Horses with Eating Disorders

Discussion in 'Feeding Horses' started by noangel, Sep 3, 2009.

  1. noangel

    noangel New Member

    I bought a little arab from the lady down the rode because I was sick of seeing it skinny and stressed and just unhappy in general.
    It has been at my horse for almost a month now and is happy and not at all stressed but is still skinny (has put the slightest bit of weight on but still really looks bad).
    So everyone says to put weight on 'hay, hay and more hay', well what do you do if you cant get a horse to eat? Some days he wont eat more then about a cup of 2 of feed.
    He is 15yrs old, about 14.2 hands but currentlyu looks as though he is about 25yr olds.
    He does quite a bit of head tossing and has started to chew the rails on the paddock (does it when I am not there so I am not sure if he is windsucking or chewing), also has the tendency to trip quite alot (espically when being riden, though i have not riden him since i got him and i wont until he looks better, though he does get ponied out for some exercise)
    He went to the vet, teeth checked apparently the last owner had a dentist do him 2weeks before i got him and my vet said the dentist had done them so smooth he wont have to do redone for at least 2yrs, too smooth (he dropped some feed the firast few days he was here but not since). No sand in gut, blood results all came back perfect. Vet couldnt find anything at all unusual so we have just started him gastrozol to see if that clears up the problem.
    Because i own a restaurant i work unsual hours, therefore he gets feed at weird hours, morning feed is at about 10am, dinner 6pm and i give them another meal when i get home at about midnight. He has access to good grazing. Gets a 2/3 to a scoop coolmax and about 1/2 - 2/3scoop museli for breakfast, plus scoop lucerne plus excessive oaten chaff at both dinner and breakfast, and the at super gets about 1/2 scoop of both coolmax and museli, a scoop lucernce and lots chaff.
    At his old home he was extremely attached to the mare he lived with, but since coming here has seemed to forget comepletey about her and is quite happy to talk to my 5other guys over the fence, though he still does go pretty stupid when any of the others go out riding.

    I have tried hay but he eats about 2pieces and throws the rest around (chaff he will eat a bit more of), i have tried lucernce hay which he picks at, but once again doesnt really eat. I have tried molasses to make everything yummy and carrots.

    The major problem is his irregular eating habits, some days (not very often) he will eat most of his feed (and only leave about a cup of chaff at eacxh feed) other days he will only eat about a cup of feed a day and leave the rest, some days he isnt interested in food at all, some days he will graze others he will take one mouthful drop it and walk away. His non eating days far outweigh his eating days. I have a tiny mini that eats way more then him. He just does not seem to care about food, he will go about 3days without hardly touching his food before he will decide to eat a bit again, and some days he looks like he will pig out then just throw his head and walks away.

    What do i do. :(
  2. Secret85

    Secret85 Well-known Member

    I'm not an expert, and really don't know..

    Good Luck though! :)

    Has he been wormed??

    Also, If he was starved prior to you getting him, he would need to be fed small meals, often as his stomach would have shrunk...
    Maybe worm him and try feeding him lots of small meals throughout the day?? A small meal every 2-4 hours (i think?), depending on how skinny he is.

    I'm sure the oddness of the feeding times would be okay - it's not like he gets dinner at 2pm one day and 10pm the next - that wouldn't be so good.. As long as you are feeding at a similar time each day, his body will adjust to his new feeding routine. :)
  3. buggalugs

    buggalugs Well-known Member

    ill be watching this one - it seems odd that he'll eat one meal and not the next despite being thin...

    if he'll eat it try feed more fatty feeds - havs you tried adding oil to his feed? im sure someone will suggest a low starch feed like speedibeet - he may be sensitive to starch which could cause ulcers etc... personally id ditch the coolmax and put him on something like studmaster if you wanna stick to the pegasus range, or equijewel or nutririce etc. the higher fat/protein content feeds in my mind would be the way to go... but seems a little odd to me and sounds like theres an underlying health or behavioural issue...
  4. bubblez

    bubblez Well-known Member

    he might have ulcers...
  5. bubblez

    bubblez Well-known Member

    also u could try something like apple cider vinegar or gastrocoat which helps with appretite :)
  6. Coda Cowgirl

    Coda Cowgirl Well-known Member

    you could also try soaked hay cubes as they would be easy to eat. Also warm feeds might be more appetizing.
  7. noangel

    noangel New Member

    I got him gastrocoat but can i feed that while he is on the gastrozol ?
    also i forgot to add that he has ricebrain half a scoop in each feed.
  8. Eoroe

    Eoroe Gold Member

    Something is obviostly upsetting him in his feed....he eats as he is hungry - then learns that it makes him ill, so doesnt eat the next time....poor chappy :(

    He's a tricky one!

    I would put him on a course of Humavite, and Yakult - syringed over the tounge daily. See you he picks up on that.

    I would definately be putting him on a higher fat diet - and looking towards adding oil to his feed.

    He is obvioustly not feeling great at all - and a loss of appetite can come from not enough energy, and could explain the tripping as welll.

    Oil is exellent - as it provides energy in a friendly, esily digested way - without them needing to consume a great quantity of anyting if they lack interest, or have problems with eating.

    Good luck!

    do you have any pictures?
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2009
  9. Eoroe

    Eoroe Gold Member

    Feeds such as Ricebran, and muesli are not good to feed animals with ulcers. I would take him off it - and try a completely Ulcer friendly diet **)

    Speedibeat,Lupins,Oil, Canola meal....for example **)
  10. kiraSpark

    kiraSpark Gold Member

    Id be checking for ulcers too. ;)

    Out of interest, does he drink lots?
  11. Black Ice

    Black Ice Well-known Member

    My TB was a very picky eater when I got him and the previous owner had a hell of a time keeping the weight on him because of it.

    What worked for us was changing his hay roll from oaten to wheaten (I think it's sweeter?) and simplifying his hard feed. He ended up thriving on just oaten chaff, lucern chaff, barley and Energy Gold oil (I think that is what made him eat it, he loves that stuff!).... if I add anything different he sooks and wont eat!!! He'll even sift through and leave most of his mineral mix in the bottom :mad:
  12. Merlin

    Merlin Well-known Member

    I would wait and let the gastrozol run it's course and see if that helps. If he has ulcers then nothing you offer him is going to help until his ulcers get better :)

    Then just start him on a basic diet, little and often feeds until he gets his interest back in his feed :)
  13. Anna E

    Anna E Guest

    B12... Great appetite stimulant and helps with him gettng max goodness out of his feed. Injection or paste.
    If the Gastrozol doesn't help (and to me he sounds very like he could have ulcers) maybe try anabolic steroids (Nandrolone and the like). VET ONNLY and not recommended for routine use but if you have ruled out physical causes and teeth and so on, it will help stimulate appetite and maximise weight gain. I used to give my old boy a shot every autumn and it worked really well on him.
  14. Merlin

    Merlin Well-known Member

    Agree with Anna about a course of steroids, this will sort his appetite no end, I didn't want to be the one to bring it up *ducks* but I have used stanazol and nitrotane with fussy eaters. He won't be looking 25years old anymore thats for sure!!!!!!!
  15. mylittlepony

    mylittlepony Well-known Member

    gstrazol should ssolve any problems with ulers.

    we had a 2yo filly at work with the exact same symptoms as what ur horse is showing. Have the vet check for redworm;)
    most wormers dont kill redworm as we have just found out, our filly was wormed regularly, rotated wormers etc etc... and she is chockers full of redworms. we now have her on steroids to strenghten her stomache lining before we can get rid of the redworms. she is on steriods for 5 days, then a weak wormer for 5 days and then we hit her with the strongest wormer the vet can get.
  16. DrTim

    DrTim New Member

    Hi Guys

    in reading this post and seeing what the vet has said about your horses health in general it may just turn out that you have a finicky eater! Arabs are known to selective with feeds and if they decide they dont like it they simply wont.
    If there is a possibility at all that this horse has gastric ulcers any feed that you provide that has high levels or sugar or starch will irritate his stomach and cause more damage to its lining. If he is only eating small amounts of feed at a time you need to make his feed smaller but more energy dense. The best way to do this is oils!
    Horses guts are very well designed to digest oil and the best feature is that they do not irritate the stomach lining and require very little energy to be digested (unlike roughage which needs to be feremented in the hindgut). If palatability is an issue then may i suggest Copra as it has a sweet sent and taste but is great for weight gain and has high oil content.

    ** edited by admin: the referenced website is not an advertiser on these forums.**

    Dr Tim Kempton
  17. wattle6180

    wattle6180 Gold Member

    Arab :p

    No seriously, his attachments lead me to think of an OCD behavioural issue. Also, if ulcers are eventually ruled out...ensure his feed bin smells exactly the same everytime! That it is cleaned before every feed, as sometimes the smell of feed that has been in there a few hours will put a fussy horse off his dinner :eek:

    For increasing appetite, I'd introduce apple cider vinegar. To encourage enjoyment of the feed, I'd add carots, and grated pumpkin - both are sweet to horses, and very simple for their digestion... and to help with weight gain...try boiling barley with a LOT of water. Initially wet his feed down with just the excess water (u can feed the barley to your other horses) and very gradually introduce the boiled grains. This would work well with just the chaff and vegies, if you can get him to enjoy them :D

    Good luck with him...will be watching to see how you go!
  18. citygirl

    citygirl Gold Member

    teeth ??

  19. Cowgirl Kid

    Cowgirl Kid Well-known Member

    I have heard that Copra isn't the best for ulcers. (I may be wrong!).. so if ulcers is a concern for your horse, might not be the best feed.

    OIL!! OIL! OIL! Highly concentrated fat source, easily digested..
  20. noangel

    noangel New Member

    I have finally got some equijewel from my stockfeeders so i am starting to substitute that into his feed (will obvisouly take about 2weeks before it takes te place of the coolmx).

    I had also read that grains are bad for ulcers but my vet thought its probaly better to have him eating rather then not so if he wants to eat museli let him.

    He ate really well wed, then about 1/2 on thursday, then today he ate his breaky but hardly touched his dinner, will check hoiw his supper went in the morning.

    What do you guys think about the tripping? he seems to do it alot, maybe jut general carelessness or could he be sore, and could that effect his eating ?

    Other then that what oils are best to add into his feed? liek vegetable oil you buy at the shops?

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