Extreme Weightloss my horse

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Feb 23, 2009
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We purchased a 16 1/2 year old horse named Socks she just now turned 17. She is an American Saddlebred an we ave had her for about 6 months so she has had time to adjust. She wasnt underweight when we purchased her but has steadily dropped weight and we have no Idea why. We use close to the same grain she was fed and she gets 2scoops in the morning and 2 at night. This has not helped her with gaining any weight at all. her back bone from her withers to her croupe jutts out, :frowns: her hips are very prominent and you can easily feel her ribbs. I am very concerned by this not only for her health but by how she looks. Our other 2 horses are a little overweight but not by much. They are fed seperately to ensure that each horse eats his own and not anyone elses food. We have tried Omegatin, Weight boosters, corn oil, beet pulp. None of these have helped so far. Her teeth were floated 3mos ago. I dont know what else to do ive tried almost everything. She seems healthy shiny coat and is very active. Any advice would be appreciated greatly.
I can just rattle off a bunch of possiblilitys. Depending on which part fo the country you are in it could be Selinium deficiency, deworming issue. You have a breed that can be prone to be a hard keeper, they have a lot of lean type thoroughbred in the lineage and some of those horses can be hard to keep weight on. Typically what I have seen, and this is a common problem that you have, is that hard keepers will show these symptoms most in the winter time and additionally these horses may be poor hay eaters. They can be grain hogs but poor on hay, and many times if they don't eat hay will they may not gain weight no matter how much grain you feed. I would start with a daily dewormer like the Strongid C feed additive, blood test for Selinium as this believe it or not mimicks a multitude of symptoms if deficient (usually East of Mississippi River and then West Coast) and feed the highest quality alfalfa hay you can get. Horses tend to take a long time to gain weight but loose weight real fast. If you are on the right track then expect at least a month before you see much of a change.
Have your Vet take a look at her.

I also suspect she needs to be de-wormed with one of the paste de-wormers. Possibly repeat in 3 to 4 weeks. Alternate the formulations. Also, use one that gets strongyles... Ivermectin formulations only get some of the worms.

Also check on the Valley Vet site. They have some worming schedules, I think. Also the manufacturers information on each type.
Are you feeding grain such as a sweet feed wich should have alot of oats? If so then check her manure and see if she is passing the oats straight through. Ive got a feeling that her teeth, though just reciently floated,still arent right. If you are feeding an oat based feed then I would suggest feeding her a pelleted senior feed instead. A pelleted senior feed will be completely digested.Though she isnt exactly over the hill,an older horses teeth alignment can make a BIG difference in their overall condition.Also check for hay quids laying around the area that you hay her. Hay quids = bad teeth.
You may also get just a regular old palpation sleeve, put it on your hand and pick up a couple of her stool droppings,keep ahold of them while taking the sleeve off and this will turn the sleeve inside out. Add water inside the sleeve containing the droppings and then hang it up for about 15-30 minutes. If there is an abundence of sand that has settled in the fingertips then that will give you a clue as to wether or not you need to treat for the sand colic.
As stated in the other posts a good deworming schedual is a must.

Just some thoughts,hope they help.
You don't sat where youre at , cold climate ? Horse normally is going to eat about 25-30 lbs of grass or hay per day. If in cold climate is she blanketed ? in shelter ? Scoops is how much weight and how much hay in addition to that , and what kind of feed ? We have some hard keepers and they have them on about 6-8 lbs per day of palatable concentrate , senior or a 12% with roughage , plus the normal 25 lbs of quality hay . Weight gain takes a long time , best to take a picture and use it for reference. Can take two months to see noticable change.
you speak of grain, but HAY is the basis of a horse's diet..what type of hay and what quantity are you feeding?

She might be wormy..she may be "low" on gut bacteria to help her properly digest her food.

I had a hard keeping TB and put him on Purina's complete advantage (now they call it Omolene 400)..it is a "complete" feed and contains beet pulp..it VERY easy to digest..it greatly helped him gain weight and keep it on.

Rice Bran is also something else Id consider..although it does make some horses "hot".

Ive personaly not found a whole bunch of success with feeding the senior feed to hard keepers.
Since you don't really know all that much about her history I'd probably begin with a visit to the vet, let him check her over from head to toe, check teeth, draw blood, worm her, etc and get his feedback. AND as SpinandSlide said put her on the best grass hay you can find. Alls she can eat. Avoid grain as much as possible. There are some good Senior Horse feeds out there but most that are simply pelleted are nothing more than junk being advertised as "soft pellets". The better senior horse feeds will have a high protein pellet, a small amount of corn, a small amount of soybean hulls and a lot of dried beet pulp....very palatable, very nutritious and easily digested. The Omolene Product is one...another is TDI Senior.( www.tdihorsefeeds.com ) No junk, no fillers and always the same every bag. And any feed you feed from a bag weigh it out...don't guess at "scoops". These feeds will cost a little more but are well worth the money. If you can't find them look for one of the "Low Starch" horse feeds...just make sure the fiber in the feed comes from soybean hulls and/or beet pulp and not "filler" products.