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40 lbs of salt in 4 days = stocking up?

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  • 40 lbs of salt in 4 days = stocking up?

    Interesting discussion at the barn last night. One of the girls bought her horse a 50 lb salt block on Sunday. As of last night it had 10-15 lbs left. She noticed he was stocked up on Tuesday, which is unusual for him. Yes I know stalled horses stock up from not moving, but since he's been stalled w/out turnout since June I would have expected him to stock up before this if that was the cause. What do y'all think?

    Also, he's been drinking huge amounts of water and then of course peeing as well. I'm so glad he's not in one of the stalls I clean anymore.

  • #2
    I asked this question last year. My gelding got a new salt block and decided it was candy, ate nearly all of it overnight. Next day stocked up in all fours while in his turnout. Vet said it wasnt the salt and thought Lyme, ran tests, all negative. I wrapped him and a day later it was much better and fully resolved in two days. No other symptoms.

    $1000 later I still think it may have been the salt. Heck, if we eat salty foods we feel bloated, right? However, my vet was insistant that salt wouldn't cause limb edema in horses.
    "I am still under the impression there is nothing alive quite so beautiful
    as a thoroughbred horse."

    -JOHN GALSWORTHY

    Comment


    • #3
      Excessive salt intake in humans is well known to cause edema in lower extremities, why wouldn't it be the same for horses? It seems really silly for the vet to disregard such as obvious cause and effect, especially since the salt intake was an anomaly. I honestly don't think I would have called the vet out unless the edema didn't go down in a day or two on its own.
      "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

      • Original Poster

        #4
        At least it makes sense to others. Some of the other more experienced people in the barn didn't think there could be a correlation. But hell, if I'm going to eat salty foods I make sure not to wear rings.

        Comment


        • #5
          I would add a small amount of salt to his feed and keep the block from him. That is strange behavior and I wouldn't doubt that it caused big time fluid retention.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by eqsiu View Post
            At least it makes sense to others. Some of the other more experienced people in the barn didn't think there could be a correlation. But hell, if I'm going to eat salty foods I make sure not to wear rings.
            Really? People can be so dumb sometimes....to me it seems obvious.
            "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


            • #7
              At my house we call it the "sushi hang over" - I will get puffy - face / hands from TOO much sodium. I would think the water retention would cause the same in an horse.

              I agree with PRS, seems like a no brainer.
              APPSOLUTE CHOCKLATE - Photo by Kathy Colman

              Comment


              • #8
                I hope she removed the salt block from the stall! I would agree with others, horse has water retention from eating so much salt.

                I would modify his salt intake, maybe doing small blocks, 4# size. Remove it at the end of a day, if he has been excessively gnawing or licking it so it shows wear.

                If he won't quit with the consumption level on blocks, I would add feed salt, granulated form, to his daily grain. At least a tablespoon daily, see if he lowers his salt block consumption with additional efforts in leaving block in his stall.

                Does horse get sweaty often? He could be using up more than he is getting if he only receives salt in his grain. Mine get one tablespoon of feed salt added to grain daily, along with blocks in stalls that they do use up, but not that fast. We want horses drinking well, and we do sweat them when they get worked. They need a good quantity of salt on a daily basis.

                Will take a few days to get his swelling down, and exercise of some kind should help it happen faster. Glad I am not cleaning his stall either!

                Comment


                • #9
                  Consider getting one of those himalayan salt blocks for that horse. In my experience they are a lot harder and take longer for the horse to go through. They can't bite/lick off big chunks so it should work to slow that guy down.

                  And yes, I concur that lots of salt would probably cause the legs stocking up. Sushi hangover is the perfect way to describe the human occurrence.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    It WAS the himalayan salt block that my guy ate in one night. He managed to eat big chunks of it like candy. Also, the swelling in all fours was all the way up over the knee, not just in the ankles. It looked pretty serious. Vet absolutely doesn't believe to this day that it could have been from the salt. However, I DO think it is likely related, as it went away in two days and hasn't returned. Other option is he ate a bad weed, but what a coincidence.

                    Can someone tell me what kind of "Feed salt" to get? I assumed I could just add some normal table salt, but is there a special kind of "feed salt"?
                    "I am still under the impression there is nothing alive quite so beautiful
                    as a thoroughbred horse."

                    -JOHN GALSWORTHY

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by SaratogaTB View Post

                      Can someone tell me what kind of "Feed salt" to get? I assumed I could just add some normal table salt, but is there a special kind of "feed salt"?
                      I buy loose stock salt at the feed store. A 5 lb. bag is $1.50. I get white, but reddish mineralized salt is also available.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Table salt works fine - I have just one horse so I buy the generic stuff at the grocery store. I already feed a vitamin / mineral supplement, so feeding the “plain” stuff is preferable to the mineral kind.

                        I have the opposite issue – my mare will NOT touch salt blocks – never seen her lick one, I have offered different kinds and they always go unused. So I feed salt instead, more on days which she has sweat a lot, or when it is especially cold to encourage drinking.
                        APPSOLUTE CHOCKLATE - Photo by Kathy Colman

                        Comment

                        • Original Poster

                          #13
                          Yep, no more salt block. Options discussed were adding salt to his grain or giving him a small salt block for a limited time each day. Not sure what she'll settle on. We though perhaps he was eating it for something to do once his hay was finished rather than having an actual salt craving. He eats his manure too so who knows. She was going to see if one of the local stores had lick-its. It would maybe take him longer to demolish and thus keep him occupied. Who knows. His legs returned to normal after the salt block was removed, so I am inclined to believe it was the cause of the stocking up.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Eating his manure....hmmm - he may have a nutritional imbalance of some kind. Not sure how you test for that, but sounds like he is craving something he's not getting in his regular feed regimen.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              if hes eating manure when his hay is gone could he perhaps get more hay? sounds like this horses is hungry or bored or both.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by SaratogaTB View Post
                                It WAS the himalayan salt block that my guy ate in one night. He managed to eat big chunks of it like candy. Also, the swelling in all fours was all the way up over the knee, not just in the ankles. It looked pretty serious. Vet absolutely doesn't believe to this day that it could have been from the salt. However, I DO think it is likely related, as it went away in two days and hasn't returned. Other option is he ate a bad weed, but what a coincidence.

                                Can someone tell me what kind of "Feed salt" to get? I assumed I could just add some normal table salt, but is there a special kind of "feed salt"?
                                We actually use rock salt that other people use to grit their driveways... Get it in 5kg bags, and it's way cheaper than table salt. I'm sure someone might come by and say that's unsafe, but we've been using it for years (it's quite common over here). And I second what's been said - I hope she took the salt block away! That is way way way abnormal behaviour and could actually get pretty dangerous. Salt is a difficult issue - Some don't like the idea of "forcing the salt on the horse" and letting them regulate it themselves instead, but then you get the extreme cases like this one.
                                Equine portraits in oil and pencil at www.facebook.com/ecrklaveness

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  This is why I never feed anything but a white salt block.

                                  What color was it? If it was red or anything other than white, there could be some over dosing of minerals.

                                  Mine lick all year round. None are fed any sweet feed or bagged feed either. They eat hay pellets, and equipride, which is salty not sweet. I also use icecream salt, kosher rock salt, white salt bricks, white salt blocks. When the white blocks get small they go into the feed bins in the barn. If I see a sale on salt, I stock up. White salt only though.

                                  I haven't had a horse have an issue with white salt. I have had one who did overdose on red. He got swollen, itchy, and started to loose his summer coat. IOW he started to get bald in certain places. Removed the red - poof gone after a week or two. Took time for the hair to come in though. A boarder had brought the block in. I gave back to the boarder, I think she tossed it out.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by Canterwell View Post
                                    Eating his manure....hmmm - he may have a nutritional imbalance of some kind. Not sure how you test for that, but sounds like he is craving something he's not getting in his regular feed regimen.
                                    I'm thinking the same thing. Might be some other mineral in that block he is deficient in and trying to catch up. I know there was a sort of free choice loose mineral thing available some time ago - and some people reported their horses hoovering up some minerals initially before they settled into a more normal consumption.

                                    Anyone know whet exactly is in Himalayan salt?

                                    SCFarm
                                    The above post is an opinion, just an opinion. If it were a real live fact it would include supporting links to websites full of people who already agreed with me.

                                    www.southern-cross-farm.com

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Nothing conclusive enough to hang your hat on, but studies suggest that horses do NOT have the ability to self-medicate with free choice minerals, other than sodium.
                                      Click here before you buy.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        It's not the first I've heard of. The last demonstrated remarkable diarrhea. In any case the veterinarian recommended removing the salt block, retrying it in a week or two. If the problem repeated, the salt block was to leave, period.

                                        I suspected boredom in that case. Sand paddock, hay doled out sparingly.
                                        Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.

                                        Remember the horse does all the work, we just sit there and look pretty.

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