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Horse is losing/not gaining weight

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  • Horse is losing/not gaining weight

    My mare is kind of a hard keeper to begin with. We recently moved to another state entirely, and she dropped weight after the move (expected) but started to put it back on a couple of weeks after the move. I gradually increased her grain to double what she was getting in our previous state and she still seems to be loosing weight rather than gaining or maintaining. Work load is the same and she has always been on 24/7 turn out with pasture/hay/round bale (more recently I've started to leave her in at night with a pile of hay to make entirely sure she was getting her ration). I have also added hay cubes/pellets which she is totally finicky about (eats one day, doesn't like the next). Appetite seems fine too as she finishes each meal and can be a monger about getting her grain. Also I am currently in the process of switching her food to triple crown senior 10% fat (she is currently on a 10% though..)

    The vet is scheduled to come out this weekend and I've briefly discussed with him already the possibility of ulcers. I wanted to see if you experts had any other recommendations or maybe supplements that have worked well for your horse(s) for weight gain/maintenance? Thank you!

  • #2
    Ulcers are a possibility although I would think that if they were the case, your horse would not be eating. Horses that have ulcers will often stop eating because their tummy hurts and therefore loose weight.

    Another possibility is worms. I am sure you take good care of mare but if you worm TOO much then worms can become resistant or if you worm too little than their is a build up of them and they eat all the nutrients that your mare should be getting.

    Stress could be another possibility which seems unlikely because you'd probably see other signs.

    Cool Calories is a good product for weight gain as is rice bran pellets which a lot of horses like.

    Comment

    • Original Poster

      #3
      Thanks for the recommendations GGirl-

      She is currently due to be dewormed however she has been on a loose schedule (meaning not being overdosed on dewormer, usually given about 8-10 weeks) and I am using a rotation. Maybe I will have the vet do a fecal when he comes out...

      I should have added in my original post that she was acting fine up until this week.. when I saddled her Monday she was unusually tender around her girth/belly area, even with light brushing. I don't know if that's related or not.. with the weight fluctuations I do need to reevaluate her saddle fit but I'm not sure if the two issues can/would be related?

      Comment


      • #4
        I have a TB who is a hard keeper and I have him on 2 lbs of Buckeye Ultimate Finish 25% fat supplement which helps him hold his weight well. If needed you could feed up to 3 lbs a day. I do not feed him grain as he is ulcer prone and grain tends to make him a little "crazy" anyways .

        I don't do this too much anymore because my gelding has Anhidrosis and I heard that you should not feed beet pulp to a horse with Anhidrosis but I used to feed beet pulp as well and that seemed to help with his weight.

        Alfalfa hay may also help but only a flake or two a day. Good luck!

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Tivas_a_Diva View Post
          when I saddled her Monday she was unusually tender around her girth/belly area, even with light brushing.
          I vote for ulcers.

          Comment


          • #6
            I find a lot of horses come thru the winter looking just fine, and lose in March to April. What I have seen is that they seem to have different times to drop. Some are looking much better by the end of March, others just starting their losing cycle.

            Some have theorized that it is hard on them shedding their coats. This would make sense as they shed at different times.

            I believe this is Nature's intended cycle, as being a bit lighter protects them from the rich spring grass time that is coming. I use the natural weight loss period to help the easy keepers be a bit ribby before the grass makes them really gain.

            The harder keepers, I try to keep them from dropping too much, but that can also be hard as they taste the bits of grass coming up, and begin to not want to eat as much old dried hay.

            Comment

            • Original Poster

              #7
              Thanks for the advice everyone. Vet is coming tomorrow and I will discuss ulcer treatment with him as well as request a fecal. I talked to him briefly over the phone yesterday and he also suggested veggie or corn oil.. I know there have been a lot of love/hate conversations regarding oil here and personally I would prefer a supplement such as the buckeye U.F. or something comparable. Thanks again for your input!

              Comment


              • #8
                Is she needing dental work?? When you lock her up at night what is she doing after she eats her hay? If she is pacing and anxious wanting to be out she is going to expend a lot of energy and of course burn more calories. Just a thought.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Well, first get the obvious health problems ruled out. But I use 5 pounds of Triple Crown Senior and 3.5 pounds of beet pulp for my hard keeper. Once I switched him to TCS, he immediately started gaining weight.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Fairview Horse Center View Post
                    I find a lot of horses come thru the winter looking just fine, and lose in March to April. What I have seen is that they seem to have different times to drop. Some are looking much better by the end of March, others just starting their losing cycle.

                    Some have theorized that it is hard on them shedding their coats. This would make sense as they shed at different times.

                    I believe this is Nature's intended cycle, as being a bit lighter protects them from the rich spring grass time that is coming. I use the natural weight loss period to help the easy keepers be a bit ribby before the grass makes them really gain.

                    The harder keepers, I try to keep them from dropping too much, but that can also be hard as they taste the bits of grass coming up, and begin to not want to eat as much old dried hay.
                    This has always been so true about all my horses! Including my three right now, who are wasting their beautiful hay and nibbling 24/7 on the tiny grass sprouts...!
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                    • #11
                      I think you're on the right track doing a fecal and checking for ulcers. I have known a few horses that had ulcers discovered but still had a great appetite. We suspected that they had ulcers when they would eat TONS but still not gain weight or in general look like they were thriving. Also be sure to have your vet check teeth. Keep us posted!
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                      Comment

                      • Original Poster

                        #12
                        Thanks everyone. Teeth were just done in February. She has always been a feed dropper and I've noticed that she isn't dropping as much since this last float (done by vet this time instead of dentist.. interesting).

                        Switch has been made to TC Senior plus I've added Cool Calories so we'll see how that goes. She doesn't seem upset to be in a stall (no stall walking, etc). Her BFF/pasture mate has been staying in too so I think that helps her relax.

                        Leahandpie- I turned her and her buddy out Saturday evening in a small paddock that has some grass and they did the same thing... WHAT HAY?!? LOL (shaking my head). So back in the stall Sunday evening to gorge on forage.

                        Also Vet had emergency this weekend and couldn't make it so he is coming this week. Will keep you posted. Thanks again for all of your suggestions.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          My hard keeper started to drop weight last week during all the heat. So I fast forwarded into hardkeeper mode to prevent weight from dropping more. The huge temperature drop these past couple of days helps. But I think will stay in hard keeper mode as it will be hot again soon enough.

                          As for the whole shedding/weight drop theory prehaps FHC you could explain this to the other 18 lard butts here. The only fretting for grass they do is with a mouth full of hay! Or the pity seeking cry to have the gate to pasture opened...with a mouth full of feed of course.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I have an OTTB mare who is also a hard keeper. Right now she gets 2.5lbs of beet pulp, 4 cups of rice bran pellets, 5lbs of Strategy Healthy Edge(its a low starch medium fat that keeps her sane and in decent weight), plus alfalfa cubes, and at least four flakes of hay per feeding. And she still lost a bit of weight in the last month or so. But it's probably the increased work and weather changes.
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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by D Taylor View Post
                              As for the whole shedding/weight drop theory prehaps FHC you could explain this to the other 18 lard butts here.
                              From what I have seen, it is also true of the really overweight horses, but most people don't worry, or even notice when a horse that is 200 lbs over weight, becomes 150 or even 100 lbs over a normal weight. They only notice when the top line begins to drop, or they can begin to see a hint of rib.

                              Especially important for safety sake to bring the fat ones into spring/summer a bit ribby. I cut them back on their hay, sometimes even to a flake per day, when they are in at night (Feb-Apr) to get that weight buffer off of them.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by Cameraine View Post
                                I have an OTTB mare who is also a hard keeper. Right now she gets 2.5lbs of beet pulp, 4 cups of rice bran pellets, 5lbs of Strategy Healthy Edge(its a low starch medium fat that keeps her sane and in decent weight), plus alfalfa cubes, and at least four flakes of hay per feeding.
                                I think of Healthy Edge as a food more for easy keepers. I am assuming that the feed listed is also per feeding, twice a day?

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  IMHO, for me, Cool Calories wasn't worth the $ I paid for it - it did NOTHING for a hard-keeper OTTB gelding I had. Another gal at my barn also has a very hard-keeper OTTB gelding, and her horse did nothing on Cool Calories. Not saying it won't work for everyone, but you may need to experiment.

                                  Me, I would also assume ulcers. I used U-gard for my OTTB and he immediately picked up weight.

                                  Good luck!
                                  “Riding a horse is not a gentle hobby, to be picked up and laid down like a game of Solitaire. It is a grand passion.” ~Emerson

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Just want to point out that not *ALL* horses with ulcers will go off feed...some do, some don't. Just like humans, their pain tolerances are much different from one to the next.

                                    I would scope her for ulcers...especially considering that you moved from one state to another recently (and I'm assuming you trailered her = stress) then she could've had preexisting ulcers that were not irritated to the point of her showing outward signs until you trailered her.

                                    My mare had ulcers www.photobucket.com/ulcers and she went a few winters (as in, years) of losing weight in the winter, but not showing any other "obvious" signs of ulcers. It wasn't until this winter that she got to the point of completely going off feed and water. I had her scoped, and well, you can see the results in the link I posted above! It wasn't pretty.
                                    "If you think nobody cares about you, try missing a couple payments..."

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Also, once the ulcers were confirmed, her diet consists of:

                                      2 lbs Alfalfa cubes
                                      2 lbs Triple Crown Senior
                                      NeighLox Supplement

                                      She gets ^^^ at her AM and PM feeding.

                                      She has easily put on her 150 lbs that she lost since being on this diet which started in January.
                                      "If you think nobody cares about you, try missing a couple payments..."

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        I am doing nutrena boost on my hard keeper and it seems to be helping, and probiotics AM and PM (max dose)

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