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Diet help for building back extremely atrophied muscles?

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  • Diet help for building back extremely atrophied muscles?

    We have a horse at the barn I'm at that had EXTREME atrophy of the back. As severe as you can imagine. The horse in question is early 20's and has little chance of recovering to be rideable again. It's a long frustrating story but the massage therapist recommended a good quality low-starch, low sugar feed with a muscle builder supplement and something to help repair the damaged ligaments and tendons. Any advice on a program? Ration balancer and I see they have a Top Line Building supplement? Any luck with that? He's getting good body care now but we need to work on diet to help with his rehab. We have Progressive available at our feed store. He has no supportive back muscles or abdominals. Any advice to help the poor old guy would be great!
    Please excuse the typos...I'm always on my iPhone and autocorrect is not my friend. Yes I mean mares autocorrect...not mates.

  • #2
    In older horses, extreme atrophy of topline muscles is often caused by PPID/Cushing's. If this is the case, only pergolide to stop the catabolic process will be successful in restoring muscle. Rule out PPID, THEN address diet.
    That said, I have seen 50% of the diet as alfalfa make this kind of horse recover nicely.
    Are you feeding your horse like a cow? www.safergrass.org

    Comment


    • #3
      If his condition is that extreme, you don't want to put weight on him too quickly and strain the muscles supporting his barrel. I'd start by adding chopped, soaked alfalfa and flax seed/linseed oil. That will add protein, calcium and some healthy fat to his diet and be easy to digest. IMO the Top Line Building Supplement is more marketing spin than anything else. Kind of like the diets that promise to help you lose weight in a specific area of your body.

      To build his top line & abdominal strength, try to find a hill that you can hand walk him on. Start slow and build up the time walking up and down the hill. That will help him to start using & strengthening the muscles in his topline. You can also have your massage therapist give you a stretching routine for him to minimize soreness as he builds back up.

      Comment


      • #4
        when thinking about protein, try to remember that the #1 limiting factor for protein is lysine (which may be whats in the topline building stuff?) as if you don't have the right amino acids the protein won't be able to be adequately utilized.

        that being said - i'm in sort of the same boat with my 18 yr old gelding who i'm trying to put weight back on after having him at a barn with less than stellar hay.
        WH Miakoda - 2010 Appaloosa gelding
        Storm N the Harbor - 2007 Thoroughbred mare
        WHS SlikBlak Cadilak - 2014 Appaloosa mare (RIP)

        Comment


        • #5
          If he needs the calories, then TC Sr would be great. You can add some Tri-Amino to that if needed. If he can take alfalfa, then maybe 40-50% of his hay in alfalfa hay, or if that's not available, 5-10lb of alf pellets or cubes (soaked if necessary) to supplement his hay.
          ______________________________
          The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

          Comment


          • #6
            Muscle building supplements are a bunch of nonsense. What the animal needs is good quality feed that its system can handle, with special attention to easy digestibility and sufficient protein including the essential amino acids. If the problem is mainly just "too thin", just more of all the good stuff is a good starting place.

            If there is actual starvation/very low BCS, I believe alfalfa is the recommended forage. There was an article in one of the horse magazines recently (Equus, maybe?) on refeeding a starved horse.
            Click here before you buy.

            Comment


            • #7
              This is a horse I would give winstrol. Could add years to his life, but I know many people are leary of even legitimate use of anabolics

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by flyracing View Post
                This is a horse I would give winstrol. Could add years to his life, but I know many people are leary of even legitimate use of anabolics
                If the horse is Cushinoid that would not be a good idea. I agree with the recommendation to first find out if the horse has PPID (and/or some other things that can cause muscle wasting) and treat for that. The advice from JB was excellent too, on the Uckele Tri-Amino and alfalfa. Many older horses not only have dentition problems, and thereby lose ability to chew hay, but just as some older people have, their entire digestive process becomes less efficient. If you can get Triple Crown Feed, definitely use either the TC Senior or the TC Complete.

                If you cannot get TC in your area, or have trouble getting Tri-Amino (they do have an online order process BTW), another possibility is:
                alfalfa in some form - be sure to soak if you use pellets and
                Purina Equine Senior (and can add in some of either the Ultium Growth or the Omolene 300 for bumping up the protein)
                Good luck and keep us posted.
                Last edited by sdlbredfan; Mar. 6, 2013, 08:13 PM. Reason: typo
                Jeanie
                RIP Sasha, best dog ever, pictured shortly before she died, Death either by euthanasia or natural causes is only the end of the animal inhabiting its body; I believe the spirit lives on.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by flyracing View Post
                  This is a horse I would give winstrol. Could add years to his life, but I know many people are leary of even legitimate use of anabolics
                  Can a person even get that anymore? I heard they couldn't even get the ingredients to compound it.
                  McDowell Racing Stables

                  Home Away From Home

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    If Winstrol is not available, I think Equipoise still is. Yes, of course there are potential risks with anabolic steroids, but they are pretty powerful and in spite of their abuse, the actual primary indication for these drugs in horses is for cases of profound debilitation and the like. Might be worth asking about.
                    Click here before you buy.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Tc senior worked wonders for us. Will post lengthier reply in the am.

                      Comment

                      • Original Poster

                        #12
                        I should add the horse does not need weight gain...we're actually hoping to not add weight as his atrophied abs can't handle it. We recommended they test for cushings as it could be part of it. He has a normal hair coat and normal drinking and urinating but his body condition is similar. Extremely sunk in and pot-bellied. Hopefully he will get his cushings test next week and then we need a feed program. He is currently on senior feed and good quality hay. We're looking for something with more protein/amino acids to help him build muscle. So would Progressive Ration Balancer cover it or does he need extra? Our vets up here aren't educated in nutrition and generally just throw senior feed at everything. Thanks guys!! Hoping to help get this guy some much needed relief. He's an absolute saint and deserves some much needed relief!
                        Last edited by Keg-A-Bacchus; Mar. 6, 2013, 09:30 PM.
                        Please excuse the typos...I'm always on my iPhone and autocorrect is not my friend. Yes I mean mares autocorrect...not mates.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Yep, I'm with JB: love Tri-amino for horses like this. I have seen very nice results with it.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I put mine on Purina Amplify to get that little extra boost. Worked for me, but I'm interested in the tri-amino mentioned too.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              You have to understand what the horse is missing, and what fat supplements vs amino acid supps bring to the table. Adding T-A isn't going to do a thing if the horse already has plenty of lysine and methionine. Adding a fat supp isn't going to help (enough) if lysine is deficient.

                              Sometimes the horse DOES need that fat supplement, whether it's for the extra fat, extra calories, or both.
                              ______________________________
                              The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

                              Comment

                              • Original Poster

                                #16
                                I spoke with Joe from Progressive who has been wonderful. I sent him pictures so he could see what he is dealing with and he felt so bad for the poor old guy he even offered to come to Wisconsin and come to the barn free of change to help him. What a great company and a grea guy! He just had a dental and apparently still has great teeth and no loss of hay...that's good news! I just found out that this horse is on twenty pounds of Senior split into 2 feedings a day. YIKES! Joe has recommended a SLOW transition to a much healthier diet consisting of free choice hay, 2lbs of Progressive ProAdvantage Grass Ration Balancer and 8lbs of Progresive Premium Lo-Carb formula split into two feedings daily. Sounds like a pretty good program in my opinion. I have told the owners to test for Cushings so hopefully that will get done next week. I'll keep you guys posted on his progress and how this new program helps. Fingers crossed we can bring him back. I'm also worried about ulcers from the insane amount of condensed feed he's been eating in only two meals daily as well as the amount of pain he has been in under saddle. I'm thinking we'll start with diet, rule out Cushings and then worry about ulcers after he's cleared or diagnosed with Cushings. Oy! What a mess!
                                Please excuse the typos...I'm always on my iPhone and autocorrect is not my friend. Yes I mean mares autocorrect...not mates.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by Keg-A-Bacchus View Post
                                  We have a horse at the barn I'm at that had EXTREME atrophy of the back. As severe as you can imagine. The horse in question is early 20's and has little chance of recovering to be rideable again. It's a long frustrating story but the massage therapist recommended a good quality low-starch, low sugar feed with a muscle builder supplement and something to help repair the damaged ligaments and tendons. Any advice on a program? Ration balancer and I see they have a Top Line Building supplement? Any luck with that? He's getting good body care now but we need to work on diet to help with his rehab. We have Progressive available at our feed store. He has no supportive back muscles or abdominals. Any advice to help the poor old guy would be great!
                                  http://www.prognutrition.com/toplineextreme.html

                                  I highly recommend Progressive Nutritions ration balancers as well

                                  Comment

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