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30 YO Toothless Mare

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  • 30 YO Toothless Mare

    I have a 30 year old mare that has no back teeth. She has been doing very well on the following diet:
    Alfalfa Cubes
    Beet Pulp Pellets
    Alfalfa Pellets
    Midsouth Ener-G pellets
    All soaked to mush, fed three times a day.

    The problem is that she now seems to be having trouble with the alfalfa cubes. She seems to clean them up pretty good overnight but she dribbles and leaves a lot of her breakfast and lunch on the floor of her stall (she has a rubber mat). I end up cleaning off her mat and throwing it away when I feed her dinner. She eats the mushiest stuff first and then picks at the alfalfa. I'm concerned that her chewing ability has deteriorated to the point that even the soaked alfalfa is too much for her. Many years ago when I lived in California I remember seeing a very large alfalfa pellet (about the size of my thumb) Does anyone know if they are still being manufactured somewhere? If so where I can get something like that? Who makes it? Suggestions for alternatives to alfalfa cubes are welcome too.
    "My biggest fear is that when I die my husband is going to try to sell all my horses and tack for what I told him they cost."

  • #2
    Have you had her floated recently? My very senior almost ancient pony boarder now gets floated 4 times a year. We just had to pull a very loose tooth that was causing him problems and it looks like another one will have to go the next time.

    I feed him very well soaked TC senior with soaked alfalfa/timothy cubes (the mini cubes) soaked very well, to a consistency of a stew.

    Comment

    • Original Poster

      #3
      Originally posted by LauraKY View Post
      Have you had her floated recently? My very senior almost ancient pony boarder now gets floated 4 times a year. We just had to pull a very loose tooth that was causing him problems and it looks like another one will have to go the next time.

      I feed him very well soaked TC senior with soaked alfalfa/timothy cubes (the mini cubes) soaked very well, to a consistency of a stew.
      Yes she gets her teeth floated regularly....but there really isn't much to float back there. I mean it when I say she is toothless. I had taken her off any commercial feeds that have molassess a couple of years ago so I'm hesitant to put her on TC senior but I have looked at the mini cubes as a possibility.
      "My biggest fear is that when I die my husband is going to try to sell all my horses and tack for what I told him they cost."

      Comment


      • #4
        I just saw this purina product:

        http://horse.purinamills.com/product...2-0029367.aspx

        at a horse expo. The compressed finely chopped hay comes in a dry block. Put it into a bucket of water and it swells and expands as it absorbs the water. The hay is a much finer chop that what is in hay cubs or chopped forage. I had an old pony that got to that stage where most hay cubs or chopped forage was still too coarse for her. I wish I could have used this "hydraton hay" for her back then.

        chicamuxen

        Comment

        • Original Poster

          #5
          Originally posted by chicamuxen1 View Post
          I just saw this purina product:

          http://horse.purinamills.com/product...2-0029367.aspx

          at a horse expo. The compressed finely chopped hay comes in a dry block. Put it into a bucket of water and it swells and expands as it absorbs the water. The hay is a much finer chop that what is in hay cubs or chopped forage. I had an old pony that got to that stage where most hay cubs or chopped forage was still too coarse for her. I wish I could have used this "hydraton hay" for her back then.

          chicamuxen
          Haha! I actually have some of this I bought last week. I've been trying to work up the nerve to actually feed it to her. I'll do it this weekend when I can be home so I can keep an eye on how she does.
          "My biggest fear is that when I die my husband is going to try to sell all my horses and tack for what I told him they cost."

          Comment


          • #6
            Shaklee makes the big alfalfa pellets.
            "Kindness is free" ~ Eurofoal
            ---
            The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances.

            Comment


            • #7
              If the longer forage length in the hay cubes is too much, any of the hay pellets should be fine for her. Almost any feed store will have standard (slightly larger than the diameter of a pencil) alfalfa or grass or some kind of mixed pellets.
              As Peter, Paul, and Mary say, a dragon lives forever.

              Comment


              • #8
                I know someone who had an old toothless horse. They used an office paper cutter to chop the hay into small lengths. The horse thrived on chopped alfalfa. It was time consuming but well worth it.
                As they chopped the hay, they stored it in an empty shavings bag and fed it throughout the day. They did that for many years.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I had to break up and soak (for hours) alfalfa cubes to mix with my old guys feed. He too had no back teeth. I fed him soaked alfalfa cubes, soaked beet pulp and Triple Crown Senior, dressed with one ounce of rice bran oil twice a day. I then fed him soaked alfalfa cubes three additional times a day (whenever the other horses got hay). Kept him in good weight until I lost him at 31. I used a seafood cracker to break the alfalfa cubes up.
                  "I can explain it to you, but I can't understand it for you..."

                  Comment

                  • Original Poster

                    #10
                    I have no problem at all soaking the alfalfa cubes down. I soak them for a minimum of four hours. I just think that the stems in the alfalfa cubes might be too coarse and tough. I do have block of Purina's new hydration hay and have it soaking as I type this. I'm eager to see how well accepted it is and if the finer, less coarse hay will be easier for her to handle.
                    "My biggest fear is that when I die my husband is going to try to sell all my horses and tack for what I told him they cost."

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by PRS View Post
                      I have a 30 year old mare that has no back teeth. She has been doing very well on the following diet:
                      Alfalfa Cubes
                      Beet Pulp Pellets
                      Alfalfa Pellets
                      Midsouth Ener-G pellets
                      All soaked to mush, fed three times a day.

                      The problem is that she now seems to be having trouble with the alfalfa cubes. She seems to clean them up pretty good overnight but she dribbles and leaves a lot of her breakfast and lunch on the floor of her stall (she has a rubber mat). I end up cleaning off her mat and throwing it away when I feed her dinner. She eats the mushiest stuff first and then picks at the alfalfa. I'm concerned that her chewing ability has deteriorated to the point that even the soaked alfalfa is too much for her. Many years ago when I lived in California I remember seeing a very large alfalfa pellet (about the size of my thumb) Does anyone know if they are still being manufactured somewhere? If so where I can get something like that? Who makes it? Suggestions for alternatives to alfalfa cubes are welcome too.
                      I'm going to get SO much abuse for saying this, but to me there is a point when a horse's body has deteriorated enough that it's no longer worth it. What's her quality of life really like, what with even having trouble eating her food? The back teeth are the essential mechanism of a horse's eating; the fronts are virtually useless for anything else than cutting grass from the ground. How far are we supposed to go to preserve the life of a horse that would be long dead in the wild? The US is a country where it's not OK to end a horse's life before you absolutely have to, so I have no doubt I'm going to get shouted at, but I'm going to put it out there anyway. One day enough is enough - I'm not saying that day is today, but that it should probably start to float gently into the picture.
                      Equine portraits in oil and pencil at www.facebook.com/ecrklaveness

                      Comment

                      • Original Poster

                        #12
                        Originally posted by ecrklaveness View Post
                        I'm going to get SO much abuse for saying this, but to me there is a point when a horse's body has deteriorated enough that it's no longer worth it. What's her quality of life really like, what with even having trouble eating her food? The back teeth are the essential mechanism of a horse's eating; the fronts are virtually useless for anything else than cutting grass from the ground. How far are we supposed to go to preserve the life of a horse that would be long dead in the wild? The US is a country where it's not OK to end a horse's life before you absolutely have to, so I have no doubt I'm going to get shouted at, but I'm going to put it out there anyway. One day enough is enough - I'm not saying that day is today, but that it should probably start to float gently into the picture.
                        Uh...To answer you specific question of how far are we supposed to go....the answer is as far as makes sense to keep the animal comfortable and healthy. If all it takes is a little more money and time, I've got that. This horse has an EXCELLENT quality of life. She has been 100% sound her entire life and except for a brief period last year where I had to figure out a diet that worked better for her she has never had any signigicant health problems. She is in good flesh and she looks forward to her 3 times a day mush. Yes, it becomes a little more challenging to figure out what she CAN eat and how to serve it to her but she IS eating. She is eating so well that she borders on being too fat. Between meals she enjoys 24/7 turnout with stall access and she can crop grass or hay and quid all the hay/grass balls she wants. What's it to YOU if I'm willing to spend the extra time and effort and money to feed her appropriate food? If she was in failing health and uncomfortable, if she was lame and in pain I could see your point but she isn't. She is healthy and happy. Should she ever become uncomfortable and no longer enjoys her life or if something really bad/expensive to fix happens I do have a plan to euth her. Until then I believe that since she has spent her life working for me and my family she deserves as gentle a retirement as I can give her. I'm sorry for your horses if you aren't willing to go the extra mile for them....once we take them out of the wild we take responsibility for their life, health and happiness. To me that responsibility is a lifelong committment and doesn't end just because it gets a little more challenging or the mare gets a little older and can't contribute as much to my entertainment.
                        Last edited by PRS; Jan. 28, 2013, 10:30 AM.
                        "My biggest fear is that when I die my husband is going to try to sell all my horses and tack for what I told him they cost."

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Well said, PRS. As the owner of a very ancient (35+) toothless pony, I'm willing to do what it takes to feed him, as long as he's happy. He's eager for his meals, enjoys snoozing in the sun, and doesn't go off on his own to mope. He's sound and bright-eyed. Not at all ready to cross the bridge.

                          I break up the alfalfa/timothy cubes before I soak them for 12 hrs. He also gets fat-and-fibre pellets, flax meal, vegetable oil, and gamma oryzanol.
                          My Equestrian Art Photography page

                          Comment

                          • Original Poster

                            #14
                            I did try the Purina Hydration hay last night. She ate it up just fine. I will have to play with the quantities of the other feed she is getting since she didn't clean it all up (she's fat anyhow so reducing her feed won't be a bad thing). I'll give her more this evening and we'll go from there. If she seems to really like it then I'll have to see if my local feed store will start carrying it now or look into other fine chopped forage options.
                            "My biggest fear is that when I die my husband is going to try to sell all my horses and tack for what I told him they cost."

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by PRS View Post
                              Uh...To answer you specific question of how far are we supposed to go....the answer is as far as makes sense to keep the animal comfortable and healthy. If all it takes is a little more money and time, I've got that. This horse has an EXCELLENT quality of life. She has been 100% sound her entire life and except for a brief period last year where I had to figure out a diet that worked better for her she has never had any signigicant health problems. She is in good flesh and she looks forward to her 3 times a day mush. Yes, it becomes a little more challenging to figure out what she CAN eat and how to serve it to her but she IS eating. She is eating so well that she borders on being too fat. Between meals she enjoys 24/7 turnout with stall access and she can crop grass or hay and quid all the hay/grass balls she wants. What's it to YOU if I'm willing to spend the extra time and effort and money to feed her appropriate food? If she was in failing health and uncomfortable, if she was lame and in pain I could see your point but she isn't. She is healthy and happy. Should she ever become uncomfortable and no longer enjoys her life or if something really bad/expensive to fix happens I do have a plan to euth her. Until then I believe that since she has spent her life working for me and my family she deserves as gentle a retirement as I can give her. I'm sorry for your horses if you aren't willing to go the extra mile for them....once we take them out of the wild we take responsibility for their life, health and happiness. To me that responsibility is a lifelong committment and doesn't end just because it gets a little more challenging or the mare gets a little older and can't contribute as much to my entertainment.
                              Standing ovation!!! Clapping wildly
                              You know why cowboys don't like Appaloosas?" - Answer: Because to train a horse, you have to be smarter than it is.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by PRS View Post
                                Uh...To answer you specific question of how far are we supposed to go....the answer is as far as makes sense to keep the animal comfortable and healthy. If all it takes is a little more money and time, I've got that. This horse has an EXCELLENT quality of life. She has been 100% sound her entire life and except for a brief period last year where I had to figure out a diet that worked better for her she has never had any signigicant health problems. She is in good flesh and she looks forward to her 3 times a day mush. Yes, it becomes a little more challenging to figure out what she CAN eat and how to serve it to her but she IS eating. She is eating so well that she borders on being too fat. Between meals she enjoys 24/7 turnout with stall access and she can crop grass or hay and quid all the hay/grass balls she wants. What's it to YOU if I'm willing to spend the extra time and effort and money to feed her appropriate food? If she was in failing health and uncomfortable, if she was lame and in pain I could see your point but she isn't. She is healthy and happy. Should she ever become uncomfortable and no longer enjoys her life or if something really bad/expensive to fix happens I do have a plan to euth her. Until then I believe that since she has spent her life working for me and my family she deserves as gentle a retirement as I can give her. I'm sorry for your horses if you aren't willing to go the extra mile for them....once we take them out of the wild we take responsibility for their life, health and happiness. To me that responsibility is a lifelong committment and doesn't end just because it gets a little more challenging or the mare gets a little older and can't contribute as much to my entertainment.
                                It makes me smile to read this. As the owner of a 21 yr old, I can say I would do anything/everything in my power to keep him happy and healthy. The old ones teach you the most, on the ground and in the saddle.
                                come what may

                                Rest in peace great mare, 1987-2013

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by ecrklaveness View Post
                                  I'm going to get SO much abuse for saying this, but to me there is a point when a horse's body has deteriorated enough that it's no longer worth it. What's her quality of life really like, what with even having trouble eating her food? The back teeth are the essential mechanism of a horse's eating; the fronts are virtually useless for anything else than cutting grass from the ground. How far are we supposed to go to preserve the life of a horse that would be long dead in the wild? The US is a country where it's not OK to end a horse's life before you absolutely have to, so I have no doubt I'm going to get shouted at, but I'm going to put it out there anyway. One day enough is enough - I'm not saying that day is today, but that it should probably start to float gently into the picture.

                                  As with most of our older animals they make it pretty clear when the end is near and it is time to give it up. This horse looks forward to her food and sounds like she has a zest for life still, so it is just finding a feed that is easier for her to eat.

                                  PRS-- Is there no complete senior feed that she can eat soaked? Was she not tolerating the molasses well? Or was it just your preference to get away from commercial feeds? I know a friend of mine had rescued a number of " over 30" equines and fed them soaked senior feeds for years. They couldn't chew either but did real well on the soaked complete feeds.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by SAcres View Post
                                    It makes me smile to read this. As the owner of a 21 yr old, I can say I would do anything/everything in my power to keep him happy and healthy. The old ones teach you the most, on the ground and in the saddle.
                                    Me as well.
                                    Nothing with horses is ever easy or cheap. And if it is, you're doing it wrong. They always rip out part of your soul when they leave. I guess that's how they find us later.

                                    Comment

                                    • Original Poster

                                      #19
                                      Originally posted by candyappy View Post
                                      As with most of our older animals they make it pretty clear when the end is near and it is time to give it up. This horse looks forward to her food and sounds like she has a zest for life still, so it is just finding a feed that is easier for her to eat.

                                      PRS-- Is there no complete senior feed that she can eat soaked? Was she not tolerating the molasses well? Or was it just your preference to get away from commercial feeds? I know a friend of mine had rescued a number of " over 30" equines and fed them soaked senior feeds for years. They couldn't chew either but did real well on the soaked complete feeds.
                                      I've taken all my horses off of molasses and won't feed it in any quantity again. This mare started having issues that looked a lot like insulin resistance but they went away when I took molasses off the table and started feeding her three times a day. Couple that with reading article, after article describing why molasses isn't good for horses and that it has little if any nutritional value I refuse to feed it. I'm not a nutritionist myself but my gut tells me that the proliferation of molasses in nearly all commercial feeds "could" be a large part of why there are so many IR horses out there. I'd really like to see it studied further by someone way smarter than me to see if there is a cause and effect thing going but since most horse nutrition studies are paid for by feed companies I don't see that happening. So, all I've got to go by is my gut and a few obscure articles. Surely there is a way to feed an aged toothless mare without feeding a "complete" feed with molasses?
                                      "My biggest fear is that when I die my husband is going to try to sell all my horses and tack for what I told him they cost."

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Any feed store ought to be able to get

                                        Tribute makes a couple of complete feeds that can be fed when forage cannot be. I really like their feeds. My 20something mare does really well on their Kalm Ultra. She's not toothless, still does fine with hay and is still in work as a lesson horse so she gets the high fat (and I add their fat supplement, K Finish, in the winter), but I'll switch her to, I believe its called the 'Maturity' line, when eating hay becomes an issue.

                                        Comment

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