Weight Gain Trouble with Horse, what Should I ask the Vet?

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by Celtic Hill, Mar 27, 2011.

  1. Celtic Hill

    Celtic Hill Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 7, 2010
    Scotland CT
    So when we got Fee (my horse) she was FAT! She had grain, hay and 24/7 Pasture, and no one did anything with her. So when we put her into training she drooped weight and ever since we have been trying to get it back. She isn't terribly skinny but if she moves a certain way you can see her ribs and I would like a nice flesh covering on her. She is on a great diet and has free choice to quality hay 24/7. She is on a good dewormer rotation. The vet is coming out in a few weeks to do spring shots, coggins and teeth and I want to ask him about what could be wrong with her. When we discussed my mare back in the fall he said she is at an okay place with her weight but he would like to see more flesh on her, now im pretty sure she gained weight because I need a new girth. The Vet in the fall said she had a "Chronic weight problem" [​IMG] Back in the fall i said if she doesn't gain weight over the winter im going to pull tests on her, but what to pull? Any Suggestions are greatly appreciated!

    -Ian
     
  2. oldchickenlady

    oldchickenlady Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 9, 2010
    Cabot, AR
    It is possible to see ribs when a horse moves and still not be too skinny. Do you see ribs when she is standing still? When you run your hand over the rib area do you just feel bones or is there a layer of fat/muscle over them? If all you feel is bones, then she is too skinny, but if there is a layer over the bones she may not be as skinny as you think. Personally, I think a tad too skinny is better than being a tad too fat, especially if a horse is an easy keeper or not worked much, and especially this time of year when the spring grass is going to be shooting up. When she starts eating that spring grass she will gain. If she is already a tad too fat to start with, then it is possible for a horse to founder on that spring grass before you know it. As far as tests to check...I would do a fecal egg count to see just what worms she has in her system. Worms are developing resistance to worm medications, so it is best to get your horse checked to find out what specific worms she may have, then treat for that instead of routinely doing a rotational worming schedule. Your vet will be able to advise you about any blood work that may be needed. Oh, you could get her teeth checked. Also, consider her age...older horses may have a harder time holding their weight. Or it may just be due to a hard winter. I took my 2 horses for their Coggins and the vet tech commented on how healthy they looked and said she had seen LOTS of horses that had lost weight over the winter (that is here in middle TN). Mine were on 24/7 pasture and hay. No grain except when I went out to check on them, about 2 times a week, and then only a scoop. I would not worry about her being too skinny unless she starts eating the spring grass and still doesn't gain weight.
     
  3. Celtic Hill

    Celtic Hill Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 7, 2010
    Scotland CT
    Its normally when she bends I see her ribs and when i run my hand over and put light pressure I can feel the bones. Shes 7, and I know she needs her teeth done. April first we are doing a Powerpac which is a five day worming treatment. I forgot to mention she is not on pasture as we have no access to pasture currently.
     
  4. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Teeth and worms would be the first things to look into, for sure. I would not *just* do a Powerpak if you are actually concerned about her weight, I would *also* have maybe two fecal samples run, a week or so apart. And have a REALLY GOOD DENTIST do her teeth, not just yer normal horse vet (some vets are excellent with teeth but the majority are somewhere between 'enh' and useless).

    From what you say though it does not sound particularly worrisome. Personally I'd way rather see a horse a bit light than a bit heavy, under most circumstances. And some horses (mostly TBs in my experience, but some of other breeds too) just take a much longer time to put on fat over the rib area than anywhere else, so can remain a touch ribby even if they are actually in perfectly fine condition. How does her weight seem *elsewhere* on her body?

    Good luck, have fun,

    Pat
     
  5. Celtic Hill

    Celtic Hill Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 7, 2010
    Scotland CT
    Weight is fine every where else, she's not 'dull', nothing out of the norm other then I an see a few ribs. And I dont mean the WHOLE rib but like two or three 'lines' at the widest part of her stomach.
     
  6. welsummerchicks

    welsummerchicks Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 26, 2010
    I would have to see a picture. We like to say you should be just able to see the last 3 ribs move a little when they breath.

    Some vets have a 'fat eye', some have a good eye for a fit horse.

    If you see all of a rib, if the whole rib makes a ridge you can feel, they're too thin. You will most likely see a little lack of finish/roundness/padding over the croup and crest as well.

    I have an older horse that shows more of the rib in the curved part of the rib cage (not the flatter part toward the rear of the rib cage; ie, just a part of the last 3 ribs can barely be seen, which are fairly flat and uncurved) when he is not getting enough calories. He eats slow and picks through winter hay and doesn't eat it all.

    We put him on 2 lb of beet pulp (measured weight when dry, fed 2 hr after pouring boiling water over it, or 8 hr after pouring warm or cold water over it.

    You can feed a fair amount of beet pulp - it is not costly - it is considered a safe way to add calories and I prefer it to adding a LOT of oil - advice is to not feed fat or oil on competition day as it wll affect gut motility, hydration.
     
  7. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    From what you say it does not sound like something to be concerned about or be trying to do anything in particular about -- although attention to worms and teeth is of course always a good thing.

    Pat
     
  8. lockedhearts

    lockedhearts It's All About Chicken Math

    Apr 29, 2007
    Georgia
    There is a difference between Fat & Fit. I show Halter and Pleasure. I sent my Pleasure horse to a friend so he could tune her up for me. I got her back two months later. I had her Fat, now she is fit. I can slightly see her ribs when she moves, honestly there is not anything wrong with that.
    I would worry if a horse continued to lose weight and not maintain. Since I am used to seeing Big Halter Horses, I tend to put weight on all of mine. My friend deals with Pleasure Horses, his horses are leaner and fit. My Halter Horses are Fit, they just carry much more weight.

    Teeth, Worming and good nutrition are what is required , if you are doing that and she is maintaining a good weight, I do not see an issue.

    Of course a picture is helpful as well.
     

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