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A horse that won't drink and beet pulp

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  • A horse that won't drink and beet pulp

    My old show horse came home to retire with me last Friday night. She's in great health and you can tell her previous owners took amazing care of her

    The issue is that she just won't drink. They said she was like that when they got her and they had to bring water from home with them when they showed her. I never had these issues with her when I was showing her 10 years ago. They had her on a textured pellet, alfalfa pellet, and beet pulp diet, but since she hasn't been drinking I have upped the shredded beet pulp since it is soaked in water.

    We're calling the vet today to see if he thinks we should bring her in for an IV because she's had maybe half a bucket of water since she got here, but I'm wondering for ongoing maitenance how much beet pulp to feed her in one feeding. Our idea is to do 6 qts of our custom pellet for her morning feeding with her senior supplements and then straight beet pulp at night since we cannot combine the two because our pellet will disolve in water. I bought a smaller 3 qt scoop and am wonding how much dry shredded beet pulp I should feed at night (assuming we get her on the desired schedule soon because we're still mixing the food she came with).

    TIA, this horse is extremely important to me

  • #2
    Are her gums wet? Does the skin on her neck snap back when you pull a little bit of it out into a tent? I would add some beet pulp or whichever of the pellets you think she likes best to one of her water buckets
    McDowell Racing Stables

    Home Away From Home


    • Original Poster

      That's a great idea! She's getting pretty dehydrated. Gums are getting pale the the skin isn't snapping right back. It's not dire, but it isn't good. DH is calling the vet this morning and I'm pretty sure she'll end up going to the clinic for some fluids. I just don't know how to get her drinking... She's got fresh clean buckets and we're on well water.


      • #4
        Two thoughts that I've seen on this board before.

        1. Yummy water. Try offering her water with purple Gatorade in it. Maybe start by just offering a little Gatorade and then seeing how much you can dilute it. Other people use molasses.

        2. Wet, wet food. Add as much water as possible to her beet pulp. If she's eating it, add more water.
        Disclaimer: My mom told me that people might look at my name and think I had an addiction other than horses. I don't; his name was Bravado.


        • #5
          I know my ponies LOVE their soaked alfalfa cubes, maybe grab a bag of them and see if she hoovers them like mine do? Keep it nice and soupy along with your soaked beet pulp. Maybe try warming your water up a little too if it's not already?


          • Original Poster

            How much beet pulp do you typically feed if that's all your feeding? I also like the idea of alfalfa cubes. If I add those too what ratio would you use?


            • #7
              Why is it bad that her pellets would get soft if mixed with the beet pulp?


              • #8
                My two are on free choice hay 24x7. They both get about a pound of dry beet pulp and a 2qt scoop of alfalfa cubes dumped in a bucket and soaked in hot water- it makes about 3/4s of a bucket when I'm ready to feed it. Mine get this twice a day along with a handful of flax and a scoop of their vitamin mix. If my horse needed weight/more water, I wouldn't hesitate to double this feeding especially if they had the alone time to eat it up. Lots of senior horses with no teeth live on a soupy mix like this.


                • #9
                  If i use the same bucket to give my guys their feed, I use wheat bran just as a mash because it's not fatting, they learn that bucket. So when I want them to drink I'll use that bucket and they suck it right up. If not on occasion then I'll put a handful of wheat bran in it with half a bucket of water and they will suck it down. Also warm water in the winter they will drink easier then cold.
                  Horses aren't our whole life, but makes our life whole


                  • #10
                    I just talked to a Purina rep about Hydration Hay- they had samples of it at the PA Horse Expo. It would not be a cost-effective, long-term choice, but it might be a helpful option until your vet is able to examine her: http://horse.purinamills.com/product...HAYBLOCKS.aspx

                    Best of luck with her.
                    Sarah K. Andrew | Twitter | Instagram | Flickr | Calendar


                    • #11
                      When I have a horse that won't drink, I use electrolytes in their feed if they are not already dehydrated. This keeps them drinking. Whenever I haul my horse, I take about 20 gallons of his water cause he won't drink at other places. I also carry a tube of paste electrolytes when I'm on the road. I use about 1/2 of a scoop every few days to keep them drinking in the Winter also. Where I live we have severe weather changes.


                      • #12
                        There is a product, called Quencher I think, that my friend used to get her picky horse drinking. They love the flavor and if it worked on him, I bet it will work on any horse. I've added salt to a bucket on advice from my vet to get one of mine drinking more. Whenever adding anything, I always offer a bucket of plain water in addition to the doctored one.


                        • #13
                          1) Warm her water. It may be too cold, especially as it's well water, and irritating her stomach. You can either haul warm water, or buy a heater bucket (which I use for my "princess).
                          2) Soak her hay, It gets extra water into her system. Again, use warm water to really encourage her. Plus, warmed hay smells wonderful
                          3) be careful to not add too many electrolytes to a dehydrated horse- could cause stomach irritation and result in less eating and drinking
                          4) make any food as sloppy as possible
                          5) If it's the smell/taste of your water, add flavouring (like Gatorade as mentioned or even apple juice) to disguise the smell/taste. Slowly decrease the concentration as she shows an inclination to drink.
                          GOOD LUCK!!!


                          • #14
                            Horse Quencher definitely worth a try:
                            Really wet the bp and you can always add electrolytes to them...I also like to use Foxden Equines Tractguard daily

                            ....and I always keep oral electrolyte paste syringes in my feed room to give them a boost when needed ....Hydration hay by Purina might be another great option to try getting her back on track...;or anything soaked really for that matter....I really like Fibrebeet....



                            • Original Poster

                              The vet actually showed up at the farm this morning for a boarder of ours so he was able to take a look at her first thing He said that she was probably too dehydrated for electrolites, but to keep feeding her beet pulp and that if she didn't start drinking better in 36 hours we would go ahead and tube her.

                              Talked to DH since he actually works at the farm and I'm stuck in an office. He's going out to buy Gatorade and alfalfa cubes for her. We're going to try Gatorade in her water and soaking the alfalfa cubes with her beet pulp.

                              We thought our grain wouldn't be good to soak because it pretty much disolves and turns into a mash, but the vet said that might not be a bad idea. We're going to try a mash/soupy mixture of our grain, beet pulp, and some alfalfa cubes. Hopefully she'll start drinking soon so she doesn't have to be tubed

                              Thanks so much everyone! I'll keep y'all informed on her progress.


                              • #16
                                Try adding Buckeye Perform n Win to her water in future. I haven't met a horse yet that doesn't like it !

                                Apple juice may work too.
                                Last edited by Equibrit; Feb. 25, 2013, 02:37 PM.
                                ... _. ._ .._. .._


                                • #17
                                  I agree with the warm water. My vet said there are studies showing horses will drink more water if it is warmed.

                                  I have never fed bp, but for alfalfa cubes, my best results are to add boiling water to the cubes and they will break down quickly and easily. For 1 qt of cubes, I add 56 oz of boiling water. There is a step by step section on the pitchforkchronicles website below that shows exactly how I do it if you are interested.

                                  Good luck!


                                  • #18
                                    I second the Gatorade idea. We used to do this with the show horses at our barn who were going to be traveling to a show. We'd start adding the powder to their water at home so they got used to it and then continued adding the powder to their buckets at shows. That way, if the water at the show locations tasted different, the Gatorade masked it and they drank normally.


                                    • #19
                                      I second the warm water - made all the difference in the world for my boy when he got a sinus infection once, and stopped eating and drinking. Vet said to make a soup of his feed. He was already getting soaked beet pulp with his senior feed, but I made it much wetter, and used very warm water. He drank it up like water, and within a week the sinus infection was gone.
                                      I kept it up though, the soaking the feed in warm water, for years now. Not so soupy, but pretty wet. Interesting thing is, after he eats this, he ALWAYS then turns to his water bucket and slurps down almost a gallon. ??? The feed is already wet! Warm water in winter, room temperature in summer, but always wet, never, ever dry. I haven't had to wet his hay at all.
                                      Get a small microwave oven in your feed/tack room if you don't have hot water on tap in the barn. This way you can heat small amounts of water quickly, anytime it's needed.


                                      • #20

                                        We thought our grain wouldn't be good to soak because it pretty much disolves and turns into a mash, but the vet said that might not be a bad idea. We're going to try a mash/soupy mixture of our grain, beet pulp, and some alfalfa cubes. Hopefully she'll start drinking soon so she doesn't have to be tubed

                                        Thanks so much everyone! I'll keep y'all informed on her progress.
                                        I dissolve grain in 3 gallons of warm water 3 times a day for my non- drinker.
                                        He drinks the whole bucket down with great relish.
                                        Nothing I ever did worked except for this. I now use the dissolved grain on most of my horses....to keep the vet away!