If so, mash up a bunch of peppermints (hammer works well) and give him a little grain with the peppermints. Try just a small handfull of grain, not a meal, to start. You want him to be eating the peppermints and getting a little grain in the process.
IF this works, then SLOWLY increase the grain.
I have also been known to hold the bucket for a horse while he is eating. Some of us like to have company with our meals.
Poor guy. It certainly sounds like he needs a full work up. The poster who suggested a tumor might have hit the nail on the head.
If you put 50 children with Down's Syndrome in a room, there's going to be a lot of hugging.
He might not like it, so just get 1 bag to try first -- but not of POT!!! My critters LOVE Chaffhaye. My husband calls it "Crack Hay". And, the way that it is processed causes it to be "predigested" - so a good option for trying to put weight on a sensitive stomach. http://www.chaffhaye.com/
However, it sounds like you definitely need a good veterinary workup to figure out what is going on and to devise a feeding plan. You don't want the horse to get worse / die from refeeding syndrome. But, they may very well need to get nutrients into the horse.
Keep us posted.
Disclaimer: Just a beginner who knows nothing about nothing
when one of my horses went off his feed, the vets at WSU recommended a Panacur Powerpak - one of the side effects is increased appetite. The horse in question was on a regular worming (or deworming if that is your preference) program, the Powerpak was administered with appetite stimulation in mind.
HOWEVER, I would not administer that to your horse without first running it by the vet.
Had an appointment with the vet this afternoon. Got a little more info on what had been done with the lessee. He agreed that a full treatment of GastroGuard would be beneficial, so he started that this evening. We will also started B12 injections. He has had them before, and they really seemed to help his appetite. We also discussed doing a PowerPak on him, but he thinks its best to wait a week or two before hitting him with that. We also discussed starting him on a probiotic, and Hemogen (similar to Red Cell). He didn't feel we needed to run blood work again (it had been done last week, only notable thing was he was anemic...hence the Hemogen.) His teeth are in good order. I mentioned the C word, but he didn't feel that was a concern right now. The horse has definitely been on the upswing in the last few weeks and the vet feels the most important thing is playing the "brain game" with him. Vet feels that he need the individual attention he will get here that was missing at the other barn. Numerous small feedings instead of 2 big ones (he picks at his feed, so its not a concern that he would eat too much at one time, but more that it would increase his appetite because "ya! Its food time again!" instead of "forgetting" he had a bucket of grain in his stall). Hand grazing and light hand walking to help his appetite. We will do another shot of Winstrol when he is due, if needed.
Its a very complicated situation with this horse. He seems to internalize everything. I think we are on the right track with the Ulcer treatment, and working to keep him happy.
Thanks for all the advice thus far. Its really been helpful. He unfortunately isn't a treat kind of guy, we haven't found one he is nuts about yet. He is pretty "meh" about them all. We have a Vet School about 1 1/2 hours away, so that is definitely on the table, we are just worried about trailering him that far right now. The vet here thinks he has some sort of lymphatic disease (I wish I could remember the name....I'll have to text him), that flairs with stress (two of the leg incidences occurred at horse shows), so we are trying to keep the stress level as low as we can. Obviously if his progress plateaus or he gets worse, we will head that way.
I'm sorry if I've missed any details...again, thank you for all the help/advice/jingles!
As someone recently diagnosed w/ anemia & GI problems, I have great sympathy for your horse. I hope he will respond to his equine treatment as well as I have responded to my human treatment. We still haven't found the source of my bleeding, but just by diagnosing & treating the Upper GI esophagitis & gastritis; I feel like a new person. GI problems cause a cascade of other problems, and vitamin deficiencies can contribute to anxiety, depression, lack of appetite, etc.
You might want to use feedxl to analyze your horse's feed plan to make sure all of the vitamins & nutrients needed are being provided.
Jingles for your horse!
Disclaimer: Just a beginner who knows nothing about nothing
I know this might sound totally crazy...but given that stress & anxiety seem to play a big role in this situation, does this horse have a pal? A Bumper Car horse or pony/donkey that he might settle down with? I've got a wound up TB mare who settles right down when her Bumper Car is with her. Otherwise she frets and worries.
At this point, it might be worth a try to give him a pal in his turnout area. I see my horses/ponies comforting one another with mutual grooming, sharing hay piles, etc.
Good luck with this boy. Frustrating to the bipeds when the answers aren't obvious. :-/
Fine I give up, do it your way: heels up, eyes down!!
Banana flavored instant pudding! I was just at a seminar and this was recommended by a equine nutritionist. Tried it with a horse that was off his supplements and he's licking the feed dish now. (Just sprinkled a bit on the top)
Also love the Ultimate Finish.
I can't mock the thread title, because I have asked the same thing, and also discussed getting a synthetic THC drug for my horse.
I went through five or six years of dealing with a horse who would not eat enough to maintain even a moderately decent body weight. I had several threads about it here over the years, trying to find the answer none of my vets could. We tried everything from GastroGard and Equipoise to 'home remedy' things like aloe vera juice and colostrum, chiropractic, multiple dentists. He'd eat half a carrot and stop. You could sometimes keep him eating grain by changing his feed cold turkey every few feedings. For a long time, I expected we'd just find him dead of cancer one morning. I was giving him until October of last year to find an answer, because he was so underweight I was not willing to try to make him go through another winter.
The very last thing my vet suggested trying was Prednisolone. Literally less than 24 hours after the first dose, he was eating like a normal horse. He did a 30 day course of it, gradually diminishing the does, and continued eating like a normal horse for about 4 months. He was starting to leave grain again a month or so ago, so I did four doses, and he's been eating well since then. I've given up finding a real answer, but am relieved to have a band-aid that works for now.
Your case certainly sounds different, but it's another idea for you. I know very well that there is little more frustrating than watching your horse choose to starve to death.
Given the title of your thread, I of course wanted to say "DORITOS!!!"
But I've fed a few like this and it's not funny. What worked for one of our rescues, who, like yours, was down to a 1.5, was very green and leafy third-cut "racetrack" alfalfa, fed in small flakes pretty much around the clock. That's what a lot of the vets advise to avoid "refeeding syndrome," including a recent article earlier this year in COTH.
It's been my experience that you should avoid any kind of supplements in the food for ALL picky eaters--it just gives them one more excuse to be suspicious. If the vet has prescribed various things like B12, make it up in a dose syringe with a little molasses or Karo (not the one with HFCS!) and fire it down the hatch--AFTER he's eaten his din.
Best of luck--those are the kinds of horses that make us talk to ourselves and take up drink!
He is turned out with one of my laid back lesson horses. They get along very well. We usually feed them dinner together, and the idea that someone might "steal" his food is often enough to make him eat his dinner. (Someone is always in the paddock with them, usually holding the grain bucket, he seems to have a hard time putting his head down).
His appetite has been much better over the weekend. We started him on GastroGuard and Vit B12 (injectable). He is eating between 9 and 12 pounds of Nutrena Senior, and (rough guess) about 12-15 pounds of Timothy/Orchard grass hay. He also hand grazes for at least 45 minutes (although he meanders more than eats, which is frustrating!).
I also forgot to mention he is a cribber! We found a collar that doesn't seem to rub, but keeps him from cribbing, so that as been a huge help as well. He is a very strange horse. Even before he was sick (over a year ago when he boarded with me the first time), he didn't seem like a stressed out kind of guy, but he internalizes everything. He seems really laid back...but he isn't. Even our vet mentioned it. "I didn't understand **** at first, but I have a better feel of him now. You don't see horses like this often."
I hope we are on the right track now. I truly appreciate all the advice and continued support/jingles!
Another thing you can try to increase appetite is a couple of cc of Angostura bitters squirted into his mouth 15 mins or so before feed time. I believe it is used as a appetite stimulant in people (and is legal ) and it really worked with my old horse.