote Originally Posted by FatPalomino View Post
    Ditto.
    We had one of the associates check the one horse and was told she could feel nothing in particular wrong. I suspect it will take more than a casual feel to know what is going on. It was the senior vet in the practice who did the floats by the way so I really was not fast to lay any blame. I have a lot of respect for this person's abilities but I've never liked the power tools...but put up with it as this is what they like to use.

    I'm waiting to get the dental specialist scheduled and see if she can help. Until then, I need to get these old horses eating more. I would still love any more suggestions on feeding if anyone has any.

    I just saw the TC dealer to get more chopped forage and they are out of their senior feed. I will go tomorrow and pic up some Blue Seal until we figure out anything better. It may be the beet pulp and alf. pellets and rice bran will be enough....but never having maintained a horse on mush alone and no hay before, this is a bit of a learning experience. The most frustrating thing is that all three of these horses were eating fine before the dental work. This was a sudden change and while it might be purely circumstantial...I just don't know what else to think.



  18. #18
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    Aug. 30, 2007
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    Illinois, USA
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daydream Believer View Post
    We had one of the associates check the one horse and was told she could feel nothing in particular wrong. I suspect it will take more than a casual feel to know what is going on. It was the senior vet in the practice who did the floats by the way so I really was not fast to lay any blame. I have a lot of respect for this person's abilities but I've never liked the power tools...but put up with it as this is what they like to use.

    I'm waiting to get the dental specialist scheduled and see if she can help. Until then, I need to get these old horses eating more. I would still love any more suggestions on feeding if anyone has any.

    I just saw the TC dealer to get more chopped forage and they are out of their senior feed. I will go tomorrow and pic up some Blue Seal until we figure out anything better. It may be the beet pulp and alf. pellets and rice bran will be enough....but never having maintained a horse on mush alone and no hay before, this is a bit of a learning experience. The most frustrating thing is that all three of these horses were eating fine before the dental work. This was a sudden change and while it might be purely circumstantial...I just don't know what else to think.
    Alfalfa pellets, hay stretcher pellets, or ANY complete feed are really going to be your friend. Have you tried even soaking some nice, fine, soft hay in some hot water to soften it a bit? Can they eat grass?
    Tell a Gelding. Ask a Stallion. Discuss it with a Mare... Pray if it's a Pony!



  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jan. 4, 2007
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    TX
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    The mash we made was with Purina Senior, that is the only senior brand here.
    That feed is a complete feed, so if they can't eat much of their hay, it is still ok.
    I would start with some light feedings and be sure it agrees with him, before going to a full feed.
    The mash doesn't need to be watery, just soft enough they can eat it without chewing.



  20. #20
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    Aug. 30, 2007
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    Illinois, USA
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    If you're having trouble finding feed, take a close look at the feeds at your local stores. I was surprised to find 4 or 5 different complete feeds at my modest, local Tractor Supply!
    Tell a Gelding. Ask a Stallion. Discuss it with a Mare... Pray if it's a Pony!



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