Not gaining weight as quickly as I'd like...

This teenaged bay Arabian gelding is in rehabilitation. Watch his progress as he goes through eye surgery, gains weight and returns to his original beauty!

Not gaining weight as quickly as I'd like...

Postby Juliane on Tue Feb 13, 2007 11:46 pm

Am I just being impatient? :lol: Buddy's only been with me for a few weeks, and when he came he was pretty skinny with a huge wormy belly. In that time, he has been wormed with Ivermectin (and I wormed him again tonight with SafeGuard) and has lost most of his wormy belly.

However, his top line is still in awful shape, his ribs are still showing and he just seems skinny. I'm trying not to worry, I mean, he did just go through a serious surgery, which may have cause some stress and weight loss..

His current feed schedule is 2 scoops Orchard Grass pellets, 2 scoops SafeChoice and 1 scoop Rice Bran mixed together in a mash, morning and night, and unlimited Orchard Grass hay.

In watching the discussion about the skinny Arabs needing help, it seems like maybe giving him Alfalfa might help with the weight gain. Does anyone have any suggestions? I can add Cool Calories or Vegetable Oil to his diet.. or anything else he might need...

I just want to see him round and pudgy!!! :)

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Postby schwung on Wed Feb 14, 2007 12:37 am

I agree, I prefer quality grass hays over Alfalfa any day, but with horses that need to gain weight or poor keepers, Alfalfa can really help a lot, especially in the in the winter months. This winter I started giving everyone (except my kidney-compromised horse) at least 1 flake of alfalfa a day (two for the hard keepers) in addition to their Timothy. Unlike last year, where a couple of my horses lost some weight, this year everyone did great and Slam actually got fat and I had to take him off it.

I would put start with a flake of Alfalfa at night and then after a week add another flake in the morning, but keep up the free-choice grass hay.

A note on the Safe-Choice or any low-carb grain - these are GREAT choices for Cushings or IR horses, horses that tend to be hot under saddle and don't need extra energy, or starved horses that cannot tolerate a sudden carb intake. I would not put them at the top of my list to feed for a horse that just needs to gain weight. A really good feed that I feed most of my horses is Allegra Cadence - it is high fat and made from rice bran. Or a good senior feed is often good for helping with weight but I like the Cadence as it has more fat.

And I agree, you are impatient. I think Buddy looks great already. :)
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Postby seahorse on Wed Feb 14, 2007 7:45 am

you crack me up girlie! Remember that slow and steady is the way to go and also he has had some MAJOR things going on that can cause any completely healthy horse to lose weight- let alone a skinny, wormy, un-healthy horse to slow down on gaining(like SURGERY-NEW HOME etc LOL) Alfalfa would not hurt him but with all of those ridges in his feet I would say no......stay with what you are doing and either hit up Cutiepiepmu to make you a weight gain supplement or get Cool Calories- although I prefer the Vitaflex Hard keeper because it has probiotics and other good things in it and is a bit cheaper. YOu could add a scoop of equine senior to the mix if you want but I would say just stay with what you are doing.......
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Postby Juliane on Wed Feb 14, 2007 8:18 am

Hmm... well, the only issue with the senior is that Dr. Deward felt that would be bad for him due to his possible past history with foundering and laminitis. So, I can't add senior. I guess I'll wait and see how he continues to gain moving forward :)
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Postby shellyr on Wed Feb 14, 2007 8:30 am

You didn't mention if you have him on a good vitamin/mineral supplement? If not, that would definitely help. I would bet money that he is deficient in multiple things. Also, have you ever fed BOSS - black oil sunflower seeds? Those are really good for fat content, they are all natural, and they have oil in them! :D I much prefer them over veggie oil.
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Postby RockinCircleC on Wed Feb 14, 2007 8:45 am

shellyr wrote:Also, have you ever fed BOSS - black oil sunflower seeds? Those are really good for fat content, they are all natural, and they have oil in them! :D I much prefer them over veggie oil.


I'd leave those out for right now. You don't know if it would tip the sugar/carb sacle a bit too much.

Be patient Juliane. He will bounce back in time. Like Chelsea said, slow and steady is better. And once his eye is all healed up then his teeth can get worked on.

Only thing you might try is upping the amount of his pellets (the hay pellets) or add a third meal at some other point during the day.

Reevaluate him in a month or two and then see if he needs something else. You might find that the alfalfa makes him a bit more of a pistol than you need while he's still on stall rest, too.
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Postby ptownevt on Wed Feb 14, 2007 9:00 am

I'm still curious to hear thoughts about the low carb feeds. Do you know for sure that he has foundered? Illness and poor nutrition/changing nutrition can also make rings on the hoof wall. I also thought that the increased fat of the senior or hard keeper feeds lowers glycemic index to make them okay unless you know for sure that you have an IR or Cushings horse. And isn't alphalfa supposed to be really bad for these horses? I've been told not to let my IR pony have any alphalfa at all. He's better off if he's getting a bit thin with a high fat grain. I swear by Triple Crown Senior; it has about 12% fat as well as lots of other wonderful things.
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Postby cutiepiepmu on Wed Feb 14, 2007 11:22 am

Julie,

To what you are already doing the only thing I would suggest is to add a good quality vitamin daily - I use HorseGuard and recommend it. for him I would put him on the HorseGuard MEGA-DOSE for now to help boost him a little.

The other thing is to get him on soaked beet pulp. Make sure you get the kind that does not have molasses - and even then, rinse when you first soak, then prior to feeding rinse till the water runs clear. You can mix this into his mush he is already getting. I would start with 1 pound dry measure 2x daily and work up to 2 pounds dry measure 2x daily along with what you are already doing.

If he has a history of laminitis/founder and possibly cushings - feeding alfalfa is NO GOOD. I would also remove the safechoice most likely - as it is a very good low carb feed, but not a NO carb feed.

with any horse I suspect even a small amount of Insulin Resistance or cushings (which is suspect if we have laminitis or founder)- I pull non-forage based carbs. This includes snacks like apples, carrots ect. Also - no grain products AT ALL - no senior feeds, and even the safechoice I would pull for a bit. Double his orchard grass pellets if needed and add the rinsed beet pulp. You can also safely start him on 1/4 cup ground flax a day and work up to 1 full cup. it has wonderful benefits for the immune function and can help to clear his gut somewhat(gel's up a little like sand clear!) Also - NO ALFALFA. although it IS lower in sugar than orchard grass - studies show that alfalfa can make a laminitic horse go laminitic again. so avoid that if possible - although in general if the horse is healthy other than being thin - alfalfa hay supplemented to free choice grass is a great idea!

The lines in his feet also may have to do with fever and stress - but a zero sugar carb diet won't hurt him if he IS healthy - and better safe than sorry.

You can add oil to the diet as well - cool calories is good as well. Again, start slow. I would also be adding a high dose of probiotics. one i have recnetly started using and like VERY much is made by the makers of horseGuard - it is called Yeast and Bacterial Inoculant. It is good stuff!!!! and cheap to feed.

Take care,
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Postby LorsaDoon on Wed Feb 14, 2007 2:29 pm

I also say to be patient.
Arabians are a lean looking horse anyway. In the pictures you have posted he looks like he is coming along very well. He will look great once he starts feeling better and gets some muscle.
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Postby rdafler on Wed Feb 14, 2007 4:08 pm

Are you giving him vegetable oil? I do remember the vet saying along with rice bran to do oil. That is what I have always been told to add to their grain. I have always had good luck with it also....Just a suggestion. Also what about LMF Performance?
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Postby seahorse on Wed Feb 14, 2007 6:15 pm

Are we making your head hurt yet? LOL
I say stay with what you are doing and maybe add an additional feeding of pellets or Dr. Bob loves beet pulp and says it is safe for IR/Cushings horses.......I am not a Beet Pulp fan but I think he almost has me convinced LOL
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Postby RockinCircleC on Wed Feb 14, 2007 6:16 pm

Love Dr. Bob and love feeding beet pulp, even though the soaking is a pain in the ass sometimes.
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Postby cutiepiepmu on Wed Feb 14, 2007 7:31 pm

I find that the beet pulp is actually easier than doing hay pellets because it can be soaked in advance so when it is dinner time you just dish up and serve:) You can add your flaxseed and oil/fat products to it while soaking as well! I just make up the mix for the following feeding right as I am serving the current one.

Big thing that is important when feeding beet pulp - was the buckets with soap and water regularly. They will start to smell and sometimes horses will stop eating the pulp when it does!

I think the beet is a breeze though personally!

I know a good friend who raises polo horses SWEARS by beat pulp and barley mixed and soaked. does 5 pounds beet pulp to 1/2 pound barley. Although the barley is not appropriate for an IR or cushings horse her TB horses all look great!

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Postby Juliane on Wed Feb 14, 2007 11:40 pm

LOL Yes, you guys are making my head hurt! :P At least I can see that there really isn't a right way and a wrong way to feed a horse - just what works and what doesn't.

Anyways, I groomed Buddy from top to bottom today and have come to the conclusion that he is, in fact, gaining weight pretty well. He has one of those body types that can look very narrow and angular at certain perspectives. Yet, in other perspectives, he looks round and plump.

I think we are on the right track. He definitely has a good appetite and loves to eat. For now, I have increased his hay pellet intake morning and night, and added Cool Calories. I will also add a 3rd feeding of just hay pellets mid-day. :)

I think the other thing that struck me has been the fact that he lost his huge belly after being wormed, which made him look skinnier than he was when I picked him up 3 weeks ago. So, that threw me for a loop :P

All in all, he's making a good recovery!
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Postby ptownevt on Thu Feb 15, 2007 8:57 am

Is Buddy IR or Cushings? And has he foundered? I don't remember that about him and he doesn't have that look. Although I know that horses can have these issues and not have the look. Just curious.
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