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Is marijuana an appetite stimulant for horses? (JK...sorta)

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  • Is marijuana an appetite stimulant for horses? (JK...sorta)

    I've altered because of the situation...long story...sorry. I'll try to give enough details so you all can give me some advice...but its a sticky situation.

    I recently got an old boarder's horse back after it had been on on lease for a little over a year. I saw him multiple times while he was on lease at some local shows. He looked great! So you can imagine my surprise when I get a panicked call from his owner to see if I had room for him. I was shocked when we picked him up...I've never seen a horse that thin in real life! He is maybe a 1-1.5 BCS. He is pitiful! My understanding is he had a leg injury from the first month he was there, it was properly treated by the vet (I use the same Vet, I trust him), but the swelling never went down. He was sound on it, so after it "healed" they continued to ride him. I saw him with the swollen leg at a show...it wasn't huge, easy to miss if you weren't looking for it...and he was sound on it. Looked happy, good weight etc. I guess the leg got infected a few months ago. Spiked a high fever etc. Stopped eating anything but hay for a few weeks. They had the vet out a bunch. I'm not 100% sure what all was done (vet is coming out this afternoon and I will hopefully have a better idea of what was done). I know this horse is prone to ulcers. I know this horse doesn't normally have a big appetite. I know this horse's appetite gets worse when he isn't working. I think it was all a perfect storm to create this pitiful mess I know have standing in my barn He seems to have perked up since being here, going from a rather small interior stall with no turn out (his leg would blow up) to a much large stall with a stall guard on the front door and dutch doors on the back that he can look out. He is in a small rehab paddock which seems to help the stocking up and has increased his appetite a little. He has the most bizarre gut sounds (better than none!) and his manure is rather small, and he only passes a few buns at a time. Its normal consistency, and he passes a normal amount through out the day...just small amounts at a time. The first few days here he was drinking A LOT and urinating A LOT, but it is much more normal now.

    So, if you got through that....here are my questions...(I will be asking my vet all these questions too...just hoping for some COTH wisdom here)

    They gave him UlcerGuard when he would stop eating for more than a day...but it sounds like it would be one tube...he would start eating and they would wait for him to stop before administering another tube. I haven't heard of that protocol, has anyone had success with that? I feel like a full treatment period would be more effective (but more expensive).

    He received two steroid shots to help increase his appetite. I know that oral steroids can irritate the GI tract. Do the shots do the same? I feel like its a damned if you do damned if you don't situation if that's the case.

    HE WON'T EAT! He is currently eating Nutrena Life Design Senior (offering 2-3 lbs 3-5 times a day) free choice timothy/orchard grass in his stall and free choice grass hay in the small rehab paddock when he goes out. He gets hand grazed on the "good stuff" in the jumping field, but he barely picks at it. I got a whole list from the lessee of what he wouldn't eat...we settled on that for now. He won't eat rice bran, beet pulp, any Purina products, weight gain supplements and he isn't a fan of alfalfa. I have access to most types of feed...Triple Crown being the hardest to get my hands on, but we can do it if he'll eat it! Any suggestions on grain? Supplements? (I am not charging his owner for grain, she is responsible for that, so within reason we can do about any thing...she is so upset, I think she would feed him gold plated grain if it would get him fattened up again!)

    Any tips on getting him to eat? My old school farrier suggested day old white bread...I'm not above trying that! I'm literally about to make him some pot horse cookies and see if I can give him a major case of the munchies!

    Any tips on making his poor self more comfortable? He is in a deeply bedded stall, standing wraps when he is in, blanketed when it is the least bit cold (Spring, where are you?!?!?).

    Thank you for reading my novel, and thanks in advance for any advice, jingles, prayers, what ever you have. I know there is a long road ahead of us....we can use all the help we can get.

  • #2
    I'd bet once you get him on a full tube of Gastroguard/Ulcerguard per day, he'll start eating.


    • #3
      You haven't even tried everything you can to stimulate eating and weight gain and you are asking about marijuana? You aren't even looking at the obvious based on what you posted.

      How are the teeth? Does he have sore/lesions? Hooks and points? Are there waves?

      How old is this horse? Blood work? Worm load?


      • #4
        I believe marijuana is poisonous to horses.
        Derby Lyn Farms Website

        Derby Lyn Farms on Facebook!


        • #5
          sorry, posted it before I was done.
          We had one old guy that would not eat. Skinny tb. The vet gave him some sort of appetite stimulant shot, sorry don't know what it was. He just wouldn't eat. He ate better if we left a bale of hay outside of his stall and opened his door with a stall guard. For some reason he thought he was getting away with eating the bale outside the stall and ate more. In the long run we found out he had cancer, probably a tumor pushing against his stomach, giving him the full feeling or causing pain. Same thing happened with my dog. Tumor in or near the stomach and she would not eat anything.
          Derby Lyn Farms Website

          Derby Lyn Farms on Facebook!


          • #6
            Before looking for oddball stuff, I would do the "normal" things properly: proper dosage of omeprazole, graze him if possible, teeth, deworming, keep palatable hay in front of him at all times, and make sure he's getting enough of the essentials. (vit/min/amino acids)

            Just because he wouldn't eat this or that feed when he was sick doesn't mean he'll reject them forever.

            The injectable "steroids" were probably anabolic steroids, not corticosteroids. These are not as tough on the stomach and can actually really help to stimulate the appetite--not a bad idea, actually. I believe Winstrol and Equipoise are the two common ones. There might be more nowadays.

            And how about some nice yummy oats? Plain, whole oats are something VERY few horses will refuse to eat.

            Finally, a drug called Megace (megestrol) is used in humans to stimulate the appetite much more than THC/marijuana. Marijuana just gets more media coverage. Something to ask the vet about, maybe? Not sure if it is used in horses or not.
            Good luck!
            Click here before you buy.


            • #7
              Originally posted by RAyers View Post
              You haven't even tried everything you can to stimulate eating and weight gain and you are asking about marijuana? You aren't even looking at the obvious based on what you posted.

              How are the teeth? Does he have sore/lesions? Hooks and points? Are there waves?

              How old is this horse? Blood work? Worm load?

              This, and I would go the route of a REAL ulcer treatment, not just one tube and be done until he goes off feed again.
              "If you think nobody cares about you, try missing a couple payments..."


              • Original Poster

                Sorry, I did forget some important details. He is 17 (I think, maybe 18). Teeth were checked and done when he first went off his feed. He is chewing normally, but I definitely will have the vet recheck today. I have checked best I can, and I don't see or feel anything.

                Blood work as been done multiple times. I don't know exact details (owners are waiting on copies). I think the only thing "amiss" was a high WBC when the original infection hit (in December). After a course of antibiotics (not sure which ones/how long etc), the blood work has been in the "normal" range. I will ask the vet if it would be worth while to pull more today.

                Fecals have been done periodically since he starting losing weight in December (again, not sure of the frequency or results, but I know they had been done). I'm not sure if he was dewormed, but with as much $$$ has they spent, I doubt they would have skipped on a $12 tube of dewormer.

                I'm hoping the owners will have more than the itemized list (i.e, actually test results, not just that there were done) from the vet. Any work that would need to be redone, can be done today (fecals, blood work etc)

                (I'm not really looking at marijuana, just a catchy title...but I am afraid we are missing some obvious things, which is why I posted...hoping for some fresh insight)


                • #9
                  Fecal egg counts don't detect tapeworms, usually--has he been dewormed with something for this species within the last 6 months?

                  I love your alter, by the way, in light of the topic!
                  Click here before you buy.


                  • Original Poster

                    Originally posted by Derby Lyn Farms View Post
                    He ate better if we left a bale of hay outside of his stall and opened his door with a stall guard. For some reason he thought he was getting away with eating the bale outside the stall and ate more.
                    I found the same thing with this guy, so he has a pile of hay in his stall, and a pile outside for him to "steal".


                    • #11
                      My gelding didn't have much of an appetite last spring, vet rules out ulcers (didn't have any other symptoms) and what we did was powerpak for good measure, and give him a Vitamin B complex shot. Worked like a charm, started practically attacking his grain bucket. haven't used it since, appetite has been good. I keep a close eye on him, he's got as much hay as possible, powerpaked again this spring, fecals clear but I still worm, and I have him on ranitidine for good measure. Teeth done.

                      For us, the B Complex shot really helped. Apparently halter folks will give it to horses to make them eat a lot more so they gain weight quickly?
                      Team Ginger


                      • #12
                        Have you tried some Calf Manna? There is supposed to be something in there that makes horses want to eat, fenugreek maybe? anyway it smells yummy and I think most horses like it.


                        • #13
                          Calf manna is AMAZING, I give it as a great to the rabbits for weight gain!

                          Try pro/prebiotics. My fav brand for my hard keeper senior is Probios, expensive but worth it

                          Can horses get prednisone? My Labrador was on that, so was my sister and I had to go on it for a few days and OMG, all I wanted to do was eat and drink.


                          • #14
                            Check into B12.
                            Are you feeding your horse like a cow? www.safergrass.org


                            • #15
                              LOL, I have easy keepers, so that's not a thought I've ever had. Although I do think if Cloudy ate some real "grass" he'd be more mellow.

                              I never noticed it being an appetite stimulant in humans. Ever. I've read that it is, but I don't know one person who has ever gotten hungry after smoking dope. And I used to live in Berkeley, back in the days of pot & the more potent hashish. (Far out!)

                              OMG when some of my dogs took pred for allergies, they would eat anything and everything. I'd hate to see my easy keepers use pred.

                              I think that Buckeye's Ultimate Finish is the best way to put weight on a horse. Although none of my horses has every needed to gain weight (although Callie was skinny when I got her, after she was wormed and fed, she became an easy keeper ottb mare.), I've used various supplements for omega3 and etc.
                              I had to discontinue the Ultimate Finish after a week or so as Cloudy and Callie gained weight daily on it. Rice bran was 2nd for gaining weight when I didn't' want mine to gain. So try the Ultimate Finish. I had to give away the big bag of it since my 2 were gaining so much weight right away.

                              Oh come on guys, if people can get medicinal marijuana, why can't horses get it? And no, marijuana is not poisonous to dogs or cats or horses or people.


                              • #16
                                This is not your typical "my horse has a poor appetite" thread. If this horse is really a 1-1.5 bcs and not eating well he is on the verge of death and eveything done to him should be done with the utmost concern and vet supervision.

                                The biggest issue right now is no one has a proper diagnosis of what is wrong with this horse! Right now he is too sick to just throw treatments at him and see if he improves. He needs to go to a major vet hospital (preferably with an internist) for a thorough exam (heart, lungs, rectal exam, CBC with full chemistry panel and metabolic panel) and an endoscopy to rule ulcer in or out. Also, regardless of his last dental exam, he needs a full mouth speculum exam to see how his teeth and soft tissue look now.

                                Normally, I am all for just treating for ulcers and waiting for a response, but this horse is different. You need to know!

                                At this point he is sick enough (sick not just meaning catching a bacteria or virus, but other causes too), that he may need help just to feel well enough to have the energy to engage in eating and properly digest it. The vet may want to do iv fluids with vitamin c and a b complex. This could really help him perk up. They can also place a nasal-gastric tube and feed him regular meals of senior mash until his appetite increases. They will very likely want to continue with anabolic steroids.


                                • #17
                                  I never noticed it being an appetite stimulant in humans. Ever
                                  Nevertheless, this side effect of THC is well described.
                                  Click here before you buy.


                                  • #18
                                    I agree that the horse probably has ulcers. Or something worse. And needs the attention of a competent vet asap.

                                    I've noticed in my lifetime personal studies that marijuana does stimulate one appetite, but not for food. Maybe the THC studies involve some displacement. It also helps with visual perception. And of course with pain control with cancer. And with glaucoma. You'd think it would be legalized everywhere but for the alcohol and tobacco lobbies, and the people who associate grass with hippies and counterculturals.


                                    • #19
                                      Will he eat peppermints or carrots?

                                      If so, mash up a bunch of peppermints (hammer works well) and give him a little grain with the peppermints. Try just a small handfull of grain, not a meal, to start. You want him to be eating the peppermints and getting a little grain in the process.

                                      IF this works, then SLOWLY increase the grain.

                                      I have also been known to hold the bucket for a horse while he is eating. Some of us like to have company with our meals.

                                      Poor guy. It certainly sounds like he needs a full work up. The poster who suggested a tumor might have hit the nail on the head.
                                      "He lives in a cocoon of solipsism"

                                      Charles Krauthammer speaking about Trump


                                      • #20
                                        Can someone tell me more about B-12 deficiency in horses and what criteria you'd use to decide to administer it?
                                        If you are allergic to a thing, it is best not to put that thing in your mouth, particularly if the thing is cats. - Lemony Snicket