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Tips to perk up the appetite of the racehorse?

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  • Tips to perk up the appetite of the racehorse?

    Does anyone have any tips on getting a picky eater to clean up food a bit better? Tried apple juice, molasses, feeding in a bucket on the ground/door/wherever she wants!, arsenic, we even changed feed companies and type of feed but that didn't seem to change things a ton.

    She takes awhile after works/races especially to start to pick up an appetite again.

    Filly is sound and don't think it's related to any discomfort in that area. I try to get her out of the stall as much as possible as well.

    Drugs are not an option as I'm not the trainer but more looking on tips for something that I can add to her feed to make it more appealing and things like that and I'm out of ideas!

  • #2

    I would bet a small fortune your horse, like most racehorses, has ulcers


    • #3
      Try reverting to basics - plain whole oats and ditch the fancy stuff; sometimes, taking away extra ingredients is best. ALso more and smaller meals will help.
      Founder of the Dyslexic Clique. Dyslexics of the world - UNTIE!!

      Member: Incredible Invisbles


      • #4
        I agree with Dick although I don't mess around with substitutes for the first week to ten days when I am trying to decide whether or not ulcers are the culprit. Go with a full dose of gastroguard or ulcerguard. If it works then you can play around with the cheaper stuff trying to find something that works.
        McDowell Racing Stables

        Home Away From Home


        • #5
          Some of the things I have seen work:

          Maple syrup

          Ration Plus


          Cooked Oats and lots of grazing if you can... and I second an ulcer med if she's not already being given one!


          • #6
            Vanilla Ensure, Guinness beer, ulcer meds...


            • #7
              we are in the same boat, had one get sick a couple months ago and discovered the tucoprim in his feed - been a finicky wuss ever since.

              gamma oryznol, sold as trade name Body Builder.

              Also a shot of caco copper & iron, either in a build up or a shot by itself.

              Liquid vitamins, given orally, and not top dressed, work well too.
              To get in the winners' circle you must first get into the gate


              • #8
                Adding Lysine, an amino acid, to the diet may help. Also probiotics (of which Ration Plus is one, but it's strictly Lactobacillus bacteria). I would look for a probiotic that has several strains of bacterium and yeast together. How about vitamins and minerals--is she getting any?

                Did you really give your horse arsenic??? Are you sure you didn't give her too much???
                "I'm not much into conspiracy theories but if everyone thinks alike you don't need a plot!" ~person from another bulletin board whose name has been long forgotten~


                • #9
                  You can also try gelatin.


                  • #10
                    Please help me to understand the line of thought here that drugs are not an option, but arsenic was? (BTW, a side effect of arsenic poisoning is loss of appetite.)

                    Has the horse been scoped for ulcers?


                    • #11
                      If I am reading this correctly - fox, are you the groom for this particular horse? The reason I ask is because as the groom you are probably not in a position to do more than suggest omeperazole or other ulcer meds to your trainer - you are sort of at the mercy of your trainer in that regard. That's probably why you said no medication suggestions.

                      One thing I have had some luck with, that you could probably talk your trainer into trying is aloe vera juice. You might have to syringe it into her instead of dressing her feed with it if she is a picky eater. Get every bit of one cup into her in the morning before feed time. You can try 1 cup am & pm, and see if it helps coat her stomach enough to subdue the ulcer irritation enough for her to eat. Last time I checked it was about $8/gallon at Walmart. Ditto on the BodyBuilder (or other gamma oryzanol product) - great stuff but $$$.

                      All the best,
                      Jessi Pizzurro ~~ Pennyroyal Stables
                      Racehorses, OTTBs ~~ 330 383 1281
                      Courage is being scared to death and saddling up anyway. -- John Wayne


                      • #12
                        Apple cider vinegar, rather than just apple juice. People have many claims for this stuff, all sorts of magical cures that it is supposed to do for ya, but really, IF they like it, it just makes them want to eat better IMO. Cheap to buy. Either they like it and it works, or they don't. Use about half a cup into the feed.

                        Cooking the oats can make a big difference to some horses too.

                        Also agree with the ulcer meds, that's a "given".


                        • #13
                          Yes, arsenic is a commonly used as an appetite shot. It works great as long as you just have a picky eater on your hands and loss of appetite isn't related to a ulcer problem.


                          • #14
                            Stomachsoother.com All natural papaya. I have one horse that runs to the front of his stall when he sees me coming with the dose syringe full for him. He loves it, and it helps his appetite.
                            Race training and retraining Thoroughbreds.


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Barnfairy View Post
                              Please help me to understand the line of thought here that drugs are not an option, but arsenic was? (BTW, a side effect of arsenic poisoning is loss of appetite.)

                              Has the horse been scoped for ulcers?
                              Actually Caco Copper (arsenic) is very very useful for stimulating appetite. Tried, tested and true. There isn't enough arsenic in the caco to be poisonous. It is commonly used with no ill effect and does stimulate appetite. Too much of a "good thing" however is a bad thing...


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by Blinkers On View Post
                                Actually Caco Copper (arsenic) is very very useful for stimulating appetite. Tried, tested and true. There isn't enough arsenic in the caco to be poisonous. It is commonly used with no ill effect and does stimulate appetite. Too much of a "good thing" however is a bad thing...
                                Yes, and anabolic steroids are tried and tested to improve a horse's condition as well.

                                Better to diagnose and treat the underlying problem rather than mask it.


                                • #17
                                  I don't disagree, Barnfairy, but we have used it after a horse has a long ship by land or by air in conjunction with either tubing or as a jug (electrolytes), to hydrate. A horse that is dehydrated doesn't always lick it's tub clean. And even if you have the most conscientious groom travelling with a horse and giving water, horses are still dehydrated upon arrival at their destination. And one doesn't always have weeks after arrival before they run sometimes it is days. No time to loose valuable calories. And as such caco copper is useful
                                  BUT as per things that will also stimulate appetite...
                                  So does Clenbuterol (plus anabolic effect), ranitidine, cimetadine and gastrogard. Prednisone adds weight, etc etc.. Caco copper is very useful after a ship in conjunction with re-hydration.
                                  Last edited by Blinkers On; Apr. 12, 2009, 03:19 PM.


                                  • #18
                                    I do completely understand the importance of getting in those groceries, Blinkers. A racing animal absolutely requires those high calories (especially considering so many racehorses are growing as well) and can't afford to be missing meals.

                                    The danger with quick fixes like arsenic is that there are those who will use it as a crutch to keep a horse going instead of addressing the deeper issue, be that ulcers, or perhaps the need for a longer recovery period (and yes, I also realize that outlook isn't always practical and doesn't bring in a paycheck.)

                                    But I hear what you're saying.


                                    • Original Poster

                                      Barnfairy - I'm only the groom and not the trainer, so can't mess around with the meds. Arsenic was something that the trainer discussed with the vet and so I give that to her as per vet/trainer directions. I personally would love to see her go to the farm to unwind every couple months and beef up but I don't think that suggestion would fly

                                      Cherry- following directions to the T from the vet I adore this filly so wouldn’t overdose the arsenic.

                                      JessieP – Yep just the groom so any med stuff I can bring up to the trainer however it’s up to him at that point what he does. Thanks for the aloe vera juice tip though, will definitely pick some up for her!

                                      Thank-you to everyone that suggested things. I have no problem going out and buying her the stuff if it will help her out. She’s an absolute gem and I try to keep her as happy as possible. She is on UTP (Ulcer Therapy Plus) that Herbs for Horses make and also Succeed but still just not cleaning up a tub as much as I’d like to see her. I’ll try some of the suggestions mentioned and let you know if something sparks her interest.


                                      • #20
                                        If you can get your hands on a bottle of the stomach soother, try it. I use it on a filly and a gelding, and had used it on another gelding. All of them love it, and eat great on it. If I forget it for a day, they will pick at the food. It's not very expensive, and it is great stuff.
                                        Race training and retraining Thoroughbreds.