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NEED HELP! Trying to put weight on elderly horse.

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  • NEED HELP! Trying to put weight on elderly horse.

    Ok, so I'm asking for a friend of mine that's a little computer challenged. He has a 37 year old quarter horse who's in AWESOME shape! He's getting a little ribby and with winter around the corner my friends wants to put a few more pounds on him. He only has 4 teeth left and currently eats a 10 pounds of senior a day-NO HAY! The senior is soaked so that there is about 4 inches of water on top in the bucket. He does have some digestive issues and can ONLY eat soaked senior: no hay cubes, no hay pellets, no beet pulp otherwise he has an impaction colic. We tried adding another meal but he just doesn't want to eat anymore. I suggested adding 1-2 cups of oil. Well, we were doing that for 2 days and he just decided he isn't going to eat anything with oil in it.

    So any ideas to put more weight on this old guy? Any good weight gain supplements???

    Forgot to mention, blood work was just recently pulled-normal, he's on a daily wormer and UTD on everything. Teeth (what's left anyway...) were checked in June for any issues.
    Kristen

    Kiwayu & Figiso Pictures:
    http://community.webshots.com/user/kiwayu

  • #2
    How many times per day are you feeding him? We have found that smaller, more frequent feeding (e.g., up to 4-5x/day) may encourage a better appetite. Often, the elderly turn up their noses at large meals but will eat a 1/2 ration at one sitting several times per day. I have gleaned this from watching my parents (one passed, mother still alive but completely vegetative) in the skilled nursing facility. A lot of the elderly residents would not eat a large plate but could be encouraged to clean up if the plates were smaller and the facility added an extra meal or two each day.

    Sometimes the old horses go on hunger strikes, and changing brands of Eq Sr may jump start them again.

    Good luck. Love the oldies!

    Comment

    • Original Poster

      #3
      He's eating 3x a day but he's eating/licking all of his food. Not a problem is if the oil isn't in there.

      You guys recommend any weight gain supplements?
      Kristen

      Kiwayu & Figiso Pictures:
      http://community.webshots.com/user/kiwayu

      Comment


      • #4
        Something with Vitamin B will boost his appetite!

        You could try something like Focus SR, or something similar that has I think B vitamins in it? B vitamins encourage appetite, or so I was told.

        My 22 year old cat came down with an infection last winter and I had to give him IV bags of "B Boost" (what my vet called it) and it REALLY stimulated his appetite. After finishing the bag (scruff of his neck got a little bubble that would eventually get absorbed) he IMMEDIATELY wanted to eat. And he's a "skinny old man cat" to begin with, and this was with him feeling icky. He is now 23 and doing amazing! He caught a squirrel just this morning

        It's the same for horses - my older Arab was loosing weight, unknown to us he was beginning the stages of renal failure, and the same day the vet came out to do a blood panel that told us that, he also gave him an IV bag with a heavy amount of B vitamins.

        Sorry so long, I just have seen them work on encouraging appetite and this may be just what this horse could use! It is SO awesome he is feeling so good and doing so well at his age!

        Comment


        • #5
          Are you adding water to his senior feed, making a little bit of a mash with it?

          That helps with consumption, as you may add a little bit more and they will still eat it.

          At that age, you may just not get much weight gain any more, but you can compensate in the winter with judicious use of blankets.

          Comment


          • #6
            I just started feeding soaked beet pulp

            I began this trying to increase the weight on my super senior 31 year old stud but he did not really like it and it is so hot here in S Ga that I was afraid to leave it out all day so I will try it again in cooler weather. But my other senior has gained a good bit of weight. I soak the beet pulp shreads and add stabilized rice bran to his additional feed (senior) (the same amount he was already eating) and he looks great and LOVES the beet pulp. He actually turned up his nose to the senior only the other morning before I had time to add the soaked beet pulp, my entire barn is now eating the beet pulp with their feed.

            Comment


            • #7
              I've posted this before -- ULTIUM (Purina) -- it's a Godsend for elderly horses that need more weight. They love it and it makes a huge difference. My 29 year old (TB) stallion gets 1/2 Ultium and 1/2 Senior twice a day and gets soaked alfalfa cubes with senior (everything is soaked) at lunch. He had a fractured jaw and is missing teeth, so he can't eat hay or graze effectively. He looks amazing -- you would not believe he is 29. I used all the other stuff for about 2 1/2-3 years before the Ultium and it is the only thing that really made a difference. Good luck~!
              PennyG

              Comment


              • #8
                You might try adding a cup or more of rice bran to each soaked senior meal. They all seem to like it as part of a gruel, and its certainly helped my oldie retain his weight and bloom.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Has the owner tried the "powdered oils"? I know uckle has something called Alpha Omega that put weight on my 35 year old last winter.

                  Karen
                  Strange how much you've got to know Before you know how little you know. Anonymous

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    My mare was always a hard keeper, but when she hit 20, I lost all control. No matter how many calories we were throwing at her, she wouldn't gain an ounce, and if I put any oil in her feed, she glares at me and won't touch it.

                    I put her on Omega Horseshine this spring, and she has blossomed. Before that, I tried the Focus SR and WT with no results. It had worked for her when she was younger, but wasn't enough now.
                    Strong promoter of READING the entire post before responding.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Kiwayu View Post
                      The senior is soaked so that there is about 4 inches of water on top in the bucket. He does have some digestive issues and can ONLY eat soaked senior: no hay cubes, no hay pellets, no beet pulp otherwise he has an impaction colic.
                      That's sounds odd to me that he'd impact if fed more soaked feed. Does he not drink enough if fed the hay cubes or beet pulp? Just curious? My old toothless wonder survived beautifully on beet pulp, alfalfa cubes and a handful of sweetfeed until he was 35, never impacted. Darned horses huh? They can't all be easy.
                      ~~Some days are a total waste of makeup.~~

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by HalfArabian View Post
                        Has the owner tried the "powdered oils"? I know uckle has something called Alpha Omega that put weight on my 35 year old last winter.

                        Karen
                        Ditto.... Cool Calories100 is a dry/prilled fat. Smells like an Orange Creamsicle.

                        How about adding alfalfa pellets soaked/broken down into the mix for more protein.
                        <>< Sorrow Looks Back. Worry Looks Around. Faith Looks Up! -- Being negative only makes a difficult journey more difficult. You may be given a cactus, but you don't have to sit on it.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Kiwayu View Post
                          Ok, so I'm asking for a friend of mine that's a little computer challenged. He has a 37 year old quarter horse who's in AWESOME shape! He's getting a little ribby and with winter around the corner my friends wants to put a few more pounds on him. He only has 4 teeth left and currently eats a 10 pounds of senior a day-NO HAY! The senior is soaked so that there is about 4 inches of water on top in the bucket. He does have some digestive issues and can ONLY eat soaked senior: no hay cubes, no hay pellets, no beet pulp otherwise he has an impaction colic. We tried adding another meal but he just doesn't want to eat anymore. I suggested adding 1-2 cups of oil. Well, we were doing that for 2 days and he just decided he isn't going to eat anything with oil in it.

                          So any ideas to put more weight on this old guy? Any good weight gain supplements???

                          Forgot to mention, blood work was just recently pulled-normal, he's on a daily wormer and UTD on everything. Teeth (what's left anyway...) were checked in June for any issues.
                          What kind of Senior? Triple Crown Senior is highly digestible,very palatable,and contains probiotics which help aid digestion which is key for the elderly...also agree w/ smaller rations more frequently if possible. Tractguard made by Foxden Equine is an excellent product designed specifically to prevent impaction colics-excellent product,and is also great for weight gain/maintenance.
                          Have you tried Rice Bran-comes in many forms-pelleted,powdered etc or an extruded fat supplement such as Buckeye Ultimate Finish,Progressive Nutrition's Envision Classic or Legend's Rice Bran Pellets?

                          As far as supplements....a good probiotic may really help...Fastrack is excellent,and alot of people seem to really like Smartpak's digestion supplements or weightgain supplement....or even Source for Seniors

                          Has this horse been Panacur Powerpacked?
                          R.I.P. "Henry" 4/22/05 - 3/26/2010 We loved you so much....gone but NEVER FORGOTTEN...i hope we meet again

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            [QUOTE]
                            Originally posted by Kiwayu View Post
                            He only has 4 teeth left and currently eats a 10 pounds of senior a day-NO HAY!

                            my 10 hh shetland gets 10 pounds of senior a day....

                            ETA but he eats all day if I let thim
                            Last edited by Tamara in TN; Aug. 14, 2009, 01:33 PM.
                            Production Acres,Pro A Welsh Cobs
                            I am one of the last 210,000 remaining full time farmers in America.We feed the others.

                            Comment

                            • Original Poster

                              #15
                              The old man is on Purina Equine Senior. We can't add any "feed" to his diet because he is that colic sensitive. We've been that route before. He used to be on Alfalfa cubes/pellets and even hay stretcher at one point and he just kept colicing. The only thing that has worked to keep him from colicing is just plain soaked Equine Senior. The last colic he had (maybe 2-3 years ago?) the vet felt fatty tumors when she did a rectal. I personally think the fatty tumors have something to do with the fact that his body can't handle bulkier feeds, but I'm no vet.

                              The supplements he's on in addition to his soaked senior is Micro-Vet Equine (electrolyte, pro/prebiotic, vit/min supplement), Ugard liquid, Metamucil, Strongid C2X and some prescription medication for calcium build up in his urine. I can't remember the name of the stuff because we nicknamed it "bladder clens" around the barn.
                              Kristen

                              Kiwayu & Figiso Pictures:
                              http://community.webshots.com/user/kiwayu

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                That really may not be enough food.

                                My old guy (now deceased) got about 5lbs of Nutrena Complete (Senior), 1 lb of alfalfa cubes (all soaked) 4 times a day.

                                I would certainly consider upping the food/adding an additional meal. They really aren't designed to eat that much in one sitting...so he may well have been full when the additional meal was presented before. You might have to spread it out even further...like a.m. meal, noon meal, 5 or 6pm meal 10pm meal.

                                As far as oil or alfalfa cubes...you really want to introduce it slowly. With the oil, I'd start with corn oil and I'd add just a dash...2 tablespoons or so. If you ease in, you shouldn't have loose stools and they really shouldn't "notice" too much.

                                Also, consider a probiotic as they can help with digestion and the horse can get a little more nutrition out of what he's eating. Without teeth, the initial part of digestion (chewing up the food) doesn't happen.

                                Verify that there's not a pain issue. Chronic pain can cause them to drop weight even if they are eating well.

                                Consider blanketing over the winter to help conserve energy. (if you're in a cold place...now that I'm in reply mode, I can't see where you're from)

                                Exercise...even a little handwalking or ponying him off another horse may be sufficient to increase his appetite.

                                Best of luck. I do have a soft spot for the oldies!
                                A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

                                Might be a reason, never an excuse...

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  [QUOTE=Kiwayu;4305156]Ok, so I'm asking for a friend of mine that's a little computer challenged. He has a 37 year old quarter horse who's in AWESOME shape! He's getting a little ribby and with winter around the corner my friends wants to put a few more pounds on him. He only has 4 teeth left and currently eats a 10 pounds of senior a day-NO HAY! weight gain supplements???
                                  QUOTE]

                                  10lbs doesn't sound like a lot....

                                  Try giving him probiotics to aid digestion and absorption.

                                  My horses love 1 c of ground flax per day--high in fat.

                                  If he can eat soaked senior, I wonder why he can't handle soaked hay pellets or soaked beet pulp.

                                  My old guys love the soaked BP shreds. During the winter I soak the BP, hay pellets, flax, senior in HOT HOT water and they love getting a tummy warming soupy breakfast every am.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    [QUOTE]
                                    Originally posted by ksojerio View Post

                                    If he can eat soaked senior, I wonder why he can't handle soaked hay pellets or soaked beet pulp.
                                    a little thing call "pre extrusion"

                                    unlike hay or pulps there is no clogging along of the fiber in the hind gut...he very well could have a partial blockage somewhere along the pipes...I wonder how soaking the pellets in an alfalfa tea would suit him??
                                    Production Acres,Pro A Welsh Cobs
                                    I am one of the last 210,000 remaining full time farmers in America.We feed the others.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      A friend swears by powdered milk as a fat supplement....
                                      Do not take anything to heart. Do not hanker after signs of progress. Founder of the Riders with Fibromyalgia clique.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by Penthilisea View Post
                                        A friend swears by powdered milk as a fat supplement....
                                        Calf Manna as supplement, added to the wet senior food?

                                        You may also consider that he is close to the end of his life and be very careful of his quality of life, as it seems that it could be starting to suffer some.

                                        Comment

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