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Caring for a stunted & thin youngster?

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  • Caring for a stunted & thin youngster?

    I just bought a very cute 2 year old quarter horse filly. She is in bad shape. She was apparently starved as a baby, and is 12hh on a good day. Her current owner doesn't seem to have helped much in her situation. She's around a 3 on the Henneke scale. Super-skinny neck, prominent tailhead, spine sticking up, I'd assume you can see ribs if she wasn't a hairy yak right now.

    I'm going to assume she hasn't received much care at all. There was hay on the property, but how much and how often it was being fed is anyone's guess. Otherwise she had no other food sources as her environment was a small mud lot with 3 other horses.

    This will be my first rehab project. She is not sickly looking at least (clear eyes, dry nose, no rainrot, etc), and not completely emaciated. But absolutely thinner than she needs to be, and tiny for her age. I will be working with a vet, but I'd love to get some suggestions from the wisdom of COTH. Right now she is waiting for the vet to come and do vaccinations and coggins before she moves to my boarding barn.

    Any suggestions on feeding, exercise, deworming, etc, would be much appreciated! Cannot wait to see this little girl improve and bloom.
    Tell a Gelding. Ask a Stallion. Discuss it with a Mare... Pray if it's a Pony!

  • #2
    Top quality hay (50% alfalfa), as much as she'll eat. Talk to your vet about a good worming program and a fecal and go from there. I really like TC Senior to put weight on, but do it slowly if the hay doesn't help. Either a good vitamin/mineral supplement or a ration balancer too.

    Are you sure she's not a quarter pony?

    Comment

    • Original Poster

      #3
      Originally posted by LauraKY View Post
      Top quality hay (50% alfalfa), as much as she'll eat. Talk to your vet about a good worming program and a fecal and go from there. I really like TC Senior to put weight on, but do it slowly if the hay doesn't help. Either a good vitamin/mineral supplement or a ration balancer too.

      Are you sure she's not a quarter pony?
      The hay I will definitely have covered! I thought about also offering soaked hay cubes. What about adding a weight building supplement, or oil? Or would it be too soon to add that yet? I don't want to shock her system. I'll definitely be putting her on a vit/min supplement, and she'll have access to a mineral block as well.

      I'm quite certain she's not a quarter pony, just quite stunted. Both her parents are horse-sized and registered with the AQHA.
      Tell a Gelding. Ask a Stallion. Discuss it with a Mare... Pray if it's a Pony!

      Comment


      • #4
        We recently bought a young horse that was way to thin. We started him on Beet pulp, alfalfa pellets, and a senior feed. Soaked. We started him slowly of course. We have built up to (after soaking) a 2 gallon pail. He is already looking much better. It has been very cold here and it gives him a warm supper in his belly. He has hay in front of him 24/7. We keep him blanketed so he doesn't have to use calories to keep warm. The beet pulp adds more calories then hay without some of the complications of a lot of grain.

        Comment


        • #5
          Starved horses need to work up to free choice hay first, even 100% alfalfa is fine (and is what is recommended for re-feeding severely starved horses because of easy digestibility and high electrolyte content). Once they're doing that, then start adding concentrates. TC Growth or Sr would be ideal choices. Something high quality, low NSC.

          NO oil - not enough nutrition at this point.
          ______________________________
          The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

          Comment

          • Original Poster

            #6
            Originally posted by My Two Cents View Post
            We recently bought a young horse that was way to thin. We started him on Beet pulp, alfalfa pellets, and a senior feed. Soaked. We started him slowly of course. We have built up to (after soaking) a 2 gallon pail. He is already looking much better. It has been very cold here and it gives him a warm supper in his belly. He has hay in front of him 24/7. We keep him blanketed so he doesn't have to use calories to keep warm. The beet pulp adds more calories then hay without some of the complications of a lot of grain.
            How much did you feed of the mash to start?
            Tell a Gelding. Ask a Stallion. Discuss it with a Mare... Pray if it's a Pony!

            Comment

            • Original Poster

              #7
              Originally posted by JB View Post
              Starved horses need to work up to free choice hay first, even 100% alfalfa is fine (and is what is recommended for re-feeding severely starved horses because of easy digestibility and high electrolyte content). Once they're doing that, then start adding concentrates. TC Growth or Sr would be ideal choices. Something high quality, low NSC.

              NO oil - not enough nutrition at this point.
              My mare is IR and gets Safe Choice Special Care. Would that be an ok option?
              Tell a Gelding. Ask a Stallion. Discuss it with a Mare... Pray if it's a Pony!

              Comment


              • #8
                I don't see why it wouldn't be
                ______________________________
                The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

                Comment


                • #9
                  I would go with free choice of the best hay you can lay hands on. Alfalfa would be great. Slowly add concentrates. I would go with one of the feeds designed for young and growing horses. It does sound as though she was getting some feed, just not enough of it.

                  I would check with your veterinarian regarding a deworming program, and see what I can find out about her vaccination history. You don't want to hit her with a bunch of vaccinations too soon, but horses being horses I would have a concern about Tetanus.

                  Some of these horses do come close to their genetic potential for size, in time.
                  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.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I've been going through something very similar for about 3 weeks now. Horse came back to me about 300lbs underweight. It was horrible. She's been getting free choice O&A that has been very heavy on the A. I started adding small amounts of TC Senior, building up the quantity and frequency of her meals. She's recovering well and it appears her issue was a sheer lack of groceries. She's been wormed as per vet protocol vaccinated and floated.
                    Now if her feet would only recover as quickly as the rest of her seems to be
                    "Sometimes you just have to shut up and color."

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I adopted an older brood mare who was emaciated to the point that my non horsey husband looked at her and shook his head in disgust. Had my vet out asap. I started her on a small amount of Strategy ( as per my vet) along with free choice grass hay. To the grass hay I added alfalfa and increased it to where she was getting mostly alfalfa in the end and probably 4 pounds of Strategy. She did wonderfully and my vet was blown away when he saw her 5 months later ( he told me then he didn't think she would make it at first). You may not be fond of Purina, so any feed like that can be used. I kept things simple and didn't throw too much into her as far as supplements and a lot of different feed stuffs and never had a gut issue or anything.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        The first few days it was literally just a hand full then worked up to two handfuls. Then three. Then we added a sprinkle of alfalfa pellets, then senior grain. By the end of the second week we were using a dog food scoop (2 cup?) for the beet pulp but still just a sprinkle of the other ingrediants. I know, not very scientific but vet approved. We have a grass mix for hay that he has free choice now. He is definately gaining some weight now. It was hard when we started because he really needed weight but didn't want to add to quickly. It's hard to be patient. Vet put him between a one and two. He also commented about keeping him in blankets to keep him using his calories for weight gain instead of burning them keeping warm.

                        Comment

                        • Original Poster

                          #13
                          Thanks for all the input guys, reading it all over carefully!
                          Tell a Gelding. Ask a Stallion. Discuss it with a Mare... Pray if it's a Pony!

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