Older Horse Weight Loss. When this happens in the digestive system, weight loss can result. From a decreased ability to chew because of poor teeth to a decline in the breakdown and absorption of proteins, and from a decreased ability to ferment fiber for energy and calories to a decline in the production of B vitamins, there can be a number of reasons why an older horse may be losing weight. It’s important to pay close attention to older horses especially, because changes (like weight loss) can happen rapidly. For example, Cushing’s Disease , a dysfunction of the pituitary gland, can rob a horse of his muscle-especially the topline and bottomline. Although fresh grass seems like the most natural diet for horses, it may no longer be the ideal source of roughage for the older horse needing to put weight on.
Medical Conditions That Are More Common In Older Horses. But these senior citizens are at risk for developing some medical problems that need to be addressed to keep them healthy and happy. Some of the more common conditions are described below. Weight loss is one of the most common problems in the older horse. Bloodwork and additional testing may be necessary to determine the cause of your horse’s weight loss, but many horses respond well to simple treatments or dietary and management changes. Heaves, COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), and Small Airway Disease are all names for a non-infectious respiratory disease that can affect horses of all ages, but seems to be more severe in older horses. If your horse displays any of these signs, an appointment with your veterinarian should be made for an accurate diagnosis and to rule out a respiratory infection. Horses with COPD can be successfully treated by adjusting some of the routine care and management procedures and medicating when necessary. Additional causes that are more common in older horses than in younger horses are abdominal masses, such as tumors, and dental abnormalities causing inadequate chewing. Treatment of colic may be achieved with medications at the farm, but hospitalization and/or surgery are required to treat some causes of colic. Signs that a horse is choking are coughing, inability to swallow, salivating, and regurgitation of feed and saliva through the nostrils and mouth. However, in many cases, a veterinarian is needed to sedate the horse, insert a tube into the esophagus, and flush the area with water, removing the feed material through the tube. Ways to help prevent choke include: maintaining proper dental care for your horse, feed types of feed that can be adequately chewed and swallowed, and adding water to dry feeds, especially feeds such as beet pulp. Good management practices such as routine deworming, dental care, and foot trimming, good wound care, and body clipping for horses with heavy coats are necessary to maintain the comfort and good health of these horses.
You are here: Home / Horse Health / Care of the Older Horse / Caring for Older Horses in Winter. Due to advances in nutrition, veterinary medicine and the management practices of horse owners, horses like us are living longer. Q: What are the best types of hay for older horses? The best types of hay for older horses with declining teeth condition are softer immature hays such as many pasture hays and some legume hay. If you grab it and it is soft on your hands it is high in digestible fibre and will be suitable for the horse. If it is hard on your hands it will be high in indigestible fibre and will not be as beneficial to the older horse. Adding fat to a horse’s diet can be of great benefit as the older horse still digests fat quite well. In very old horses, the teeth can become so worn that they are practically nonexistent. A common and effective way of getting food into the older horse with little or no teeth is to feed a mash. Q: How often should I get the older horse’s teeth checked? Needless to say, the older horse’s teeth should be checked at least twice a year, and floated (rasped) as necessary. Q: Are there specially formulated rations for the older horse?
Geeks On Pets > > Horses > > Horse Health > > Weight Loss in a Horse. Weight Loss in a Horse. Any horse that suffers from weight loss needs to be seen by a vet. The reason the horse is losing weight is because the horse’s body is not getting the nutrition it needs nor is it getting the calories it needs to get through the day. Even after tapping fat layers and with the horse eating normally or even more than usual, a horse that is losing weight has something interfering with its ability to absorb nutrition from its food. Eventually, as weight loss increases, the horse’s spine becomes prominent and sunken hollow spaces will appear over the eyes. There are many medical causes for unexplained weight loss in a horse. Treatment varies depending upon what the cause of the horse’s weight loss is. If the cause is a physical ailment, then the medical condition has to be treated before the horse can be expected to put weight back on.
They upped his feed and he's eating more (he gets 8-9 flakes of hay and eats 7 or so and grain- I'm not certain on the details.) They tested him for worms and thought it looked fine. Had the same experience with my old mare, age 25, though she was spreading her hay around and not getting it all eaten and had a mild bout or two of impaction colic. Our vet says she notices more old horses losing weight in the summer, when the weather is hot and the flies are bad, than in winter some years. Last fall we had the old guy's teeth done and dewormed him and he actually gained weight over the winter. He got pretty thin there, and with the Cushing's his topline is pretty sad anyway. I am the BO, and all the horses are in very good weight and coat, a little sunbleached but all happy and maybe a little overweight. Have one OTTB that is a 2 on the scale and it just freaks me out. He's not that old, 16 years, and has been retired for 4 due to injury. He had his teeth done in April, is up to date on deworming (I dewormed him 2 weeks ago), he's top horse in the paddock, and there's no reason for him to be so skinny.until I was out at the barn one day to bring him in for the farrier. 20 minutes later, I put him back outside and saw that the horse he likes best had not only finished all HIS hay, but had already eaten half of my guy's. The BO changed horses and now another slow eater is in with my guy. Going through the same thing right now with 2 mares, 1 is 16 and 1 is 19.
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Geeks On Pets > > Horses > > Horse Health > > Ways for Older Horses to Gain Weight. Ways for Older Horses to Gain Weight. There are several ways to help your older horse gain weight, including changing a feed source and maintaining your horse's teeth. Use care when selecting a senior feed for your horse. While not all older horses are able to chew and digest a diet of only hay, for horses that are able, feeding hay is an excellent way to help increase and maintain weight, states The Horse website. In addition, feeding hay in the winter helps keep your older horse warm, as hay, unlike pelleted feed, warms your horse from the inside out as it is digested and ferments. Cubes are dissolved in water and fed to your horse lake a mash, making the hay easier to chew. Feeding your older horse in a stall or separated from the group ensures that it is getting the appropriate amount of feed. Removing these often makes it easier for horses to chew, increasing feed consumption and improving weight.
Weight Loss In Elderly Horses. How to Assess the Healthy Weight For A Horse. Why Horses Lose Weight … Older Horse Weight Loss. Weight Loss Calipers All of these changes are necessary for the weight loss to happen but it’s hard to get … Learn to Care for Your Horse’s Teeth – Horses – About.com – Horses that have a diet that includes much softer material like alfalfa and grain … Senior horses may start to lose their teeth, and this can make it very hard for the … Why Horses Lose Weight – Diet, Weather and Health – About.com – Learn the various reasons a horse may lose weight or may not gain weight. The most common reason for weight loss in older horses is dental problems. If your horse is losing weight or tires easily in work and is eating free choice quality hay or pasture you’ll need to increase the horse’s feed concentrates. Learn what causes diarrhea in horses and what you should if your horse has … Under feeding can be a problem with senior horses and horses that are working … It’s actually a great feed for horses that need to put on weight and those who require feed that doesn’t …
You are here: Home > Chronic Weight Loss in Horses. Chronic Weight Loss in Horses. Weight loss is simply a result of more calories being used by the body than are being consumed. Remarkably, horses can survive chronic weight loss. Poor Quality or Limited Feed –Probably the most common cause of weight loss is poor quality or limited feed. Dental problems are a significant cause of weight loss in horses. Internal parasites, such as worms, compete with the horses’ body for nutrients and often result in weight loss. A number of other diseases and chronic health problems can result in weight loss. In order for horses to recover from the disease and gain weight, the disease or health issue must first be treated and resolved. Before any nutritional intervention is imposed, a proper estimate of the horse’s body weight and body condition score is needed. Once you have identified the cause of the chronic weight loss in the horse it is time to begin implementing feeding strategies to enhance weight gain. The question then becomes “what should I feed my horse for weight gain?” Thin horses will gain weight and do so without having to eat as much grain if the diet is fortified with additional fat.
The appearance of the senior horse may give useful suggestions as to what changes need to be made in its diet. The senior horse may need additional a high quality protein source containing the essential amino acids lysine, methionine and threonine, the first 3 limiting amino acids, to rebuild muscle mass. The loss of muscle mass may also be accompanied by dull hair coat and loss of hoof quality. The change in hair coat and hoof quality may also be associated with a deficiency of key trace minerals in the diet as well as key vitamins. Changes in body condition, muscle mass, hair coat and hoof quality may all indicate the need for dietary changes.
My 32 year old gelding i got 6 years ago lost his friend a couple years ago and got pretty depressed but stayed fat and so when i had the chance this year i found him a cute little mare buddy to keep him company and he seems muh happier and more active, but my family member that lets me keep him heir said they. Show more My 32 year old gelding i got 6 years ago lost his friend a couple years ago and got pretty depressed but stayed fat and so when i had the chance this year i found him a cute little mare buddy to keep him company and he seems muh happier and more active, but my family member that lets me keep him heir said they wanted her gone so i moved them both to my old school mentors house, i dont ride him anymore and he gets fed seperately 1 coffee can of senior feed eah mornin and each night, though he doesnt have much teeth so we put water in his feed tand mush it up for him, but hes loosing weight so fast, even i winter ive never had this problem, he would stay big and fat, at the beginning of the year no one could believe he was over 14 or 15, and he would buck rear and gallop like a young horse and now, well he really looks his age of 32, he doesnt even like trotting much and now hes just a grat horse, he acts like a dog and behaves well, which is not like him, he likes running and jumping and such but he just doesnt now, he started losing his weight and attitude in just these three months, what could be wrong? And there isnt a good vet around here to call, i take a cat in to get fixed and he half killed the thing, so what should i feed him differently? Update: Yes i wormed him myself a little while a go, but i know hes getting old, but when i moved him to my mentors, he was fighting and galloping around the entire pasture bucking and rearing with the others, i know hes getting old, but it didnt show til about a couple months ago, and he should have gone down that far. Show more Yes i wormed him myself a little while a go, but i know hes getting old, but when i moved him to my mentors, he was fighting and galloping around the entire pasture bucking and rearing with the others, i know hes getting old, but it didnt show til about a couple months ago, and he should have gone down that far that fast, heres gotta be some problem. I will try to talk to the vet but im not letting him touch my horse, every time i take an animal their for somehig small, it either dies or gets very sick, my poor cat has a her ia so bad and im not paying him again to "fix" a problem he caused. And here in my town of 300 people in nebraska, theres not much else :/ so i should check if he has ulcers, and five him more senior feed and beat pellets? And maybe shredd some hay for him? My 32 year old gelding i got 6 years ago lost his friend a couple years ago and got pretty depressed but stayed fat and so when i had the chance this year i found him a cute little mare buddy to keep him company and he seems muh happier and more active, but my family member that lets me keep him heir said they wanted her gone so i moved them both to my old school mentors house, i dont ride him anymore and he gets fed seperately 1 coffee can of senior feed eah mornin and each night, though he doesnt have much teeth so we put water in his feed tand mush it up for him, but hes loosing weight so fast, even i winter ive never had this problem, he would stay big and fat, at the beginning of the year no one could believe he was over 14 or 15, and he would buck rear and gallop like a young horse and now, well he really looks his age of 32, he doesnt even like trotting much and now hes just a grat horse, he acts like a dog and behaves well, which is not like him, he likes running and jumping and such but he just doesnt now, he started losing his weight and attitude in just these three months, what could be wrong?
Tips for Maintaining Senior Horses' Weight. Senior horses comprise a unique portion of the equine population, often harboring special dental and dietary needs. She noted that some older horses lose weight when offered poor- to moderate-quality hay. As scientists have recognized the presence of inflamm-aging and immunosenescence in older horses, they’ve studied diets that could minimize the impact of normal aging phenomena. Gordon suggested the following ways to help keep weight on senior horses: “Forage can simply be too variable in composition and quality for some senior horses,” she added. “Although weight loss is common in older horses, bear in mind that not all horses are thin,” she said. “Many senior horses are still easy keepers capable and willing to eat hay. Drylots, grazing muzzles, and slow-feed haynets are beneficial not only for senior horses with EMS but also for those that are overweight and easy keepers. Such tools will keep horses happier while controlling their intake and avoiding “hangry horse syndrome.” Other tips for senior EMS horse diets include: feeding grass hay instead of legumes, soaking hay to remove excess sugar, and offering a mineral supplement or ration balancer if hay is soaked (minerals can be lost during the soaking process).
Dental and mouth problems may also lead to weight loss. Problems with swallowing caused by tumors or disease also lead to weight loss. Chronic, painful conditions such as arthritis, chronic laminitis, non-healing wounds, invasive tumors, or other conditions that reduce the horse's mobility, desire for food, and ability to graze will lead to weight loss, as will chronic infections such as EIA, internal abscesses, chronic bacterial infections, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Lymphosarcoma is the most common internal cancer in horses and often affects the liver, spleen, and lungs, leading to loss of weight. Chronic diarrhea and parasitism of the large intestine, granulomatous enteritis, and ulcerative lesions lead to loss of body fluids, competition for nutrients in the gastrointestinal tract, inflammation, micronutrient deficiencies, and loss of appetite and weight in stricken horses, with serious consequences if not diagnosed and treated. Another cause of serious weight loss in horses relates to insufficient feed, poor quality feed, or the wrong combination of feed for the horse's energy or nutrient requirements. Much of the prevention of weight loss is based on sound horse management, quick and accurate diagnosis of diseases and conditions, careful attention to the demands for nutritional intake based on exercise and performance levels, and knowledge of each particular horse's ongoing physical condition. Some horses are thin by nature, so it is mainly when a horse loses weight combined with a loss of condition that owners and handlers should be concerned. First and foremost, treatment of weight loss depends on accurate diagnosis and treatment of the disease or condition that is causing the horse to lose weight.
Why Horses Lose Weight. Learn Why Horses Lose Weight and What You Can Do About It. Even when there seems to be a lot of pasture grass to eat, horses can lose weight during the summer months. Over the years I’ve owned a number of horses that were hard to keep weight on. If you have a horse that just isn’t putting on, or maintaining a healthy weight, here are some reasons and what to do. The most obvious reason a horse may lose weight is because it is not eating enough. It’s not unusual for horses in the summer months to lose weight. In addition to protection from the heat of the day, and the bites of the mosquitoes and other flies, horses that have problems keeping weight on in summer could benefit from extra feed, whether it’s good-quality hay in the barn where it can relax and eat without fretting at the bugs, or a concentrate or supplement to help put on weight. The best way to keep your horse warm and at a healthy weight is to offer lots of good-quality hay. The most common reason for weight loss in older horses is dental problems . Even if they haven’t fallen out, they may have sharp edges and hooks that make it difficult and painful for the horse to chew its food efficiently. Many horses in the prime of their lives can have dental problems that interfere with chewing. This can lead to weight loss simply because the horse that is being bullied can’t get enough to eat in addition to being stressed. The first step to discovering the cause of the weight loss is to determine exactly how much the horse is eating. If after increasing the feed and being sure the horse is dewormed, there is no improvement you may need to consult a veterinarian about checking the horse’s teeth.
Senior horses that have difficulty maintaining weight often have dental problems. Regular floating and other maintenance by a qualified individual might keep some of those problems at bay, but for senior horses, one of the primary issues is tooth loss. These front teeth are usually the last ones lost by aged horses. The cheek teeth or molars, those found further back in the mouth, are the ones that affect the digestive capability of the horse. Complete feeds are those that can be fed as the sole ration, and are usually composed of an energy-rich roughage base (dehydrated alfalfa meal and/or dehydrated beet pulp, for instance) with energy, protein, and mineral-vitamin supplements added. Chopped hay should be premium quality, with alfalfa or a mixture of high-quality grass hay and alfalfa probably the best choices. These supplements often come in the form of a pellet and can be moistened to increase palatability. Some horsemen find that aged horses do well on alfalfa hay. While they are probably going to be unable to chew the stems, many horses with compromised dentition will shake or move the hay so that the leaves, which are the most nutritious part of the plant, fall off the stems and can be picked up. Horses that require still further calories to maintain weight can be fed fat in the form of vegetable oil, rice bran, or a fat supplement. This situation changed with the advent of more specialized and efficient deworming protocols, and today researchers see little difference in nutrient absorption between young and old horses. Well-fortified feeds made especially for seniors are also suggested, as they often contain energy sources that are easily fermented in the hindgut.
Topics › Rapid Weight Loss in Horse. Rapid Weight Loss in Horse. We have added some weight builder to his grain with no change and he is up to date on his deworming. The rapid weight loss you describe is very concerning so let’s make sure we’re on the same page. What is the body condition score (BCS) of each of your horses? What is the actual weight of each of your horses? Weight tapes are surprisingly accurate, especially when used by the same person in the same way each time. I recommend weighing your hay and grain to make sure he’s getting at least 2% of his body weight each day. I also recommend that you keep a journal of this horse’s BCS, weight, diet, preventive care and medical work to help you get to the bottom of this alarming issue. With luck you’ll find a trend that explains his weight loss.
An older horse faces the same situations as senior humans. The horse might become swayback. Whatever the reason behind the weight loss, simple changes combined with a visit from the vet will fatten the horse up and make it more comfortable. Whole grain pieces become visible in the horse's manure as a result and signals the horse's need to see the equine dentist. The equine dentist will file down-called floating-the horse's teeth with a rasp. Set up an appointment with your local dentist if the horse seems uncomfortable or in pain when eating. Eating slowly or without relish may also indicate a problem with the horse's teeth. As age wears down a horse's teeth, grain and hay become hard for the horse to eat. Senior horse feed contains nutrients geared toward older horses. If you suspect this may be your horse's problem, call your veterinarian to confirm the problem and follow her recommendations for substitutes such as hay cubes. Pain can cause a horse to lose weight and even to stop eating completely. The pain can originate from old injuries and arthritis. Call a veterinarian to check for any physical cause, and follow the directions given by the veterinarian to alleviate the pain.
Recently switched the feed brand to Purina Senior (vet recommended), about a month ago, and upped his intake on feed from 4 cups to 6. Right now i'm desperate and i need to do all i can because i'm not seeing a real difference in his weight since i got him (6 months ago). He's seen the vet twice already- when i first got him (had a bunch of tests done also) and in october and he's wormed regularly (every month like the vet said) got his teeth floated in october also and the dentist said they weren't bad at all, and he has really nice teeth for his age. But I'm really worried about his weight and the fact that he has terrible arthritis.legs are constantly swollen, and recently been showing signs of blindness :( He's turned out to be the best horse i've ever owned, my best friend and we have the strongest bond now. I'm scared that i'll lose him over the winter and not sure how to avoid it. As i said, he's seen the vet and i know theres not much anyone can do cause of his age. Also, he's only being fed twice a day because i have to take him out of the pasture to eat since he eats more than my 3 other guys and they like to get roughly (1 yr old, 3 yr old,n 4 year old), and he hates the walk out. Since 2 months ago he's been turning his nose up at the feed, even if i add molasses. (Despite the age difference of him and the other boys, they all love each other, the lack of appetite isn't because hes stressed out). Update 2: Yippers- the feed hes on says to give a minimum of 6lbs when given hay also. Update 3: And also, it's impossible to seperate from the others. And yes, the bag says to give a 1000lb horse 13lbs of feed if they're not getting hay. Update 5: The younger horses arent stressing him out, espically my 5 year old, hes like his best friend. Show more The younger horses arent stressing him out, espically my 5 year old, hes like his best friend. I'm not ignoring his signs, i deal with it daily the best i can and i know he's going downhill, i just want to make him comfortable before that terrible day comes where i have to say goodbye.
Weight Loss in Senior Horses: A Pain in the Mouth? According to one study focusing on special senior needs*, 100% of the 69 senior horses examined had dental abnormalities. “Older horses have to chew much more than younger horses to produce the same amount of saliva. Saliva helps horses swallow their food and contains bicarbonate to buffer, or reduce the acidity, of the stomach,” Crandell added. Approximately 5-12% of the human population has arthritis of the TMJ and suffers from a clicking jaw, pain, difficulty chewing, and decreased mobility of the joint. In horses, disease of the TMJ is also thought to negatively affect chewing*, though far less is known about TMJ disease in horses than humans. In their study, Smyth and coworkers discovered that horses with TMJ disease alter the side of the mouth they preferred to chew on, and that the three phases of chewing (opening, closing, and the power stroke) were all markedly different than in horses with healthy TMJs. The authors concluded that some horses with TMJ inflammation had significant discomfort, decreased feed efficiency, and quidding .
Weight Loss and the Aging Horse. Cancer is rare in the equine world, but as the horse ages anything goes. For example, thyroid cancer is limited to older horses and causes dramatic weight loss. Dental disorders can easily contribute to weight loss if they interfere with the horse’s ability to thoroughly chew hay. The horse may or may not quid but by not chewing forcefully enough the food particles are not broken down as efficiently so not exposed as well to digestive juices and enzymes. The solution for chewing difficulties is to change the diet. Regular hay can still be provided to keep the horse busy but do not count on it for any calories. Moderate amounts of fat can be a good addition for calories but you should first be sure the horse is also eating the required amount of protein, vitamins and minerals since fat is otherwise empty calories. Senior horse weight loss is common but not inevitable. Work with your veterinarian to rule out serious illness and identify the cause. Eleanor Kellon is the Staff Veterinary Specialist for Uckele Health and Nutrition .
Following a year of rehabilitation after losing the use of his left side, he is living a normal life again and is able to walk, trot, canter, and play in the pasture with the other horses. Currently I have him eating 4 3/4 pounds of senior feed morning and night (with about 10-12 hours between the feedings), a scoop of comprehensive wellness supplement twice a day in his feed, and all the timothy hay he wants to eat. We make sure that my horse has everything that he needs to live a comfortable life, but is there anything else I should discuss with my veterinarian about Bert's weight, or do you have any other recommendations to try? First of all, kudos to you and your veterinarian for giving Bert the opportunities he needs to live a full and comfortable life. However, I do think there are a few changes you could make to your geriatric horse's diet to improve his body condition. You can begin with one to two ounces of corn oil per meal to see if your horse will eat his feed with the added oil, and if he finds it tasty, you can work up to two cups per day. Don't give the oil by syringe if he does not like it; instead you can try another type of oil, although research shows that horses prefer corn oil to other types. Another fat source that horses often like is rice bran, which comes in powdered or pelleted form and can be mixed in with the grain. In addition to adding a fat source, you can increase your horse's senior feed ration. As you know, good dental care for the geriatric horse is essential, and ideally he should have his teeth checked every six months. If he is not actually consuming his hay, you will need to supply all of his nutrition with senior feed and the added oil.
Sudden or chronic weight loss in any animal is cause for concern and your horse is no exception. Here are the most common causes for weight loss in horses and tips to help bring your horse’s weight back up to where it needs to be. This hampers your horse’s ability to absorb nutrients and can result in malnutrition and weight loss. Many horses, particularly senior horses, lose weight in the winter and will gain it back over the summer. Knowing your own horse’s individual habits and needs is one of the best ways to help him reach his optimal weight. First Steps to Identifying the Cause of Your Horse’s Weight Loss. If you notice your horse losing weight, have your vet out to perform a full physical exam, including dental exam, and take blood and manure for analysis. Your veterinarian will determine which tests are the most appropriate for your horse based on history and clinical signs. A weight tape is a useful tool for estimating and monitoring your horse's weight. To help your horse gain weight, first have your hay and/or pasture analyzed for nutrients. Find the Right Feed for Your Horse. If you are providing a complete feed for your horse, compare the feed’s ingredients and label with your horse’s age, physical fitness, health status, and weight. If Your Horse Still Can’t Gain Weight…
The first factor that should be checked when assessing causes for weight loss is the condition of their teeth. High grain, low roughage diets can also cause stress as a result of gastric ulcers that are painful to the horses and may discourage them from eating. Disease or illness can also interfere with weight gain either by decreasing the horse’s appetite or by directly affecting nutrient absorption within the digestive tract. If all these can be eliminated and your horse is still not putting on weight, the next step is to evaluate your horses’ diet. Fibre: Of the three major energy sources (fibre, carbohydrates and fat) for the horse, fibre is the most important. For the poor doer, however, fibre alone will not maintain weight, but there are fibre sources with higher energy content and digestibility than others. When comparing the energy content of lucerne and grass hays, lucerne hay can provide a horse with more energy than grass hay of similar quality. While grain is a concentrated source of energy for the horse, there are some complications with feeding large quantities. When trying to get a thin horse to gain weight, it is often tempting to keep increasing the amount of grain being fed. Make sure the horse is always getting at least 1.5 to 2% of their body weight in the form of fibre and a good rule of thumb is to try and stick to a roughage to grain ratio of around 70:30. Research has indicated that adding 5 to 10% fat to the total diet has maintained the body weight of horses with a 21 to 25% decrease in concentrate intake. Adding fat to a horse’s diet permits safe weight gain while reducing the chance of colic or founder. Thin horses will gain weight and do so without having to eat as much grain if the diet is fortified with additional fat. After addressing all possible causes for the horse’s weight loss, increasing the amount and quality of fibre the horse is receiving should be the first dietary change made, followed by increasing the energy density of the concentrate portion of the ration.
You are here: Home › Blog › Webinars › Feeding The Senior Horse. Feeding The Senior Horse. Like people, horses age at different rates, so there is no set age where a horse is considered “old.” However, there are some key physiological changes that will tell you if your older horse needs a senior feed. While these changes may be obvious, there are other internal changes happening in the senior horse that we can’t see. What Does the Senior Horse Need? Forages should be the foundation of all horse diets, and it is important to ensure that the senior horse is eating at least 1.5% of his body weight in forage per day. After a senior horse’s forage needs are met, the next step is to provide enough good quality protein in the diet. Similar to protein, the quality of the minerals in an older horse’s feed need to be of the highest quality so that the senior horse can absorb them. In addition, a senior horse will have an elevated need for phosphorus because they can’t digest the mineral as easily. Remember, many older horses will have dental problems and will not be able to chew grass or hay, so a good senior feed needs to have enough fiber to help replace this forage. If the senior horse is one that is on the thin side and needs more calories, a quality senior feed will be supplemented with fat to add safe energy. At their core, there are two things that make a senior feed special – the feed is easy to digest and higher in digestible fibers. Properly formulated senior feeds can easily support the nutritional needs of both the growing and working horse because they are well fortified with quality protein, fiber, and minerals. Knowing this, there is no harm in switching an older horse onto a senior feed before they show the physical signs of aging. The end goal of managing a senior horse is to keep them healthy and comfortable into their golden years, and feeding a quality senior feed is part of the management program that can achieve this goal.
Pet advice › Care of the older horse. Care of the older horse. The horse may however, develop more serious signs of ageing and this can range from loss of appetite and difficulty eating, to laminitis, arthritis, Cushing’s disease, cataracts and weight loss. However, good management and appropriate exercise on veterinary advice, can reduce the degree to which it inhibits the horse. Melanomas and sarcoids are the most common skin tumours of the horse. On the other hand, the older horse should not be allowed to become too fat, as obesity can aggravate arthritis, lead to laminitis (founder), and stress the cardiovascular system. The older horse will be more susceptible to laminitis. Once a horse has had laminitis he will always be susceptible, the older horse more so. In the older horse, tooth problems can limit the horse’s ability to chew. With the help of your vet, monitor the ability and enthusiasm of your horse for its job. As the horse loses muscle the saddle will sit lower and will need adjusting by your saddler.
Senior Horses Need Weight Management. Senior horses, just like senior people, might not have the brightest of lives in their old age. But while this is commonly known, one thing people might forget is that senior horses badly need weight management as well. Horses are animals that have the ability to pull out the nutrients they need even from poor quality forage. The problem is that this also creates a misunderstanding in horse owners’ minds that the forage they are giving to their horses is good enough for them in old age as well. In actuality, however, many horses’ ability to absorb the required nutrients from the food they eat is diminished heavily, so it becomes imperative to get the best quality of food that you can give them. What this means is that senior horses not only need weight management, but also need to be taken care of because of a weaker immune system. The first thing you should do, especially if you notice that your senior horse is not happy about the forage it’s being fed, is to replace forage with complete feed. If your senior horse is losing weight, the best way to remedy this is to provide them with more energy. Senior Horses can also be Obese. Old age in horses doesn’t only mean that they lose weight. Senior horses not only require to be fed special food based on their individual needs, but also some sessions in weight management so that you can be sure that your horse is not losing or gaining weight in an unhealthy fashion.
Feeding the Wrong Quantity or Quality of Hay. Feeding the Wrong Quantity or Quality of Grain. Feeding more grain morning and night can actually cause your horse to lose weight , since processed feeds are harder for horses to digest (especially in large quantities). Undigested starch in the hindgut can cause diarrhea, ulcers , colic and plenty of other problems that cause weight loss. Just as you probably don’t feel like guzzling ice-cold water when it’s snowing outside, horses are also more prone to dehydration in the wintertime — and care givers who forget to break the ice on water buckets don’t help things! Since horses need water to process their food, dehydration can lead to all sorts of problems in the hindgut, including increased acidity and toxins that can make your horse uncomfortable or lead to more serious issues like hindgut acidosis , colonic ulcers , and colic . Also, these starches and sugars can reach the hindgut when the horse is unable to chew properly and consumes grain meals too quickly. Undigested starch in the hindgut creates lactic acid which causes the horse discomfort, and can also lead to colic and laminitis. A horse’s age plays a major role in his ability to maintain winter weight, as the fingerlike projections that absorb nutrients in a horse’s digestive tract don’t work as well as the horse ages. Common problems identified, we’ll talk about how to evaluate your horse’s weight and condition in the next post so you can target winter weight loss problems early on — or before they begin. Be sure to subscribe to the SUCCEED blog or sign up for email notifications in the sidebar so you don’t miss Part 2: Assessing your horse’s condition .
Managing the Changing Needs of Older Horses. But with me, the new groom, Convoy made it clear that he didn't like his back brushed, he didn't want to take his medicine, and he didn't want to be bothered by the younger horses around the barn. Possibly the most common and easily overlooked cause of malnutrition or weight loss in old horses is tooth loss or dental damage. "Once you reach the point when the teeth are already loose and the horses have dental disease, those problems can't be corrected, and you end up pulling the tooth," he says. "If older horses take in and absorb more calcium than they need," says Ralston, "it will have to be excreted through the kidneys. "Senior feeds help the older horse absorb his protein and carbohydrates better," says Kellon. "Soaking the feed reduces the chance that the horses will choke, and it gets extra water into them." Geriatric horses tend to be more susceptible to infections, abscesses and other ailments than younger horses living under the same conditions. The study suggests that older horses can't handle the combined demand of exercise and heat as well as younger horses." Harmonious social dynamics in the field are a great boon to an aging horse's health and attitude. Pushy younger horses can deprive him of the basic creature comforts, including food, shade and shelter. "One of the biggest mistakes is to turn the geriatric horse loose with a bunch of horses and figure that he'll be okay," says Kellon. Maintaining a horse's soundness can be difficult at any age, but geriatric animals have the added burden of years of wear and slow, insidious orthopedic damage that often catches up with them later in life. Your veterinarian can assess the horse's condition and prescribe appropriate treatments.
The Daily Feed – For Healthy Horses. Cancer is rare in the equine world, but as the horse ages anything goes. For example, thyroid cancer is limited to older horses and causes dramatic weight loss. Dental disorders can easily contribute to weight loss if they interfere with the horse’s ability to thoroughly chew hay. The horse may or may not quid but by not chewing forcefully enough the food particles are not broken down as efficiently so not exposed as well to digestive juices and enzymes. The solution for chewing difficulties is to change the diet. Regular hay can still be provided to keep the horse busy but do not count on it for any calories. Moderate amounts of fat can be a good addition for calories but you should first be sure the horse is also eating the required amount of protein, vitamins and minerals since fat is otherwise empty calories. Work with your veterinarian to rule out serious illness and identify the cause.
Horse was blanketed and has shelter. Still skinny, but about the same as before (although was hoping for weight gain with better weather). Get vet back out again and again. Later in day only eating the fat pellets and few of the hay pellets. Now just picking at food and not eating much at all. No interest in food when put up, not even the fat suppliment (which she normally chows down and begs for). She has not gone off food on drugs before, so think this is disease progression and not related to medication. If she's losing weight at the height of summer even with all that you're giving her, it would appear she's not processing her food any longer. If she can't keep her weight now, she's not going to make it through the next winter. He was the first horse I raised and trained that I was able to keep.
Colic and Weight Loss in Senior Horses By Kentucky Equine Research Staff · February 12, 2015. According to Secombe, colic is the digestive system problem most often seen in older horses. Choke, which may be related to poor dental condition, is also seen more often in older horses compared to younger ones. Weight loss is another frequent problem among senior horses.
Keeping Weight on the Older Horse. Usually the horse is over twenty. While this program does not work for every horse, my experience has been that most horses will gain between 80 and 120 pounds in the first two months on the intensive program. First, I will de-worm the horse and float the teeth. By floating the horse's teeth you increase his ability to grind his food. By pulling the teeth and grinding or cutting hooks, a horse can once again eat the food they want to eat without pain. So, if the horse is in the other horses, I will ask that he be removed and fed separately. Once they are stable separately, I will take the horse off hay completely and switch his feed to free choice "All in One". I will start the horse an a three shot program of anabolic steroids. By eliminating from the horse's belly any worms on a daily basis, you increase the food that goes to the horse not the worms. Additionally, I will add an extruded horse food to the diet.