Increasing horse's appetite?

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

  1. RG NIGHT HEIR

    RG NIGHT HEIR Senior Member

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2016
    Messages:
    363
    Likes Received:
    395
    Sore abdominal area due to surgery I wouldn't want to eat.
    Ulcers might also be an issue for not wanting to eat.
     
  2. LoveTrail

    LoveTrail Senior Member

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2011
    Messages:
    5,240
    Likes Received:
    4,872
    Agree with the last two comments. No ground poles and he most likely has ulcers now if he didn't before and not eating the grain can be a first step towards full blown ulcers.

    When my mare had her surgery, she didn't have grain for weeks and hay was slowly built up in her diet.
     
  3. all4him

    all4him Senior Member

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2009
    Messages:
    5,297
    Likes Received:
    8,209
    His owner isn't "pushing" but following the vet's instructions. He's cleared for grain, hay and grazing and he's just not himself and not eating the way he normally did. Even while he had torn his intestines and they were hanging on by a thread (literally) just before his surgery, he was looking to eat anything and everything. He ate the walls of his stall when he wasn't getting hay and just grain! But now he's just not interested.

    Those are normal.

    Vet knows - pulled more blood, gave fluids - really everything is showing up normal.

    Oh trust me - he's lost weight. But now that it's been 3 weeks and he was cleared for all his normal menu within the week of surgery - and he's just got no appetite, that is what we're concerned about. He grazed today quite happily but left his bucket full of grain and the hay net full of hay. He's under the care of his surgeon and his vet and he sees the vet a few times a week because of what is going on. I was just hoping someone here would have an idea of what might work to increase the appetite. I know he was probably sore (4 c-sections here and those staples are a bear) but by three weeks, he should be getting better and even with banamine on board, he still isn't interested in food so I don't think it is a pain issue. He's back on gastroguard so if there are ulcers, that might help.

    We've been hand walking daily and today we did the poles (he's stepping less than he has to step over his stall threshold because these are SMALL poles) a couple of times and used them to walk in between, stop and walk again. I tried to make it a bit more interesting. We did 5 minutes of that after 5 minutes of walking around the property, I let him graze for 15 and then back to hand walking for another 5. Poor guy is definitely bored. He went into his stall for a nap, ate some hay and then just hung there. That's just not him even when he's been sick before!
     
  4. all4him

    all4him Senior Member

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2009
    Messages:
    5,297
    Likes Received:
    8,209
    Could be but even with banamine on board he's not eating. Maybe a scope is in his future. He's starting back on gastroguard so if it is ulcers, that will help. It's just frustrating because he's FINALLY better after 10 long months and NOW he won't eat???? ARG!!!
     
    RG NIGHT HEIR likes this.
  5. lhoward

    lhoward Senior Member

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2011
    Messages:
    1,206
    Likes Received:
    2,536
    Wow, with this kind of surgery, I find it odd that he was cleared for his "normal diet" within a week.

    The digestive tract has been traumatized and altered quite severely. My mare had NO resections during her colic surgery, yet she was FAR more restricted in her diet and now is not supposed to even eat ANY grain anymore. It took a long time for her to recover properly. I fed her small meals through out the day for weeks !

    If the surgery truly was only 3 weeks ago, its no wonder the horse has no appetite yet. I would offer small meals (aside from free choice soft hay) 4 to 5 times the day. Nothing difficult to digest. And then give it time and patience. Its better off he stays lean for now, rather then push food and cause more pain and trauma to digestion. Let his body adjust slowly. IMHO.
     
  6. lhoward

    lhoward Senior Member

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2011
    Messages:
    1,206
    Likes Received:
    2,536
    Also, my Vet explained to me that with each surgery you create a lot more internal scar tissue. He said that horses almost heal "to" well and quickly. There usually are a lot of adhesion's that can create trouble.

    Every colic surgery is a really big trauma to a horses insides, it takes time and patience to recover fully. Especially if a resection has taken place.
     
    Mcdreamer likes this.
  7. all4him

    all4him Senior Member

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2009
    Messages:
    5,297
    Likes Received:
    8,209
    When he had his first surgery, he was much more restricted and just before this surgery he was not allowed hay and only well soaked senior feed (like soup). I was shocked that he was on hay by the end of the first day and was cleared for senior feed too within the first week! But yeah - he's getting smaller meals 4-5 times a day (4 times a day - every 6 hours - is his norm because of the other horse at the barn who can't eat hay). But last night he just was not himself - just standing outside in the smallest paddock while his stall was cleaned (which is about the size of 2 stalls so not big at all) and he was down a lot last night. This morning the owner is calling the vet because he is just.not.right. I'll be heading over there once the kids are off to school to hand walk him and hopefully meet the vet. :( This poor guy has been through the wringer!
     
  8. lhoward

    lhoward Senior Member

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2011
    Messages:
    1,206
    Likes Received:
    2,536
    It does sound bad. I feel terrible for the owner..I remember those days well.

    The constant fear and worry, it really brings one down and it is exhausting in itself.

    The vet that sat down with me was very open about everything. He explained that with every additional surgery, things just go downhill. He said that they "paint" the insides with something to keep the adhesions down, but they still happen, and the scar tissue gets worse every time. Each additional surgery just created many more problems.

    I'm still dumbfounded that they cleared him for a regular diet as well as more movement quite that soon. The second surgery seems even more invasive then the first? But I can only pull from my own experience.

    Either way, my thoughts are with the owner and the poor guy, too. Its just so hard on them and sometimes, the more you do, the worse things get :(

    Please keep us up to date.
     
  9. all4him

    all4him Senior Member

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2009
    Messages:
    5,297
    Likes Received:
    8,209
    OK - so vet came and tubed him. She said he did have a pocket of gas and was waiting to speak to the surgeon. She said to pull the hay and just let him eat the senior (free choice - which is maybe 2 lbs. a day if we're lucky) for now. I took him for a 30 minute walk up the driveway, down the driveway, around the ring, back out up the driveway, down the driveway - I should have put my Garmin watch on! LOL But then I brought him in, put him on the cross ties, groomed him, picked his feet and put him back in the stall. He drank a bunch of water, and went to find his hay. I noticed he had some senior still left in his bucket so I put some water on it to soak it a bit and then I went to sit outside and low and behold, he started eating the senior! He was all perked up and for the next 2 hours that I was there, he was doing great. I just peeked in on the camera right now and he's hunting for hay by the back door - he's NOT sleeping or laying down! That's good! But then he'll change again in a little while, I'm sure. That's what he keeps doing. I'm just hoping this is a rough recovery and not a sign of bad things. Poor guy deserves to recover after all he's been through!
     
  10. lhoward

    lhoward Senior Member

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2011
    Messages:
    1,206
    Likes Received:
    2,536
    Well, that is encouraging !!!

    Perhaps going back to a regular diet so quickly, was just to much, to quick?

    I'm not his vet or surgeon, neither do I recommend not following their advice, I'm just going by my own experiences with colic and colic surgery plus my gut feeling on this. Just putting this up front.

    I think what helped my mare tremendously was that she was able to eat constantly, but very small amounts. She was never able to really fill up quickly. In the beginning she was allowed one flake of hay per day, broken up into 4 feedings. That is when I started with "slow down" nets, so that it would last her longer and she wouldn't be tempted to scarf it all down in a hurry and then stand around with nothing for a while.

    Actually, the shape she was in, she couldn't really eat much more nor did she seem to want to. So the hay ended up lasting until the next time she was allowed to have any. As she got stronger and was allowed more hay, it would still last until next feeding in the slow down nets. Before I knew it, she was actually on "free choice" hay, because there was always some left. Up until that colic surgery she was fed the typical "twice the day" and it caused trouble all the time, because she was HUNGRY and ate the hay to fast, leaving long hours with an empty stomach. The Vets actually advised against free choice hay, but with the slow down net it just happened all on its own, without her ever overeating or eating to fast. All this is now 5 years ago. She used to colic at least once the year. No colics since then (knock on wood) She continues to get free choice hay in slow down bags (fed off the ground in big tubs) and she is on a ration balancer. They advised to never feed her grain anymore.

    During the critical weeks after the surgery it was vital that she would drink a lot. In addition to her regular water, I also hung buckets of "Molasses water". Made with "Black Strap Molasses" that has had the sugar cooked out 4 times and what is left is actually nutritious. She would drink GALLONS of that mix and peed so much she regularly flooded her stall and Mini Paddock (we cut her regular paddock down to 1/3 of its normal size to limit movement in the first 2 weeks).

    I would make sure that he drinks A LOT. Whatever he loves to drink, offer it. In addition to normal water. I would not allow him to get hungry, but I would also make sure he can't eat FAST and A LOT all at once, whether hay or feed. I would soak all food stuff, perhas even wet the hay. Small meals OFTEN seems to do the trick. If he gets hay, either small meals very often throughout the day, or feed it in a way that slows him down.

    Hope he pulls through this for his sake and the owners. This is a very difficult and scary time, I remember it well...
     

Share This Page