Hay Belly vs. Fat... *Pictures Added*

Discussion in 'Horse Health' started by PreppyxCowgirl, Oct 24, 2008.

  1. PreppyxCowgirl

    PreppyxCowgirl Senior Member

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    What is the difference between a "hay belly" and being obese? Is there a difference? My mini has quite the belly on him and I am trying to get it off of him, but I'm not sure what to change in his feeding.

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  2. Blondehorse

    Blondehorse Senior Member

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    A horse can have a so-called 'hay belly' without actually being too fat. If the ribs cannot be easily felt, if there is a 'gutter' down the middle of his back, pads of fat behind the shoulders, etc, then he is too fat. If he doesn't seem to be carrying a bunch of fat, but just has a big belly, that's what some people call a 'hay belly'. Or, he may be too fat AND have a 'hay belly'! ;) However, a belly can be caused by a number of things. Worms, and poor quality roughage are two causes I can think of off the top of my head.
     
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  3. MackieH

    MackieH Full Member

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    It has been my experience and observation, that the vast majority of the "grass or hay bellies" are a result of insufficent bacteria in the cecum. Therefore there is a larger amount of undigested matter in the cecum. Typically these horse can be a bit more gassy and this gas is foul smelling.

    The horse being a hindgut fermentor...."bugs" are critical to complete digestion. If this is the problem...introduce a good, viable and wide spread probiotic to your horse and that "grass or hay belly" will disappear in a few weeks if not sooner.

    The indicators given by Blondhorse were dead on where fat dispostion is concerned.
     
  4. Dawn

    Dawn Senior Member

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    They are different. A horse can have a hay belly and be thin. A horse can have a hay belly and be fat. Or a horse can be fat without a hay belly.

    A hay belly is caused by some sort of 'bloating'. When caused by 'hay' (hence the name) it's due to too much hay just sitting in the digestive tract waiting to be digested. This can be caused either by poor quality hay or by a sluggish digestive system (or both).

    It can also be caused by parasites, sand accumulation, and malnutrition.
     
  5. PreppyxCowgirl

    PreppyxCowgirl Senior Member

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    Hmmm... now I'm not sure where to start. Should I lower grain or hay?
     
  6. Dawn

    Dawn Senior Member

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    That depends on exactly what she's getting and how much (both grain and hay). If she's getting 'grain' (as in actual grain) cut it out. She definately does not need it. If it's simply a fortified feed that does not contain grain, that's a different story.
     
  7. Barefoot4Hooves

    Barefoot4Hooves Full Member

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    That depends on if it is actually hay belly or a fat belly! You have gotten some very good advice on determining which it is (or isn't). If it is fat, then yes, depending on how much hay and grain, you may want to cut back on one or both (most likely the grain).

    If your mini is not fat anywhere but the big belly, then it may be hay belly.
    When was the last time you wormed? If it has been longer than 8 weeks you need to do that.

    If you decide it is hay belly then you should try the probiotics. Begin to eliminate causes. As it is mentioned many times on this forum, there is alot of BS in products out there, what works and what doesn't.
    I have seen great results with the Equine Challenge Probiotics and hay belly's.

    I don't know that I have ever seen a mini though that didn't have some kind of a belly ;) Do you have any pictures you can share?
     
  8. PreppyxCowgirl

    PreppyxCowgirl Senior Member

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    I will get pictures soon. He is not fat anywhere else but his belly is huge!
     
  9. PreppyxCowgirl

    PreppyxCowgirl Senior Member

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    So how do I get rid of his hay belly?
     
  10. Dawn

    Dawn Senior Member

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    I'm concerned by how sunken in his flank looks in the photo from above.

    Can we have info about his diet? Deworming? Teeth?
     

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