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Horse on stall rest doesn't want to eat, ideas?

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    Horse on stall rest doesn't want to eat, ideas?

    My OTTB cut his leg and the vet put him on stall rest, he's been inside since Sunday the 23rd. At first he was doing ok, he had lived outside for 14 yrs, and seemed to figure out that the stall was kind of cool. Lots of hay and grain, barely have to move to get it. The past couple of days he doesn't seem as interested, I called the vet she didn't seem too concerned, had me take his temp which is in the normal range. He is pooping without straining, the poop is a bit dry, but not overly so.

    I've tried him on timothy, orchard grass, grain with cookies, hot mash, nothing seems to tempt him.

    I think part of his problem is that he always gets a little down during the winter, he acts like Eeyore "Woe, is me", I swear he has SAD! Since he is in the stall he doesn't get much daylight, there is really no where else to put him. The vet said not to walk him.

    Does anyone have any suggestions? Is there a supplement I can give him, a med I should ask for? I am going to talk to the vet about an appetite stimulant.

    Thanx in advance, sorry it's kind of long

    I reject your reality, and substitute my own- Adam Savage

    R.I.P Ron Smith, you'll be greatly missed

    I would give him Gastroguard. All the changes probably stressed him out and he may have an ulcer. Horses get them soooo fast. My sisters mare came home from the Vet Hospital(had an impaction colic) and was depressed, not her usual self 2 weeks later. No fever, just dull and not really interested in her food. Gastroguard was the anwser.


      Does he respond to your attention, being groomed,etc.? Is he still interested in treats? Maybe you could hand feed him just get him started.


        Try mixing some alfalfa in his hay, or wetting down some alfalfa cubes. Some company might help.
        ... _. ._ .._. .._


          If a cut is big/bad enough to warrant stall rest, I would think he's on antibiotics. If so, that can take away an appetite in a hurry. I would be syringing in a good probiotic as far apart from the antibiotics as you can (still assuming antib's are here).

          and yes, if he's not even eating hay, I would be asking about an appetite stimulant
          The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET


            He is still interested in me, and will take a treat from my hand, but sort of crunches it and doesn't really eat it. He will eat grain from my hand, but that doesn't make him want to eat from his bucket.

            He has company at night, his "sister" is in the adjoining stall, and one of his old pasture mates is in a paddock that he can see. The same pasture mate is brought by each night to say high, and I have been bringing up his mini "brother" that he shares a field with.

            He is nibbling on his hay, he seems to prefer the OG that I bring in from the round bale in his field. I am going to pick up some alfalfa today

            I had thought about an ulcer, but my BO said that they don't get them that quick, maybe I should follow my own instincts.

            He is on antibiotics, I'll pick up some probiotics today as well.

            My biggest concern right now is him colicing because he doesn't want to eat.


            I reject your reality, and substitute my own- Adam Savage

            R.I.P Ron Smith, you'll be greatly missed


              Originally posted by Sunnydixie View Post
              Does he respond to your attention, being groomed,etc.? Is he still interested in treats? Maybe you could hand feed him just get him started.
              I agree with the above, especially if he likes your attention. A long time ago when I boarded, my mare was injured and not happy/satisfied with being in all the time (epic 9 month layup). I would show up at the barn at the end of each day, and groom her head to toe (hoof) daily. She loved these visits, it became like a bed time tuck in for her, and she ended each day happy and satisfied that she got attention and felt less bored or satisfied/useful, something like that. She would wait to see my car pull up in the parking lot looking forward to her spa treatment, then return to her stall, picked clean, and hay and treats inside. She was only 3 at the time, so I had to try anything to keep us both from going nuts.

              We would also hang her hay in either a hay net or hay bag (whatever you are comfortable with safety-wise) in different places in her stall and she would perk up like it was a whole new challenge for the day.

              That and maybe a mirror for your horse... Something to look at for company?

              ETA: agreed with adding probiotics asap, and sounds like you will follow your gut instincts and get him what will help him to deal with this.
              The Farm:


                I would also agree with all the posts stated above. The grooming is a great time to spend with him and you can even incorporate some massage stuff while you are at it. Give you something new to work with and will most likely help him relax as well. I purchased a stall ball/lick and my guy really liked that it seemed to keep him very occupied. I also gave him a hay net. Depending on how he is you may be able to even give him a jolly ball and let him play with that. I rotated the "toys" for my guy and that seemed to keep him happy.
                "Ask often, demand little, reward generously"
                " Every horse has a chocolate side"


                  I'd try some alfalfa. That's rough. We had one go off his feed last winter, but he was really sick (looked like PHF, but wasn't). He did eat hay, though.

                  I might try the GastroGard along with probiotic. Just make sure you give the probiotic at least two hours after the antibiotic for it to do any good.
                  Off Topic Discussion about Life, Interests & Politics


                    Can I get GastroGuard at the tack store, or do I need to get it from the vet?

                    I have noticed that he seems more interested in eating if I sit with him in his stall.

                    9 MONTHS?????? I'm praying he can start getting out in a few weeks! At least a bit of hand walking.

                    I reject your reality, and substitute my own- Adam Savage

                    R.I.P Ron Smith, you'll be greatly missed


                      Horses can get depressed fairly quickly when all of a sudden they are in a box after being used to being outside 24/7 or in work. If you cannot hand walk, then I would suggest sitting with your horse as often as you can. Get a good book and read it ... and discuss it with your horses or anything to entertain them.

                      Classical music channel on a radio at all times

                      Agree with a lot of what has already been suggested, especially grooming, etc..


                        Originally posted by ladybugred View Post
                        9 MONTHS?????? I'm praying he can start getting out in a few weeks! At least a bit of hand walking.

                        She was allowed to handwalk by that time, but I did not want to bore you with details. She was young and so fresh by the time we were allowed to handwalk it was a real adventure. And no, she does not tranq well. We made it though, and you and your horse will too!
                        The Farm:


                          I have one (8 Year old OTTB, eventing fit) coming home from the hospital this week, looking at a month of stall rest. I say YES, they most certainly CAN get ulcers 'that quick'...I started mine on Ulcergard (no Rx needed, same exact med as Gastrogard, which does need an Rx) before he went to the hospital.

                          If I were you, I'd quit fussing over what you can dream up to make him eat. Get him on the UG fast, a full tube/day, get him on the Pro-Bi fast, also. Then, I'd just give him one flake of his usual hay at a time. When that is cleaned up, give him another. Don't even bother with grain for a while. He won't die of starvation. The more you fuss over menu changes, the crazier you'll become...ask me how I know!?

                          The next thing to do is to start some clicker training with him. My guess is he'll love it. You can buy a book or find info on line. Fun for you both, helps him focus on something other than his own 'poor me' self. Then he'll have some fun tricks under his belt when he's done. Chances are good he's also painfully lonely. Can anyone stay in the barn with him? I just brought home a Mini to keep my horse company bc my other 2 TBs will not be happy staying indoors for a month! Better he's blue that the opposite-mine is a little bucker and flings himself around his room...took down the whole ceiling one time he was supposed to be 'resting'. That's when I started the clicker and life returned to a semblance of normal. Safe, anyhow. Good luck to you. AND to me!! I think my guy comes home Wednesday...
                          Proud and achy member of the Eventing Grannies clique.


                            He only needs 1/4 tube of UGard as a preventative, not the full tube. And you DO need to talk to your vet about it. If he's on an antibiotic, the UlcerGard/GastroGard can interact with it...
                            Off Topic Discussion about Life, Interests & Politics


                              If he's on stall rest, he may not need the grain, but keep the hay in front of him for his tummy.


                                Does he have salt in his stall? That will make him want to drink more, as will giving him alfalfa. Gastroguard is a great idea.
                                "The mighty oak is a nut who stood its ground"

                                "'ll never win Olympic gold by shaking a carrot stick at a warmblood..." see u at x


                                  He may not need "grain" while on stall rest, due to a calorie issue, but especially when the body is stressed while trying to heal an injury, never compromise proper nutrition for the sake of reducing calories.

                                  Much better to feed a lower calorie grain/"grain" option like 3lb of TC Lite, or 1lb of TC 30 ration balancer, and reduce his hay intake a bit by using nets/hay pillows/hay bags, than to feed loose, free choice hay but eliminate grain/"grain" because it's too many calories.
                                  The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET


                                    I picked up the probios and gave him some, he has definitely bucked up. Still doesn't want grain, but he is eating his hay pretty happily again, and I've started him on alfalfa which he seems to really like.

                                    I'm going to wait on the UG, he has a vet appt this week so I will discuss it with her.

                                    Thanx everyone

                                    I reject your reality, and substitute my own- Adam Savage

                                    R.I.P Ron Smith, you'll be greatly missed


                                      You might want to feed Pennfield's "Cool'N'Lite". I found it to be a higher quality feed than TC Lite. The TC stuff is very hard pellets - not very appetizing actually, .. where the Pennfield is actually Rolled Barley, Beet Plup and a Ration Balancer ... more or less. It also has a little bit of molasses flakes for palletablity.

                                      Very low key, good vitamin/mineral percentage and very tasty (at least that is what my pony seems to think).


                                        Can you take him out of the stall to eat? Maybe you can groom him while he eats and that will give him a change of scenery to eat.. not walk him him feed him in the isle or something like that? Maybe let him eat half his dinner out of the stall and leave the rest in his stall...

                                        I am glad that the probiotics helped- that is what I was going to suggest. I have had a lot of success with it.

                                        How long does he have to be in the stall w/o any walking? Can you take him out to graze?

                                        Good Luck! Keep us posted!

                                        Henry (House of Fortuny) 7 yr old OTTB