Looking at pictures of Bearcat's new Craigslist foal got me thinking. I've always heard that the pot-belly is a sign of heavy worm load. When I saw the picture, of course that's what immediately popped into my head.
But what about Kwashiorkor? Does it happen with horses, too? I've never heard of it mentioned with any kind of animal. It seems to be most pronounced on undernourished foals, and really makes more sense that just a worm load.
The pot belly in horses is generally due to either a parasite load, or fiber too high in lignin (indigestible). Panda bears have "pot bellies" because of their diet - very high indigestible fiber, so they eat a LOT of it to get the nutrition they need.
Protein deficiency in horses is usually seen as lack of topline muscling, or poor muscling overall, but I won't say it can't cause that pot-bellied look.
I think there are differences between omnivore/carnivore animals who have a higher to MUCH higher protein requirement, and the herbivore who has a relatively low protein requirement.
______________________________ The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET