Increasing horse's appetite?

Discussion in 'Horse Health' started by all4him, Oct 4, 2017.

  1. all4him

    all4him Senior Member

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    A friend of mine has a horse (8 year old OTTB who she has had since he was 3) who has had on and off colicking, had a colon displacement surgery in December (had the area tacked to stomach wall), started colicking again about 5 weeks ago and finally had a colon resection done 3 weeks ago. The horse just got his staples out last night. He's just not doing well, in our opinion. The owner is a wreck and the vet can't find anything clinically wrong - his blood work is good, he's pooping fine, drinking fine but he's just not into eating right now. I go over daily and hand walk him and let him graze but even yesterday he wasn't totally into grazing although he did eat as we walked along but not with the normal gusto of a horse. Today I'm going to go over and set up some ground poles now that the staples are out to try to make things interesting as we walk without exerting him but we don't know what else to do. He's getting TC Senior and the owner has tried it wet, soupy and dry and some meals he gobbles it up and others....eh. I got there yesterday about 2 hours after he was fed and his bucket was mostly full of his lunch and even if I went to hand feed him, he didn't want it. He will eat hay - he's happy with that. So any thoughts on what else to do? He's on stall rest with hand walking allowed and she lets him lose in the barn at night while she's cleaning up and he will wander around, picking up stray strands of hay. But he's just not eating like a horse should.
     
  2. Kristal H

    Kristal H Senior Member

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    Get get some Nutrena Safe Choice Senior, it has a strong licorice smell to it, Mix 5lbs of the feed with 2 gallons Hot water and 1/2 gallon apple juice. Let stand for 10 minutes and feed. It is important that the water is Hot when you mix it. The warmth licorice and apple smell will encourage the horse to eat, Offer fresh at least 3 times per day.

    Once the horse is eating this well slowly back out the apple juice, and the you can slowly transfer the feed back to triple crown if preferred.
     
  3. BluemoonOKy

    BluemoonOKy Senior Member

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    Please answer all questions for best help.
    What is his hay situation? How much is he eating and what kind? I'd be adding soaked beet pulp (and I wouldn't care if it had molasses in it because eating is more important right now) and alfalfa. Onky high quality tested hay like alfalfa orchard is what i use. Id have him on whole oats, which is the most easily digestible grain and I'd soak overnight and sprout them. Eliminate all soy and corn. Get some rice bran (only rice bran and nothing else added) and mix it. Also a cup of flax a day. Why and how long is he on rest? What was his management situation before the colics? Impaction? What kind of work wss he in? I'd get some rite trac from ker and do it twice a day for a month, then once a day for a month, then half dose for a couple of weeks to wean.
     
  4. all4him

    all4him Senior Member

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    What is his hay situation? How much is he eating and what kind?
    Hay right now a very soft small stem hay - I'm guessing timothy and stuff? I'm not sure - the owner grabbed a few bales from a friend who is a TB breeder and she has a delivery coming on Sunday. Vet had said the softest hay possible for him and he's very much enjoying it. He's getting free choice but he's not going at it like gangbusters. He's got a few flakes in a hay net for all day and it is still there at night when it is time to give him more.

    I'd be adding soaked beet pulp (and I wouldn't care if it had molasses in it because eating is more important right now) and alfalfa. Onky high quality tested hay like alfalfa orchard is what i use.
    She has a large bale of alfalfa coming in and she's giving him the little bit she has along with his hay. She's just wanting him to eat so if he's eating it, he gets it but he's not going crazy on the hay or alfalfa.

    Id have him on whole oats, which is the most easily digestible grain and I'd soak overnight and sprout them.
    He doesn't want the oats - soaked, fresh, in food or anything. We've tried it all. :(

    Eliminate all soy and corn. Get some rice bran (only rice bran and nothing else added) and mix it. Also a cup of flax a day.
    She's added rice bran and flax but he's just not eating the grain (as I said, TC Senior). She's fed it soupy (how he's always had it because her other old horse needs it that way and this guy decided he does too), like thick oatmeal and dry and he still is "eh" about it.

    Why and how long is he on rest?
    He's on stall rest until the 15th and then he can go in his small paddock but he's a NUT in there so she's going to keep him on stall rest for a little longer to be sure that he doesn't wreck himself. He had a full colon resection 3 weeks ago.

    What was his management situation before the colics? Impaction? What kind of work wss he in? I'd get some rite trac from ker and do it twice a day for a month, then once a day for a month, then half dose for a couple of weeks to wean.
    He's in an in and out stall on a dry lot (no pasture on the property) and got fed 4x a day (the other horse gets fed 4x a day so he does too). Free choice hay and TC Senior. No impaction colics - all displacement. He colicked the first time the day he came and he's been a problem child ever since, colicking at least once a year since then (he came in 4 years ago). He hasn't been in any work because of the owner's schedule so he's just a lawn ornament. He's been on Platinum which paid for his first colic surgery but I'll tell her about Rite Trac.
     
  5. all4him

    all4him Senior Member

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    We've tried the safe choice senior and he wants nothing to do with it.
     
  6. Dona Worry

    Dona Worry Senior Member

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    What if you give him a break from grain? If he's having a hard time healthwise, maybe the grain just isn't agreeing with him. Try just giving him hay for a day or so, then offering a literal handful of grain to see if he takes it.
    It sounds like he's been under a lot of stress, he might have a sour tummy. I think I have seen some very fine, fluffified alfalfa at Tractor Supply co, maybe take a look and see if they carry something like that, and offer it to him for a few days instead of grain, see if he takes it.
     
  7. Kristal H

    Kristal H Senior Member

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    I would not feed him any hay or any hard grain, until he is eating soft feed on a normal basis unless your vet has specifically authorized it. That last thing you want is for undogested hay to impact and cause more pain to his healing digestive track.

    I have delt with a lot of rescues and a chronic cokic horse of my own due to scaring in their hind but. Once they have had this type of damage and surgery they are never completely normal. They often do not fair well being fed like a normal horse.

    My vet hospital is very much a no hay,but wet grass is ok with impactiion and displacement type colic until the gut motility is back to normal and the horse has healed.

    Work very closely with your surgeon on diet.
     
  8. Kristal H

    Kristal H Senior Member

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    Have you tried serving it or the TC hot with the apple juice?
     
  9. all4him

    all4him Senior Member

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    He was approved to eat hay and grain by the surgeon. He was actually off of all hay before the surgery in case the long stem forage was causing issues (so he was on just senior grain and grazing - and I'd go over once a day to hand walk him and let him graze since his owner is a teacher) but once he had the surgery, he was worked his way back up to allowance of hay and senior feed and has been approved for the soft hay and senior grain.
     
  10. slc

    slc Senior Member

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    "He will eat hay, he's happy with that".

    That's how a horse should eat. Stop trying to push concentrates on him.

    Take his temperature, pulse and respiration. If those are not normal, if he's not getting 10-15 lbs of hay cleaned up, it's a matter for the vet, not a bulletin board. It's normal for a horse to lose some weight after such a big surgery and it's normal for a horse to be slow to pick up.

    No ground poles. They cause the horse to stretch the skin on his belly. Hand walk and take him to grass. Take it easy, give it time, don't push him so much.

     

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