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Reasoning for pot bellies???


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#1 Country Lady

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Posted 02 November 2010 - 03:07 PM

I have noticed in other discussions that pot bellies, or grass bellies are discussed, what does cause the horse to get a pot belly. Not enough protien or fiber? Lack of excerise? How do I prevent this, and reverse the small pot bellies that I have in my barn????? Thank you..

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#2 disneyhorse

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Posted 02 November 2010 - 03:09 PM

It depends. Parasites can cause pot bellies, as can a lack of diet such as too little protein or too little food in general. Poor quality, stemmy hay can cause a "hay belly" because the horse has to eat so much roughage to get nutrition.

A severely obese horse can have a pot belly, but it is usually accompanied by fat elsewhere. Think "beer gut" versus "starving Ethiopian child".

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#3 Jill

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Posted 02 November 2010 - 03:15 PM

I feel some potential causes are: worms, too coarse a hay, and too little protein.
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#4 Country Lady

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Posted 02 November 2010 - 06:03 PM

Hay is really that big of a problem?? My hay is a grassy mixture that I did complain to my husband because it has thistles (very painful) however I was told that they would pick out what they wanted. There bellies are not bad, I do have a 6 month old colt that I feel has developed a little larger belly than he should have (and of course winter hair makes it hard to tell where the horse is :) They are wormed and are feed Strategy. I just keep reading about the belly issues and wanted to prevent it. Also the pics of the conditioned show animals are breathe taking and I am currently working on my horses. I do have a 17 yr old stallion that had a slight gut when I brought him home, he was on unlimited pasture, he has tightened up some as I drive him 4-5 times a week, I keep teasing that he has a old man gut (sorry to all that may take offense to that :RollEyes but I figured it was because of him being on pasture. So what type of hay is the best (as I know have a loft full of the OTHER stuff) so I know for next time, or maybe get some other for my animals I plan on showing in the spring. Also is there a concern for overdoing the protein levels, strategy has 14% then how much is in the hay? Also if it is due to eating alot of hay to get the required nutrients, is it like blouting, or gas in there bellies?? Thanks to you all your help is wonderful!!!!!

#5 disneyhorse

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Posted 02 November 2010 - 06:28 PM

Feeding can be somewhat complicated, depending on what you have available, the quality of it, the amount you feed, and what you desire your animal to look like. The "show animals" you see are usually on pretty controlled diet/exercise programs.

As to the protein question, I don't think you will be feeding too much protein with hay unless you feed straight alfalfa. The legume hays have very high protein contents which can be in excess. Grass hays usually don't have that issue.

My favorite grass hays are Orchard and Timothy hay, but they have to be not-too-stemmy.

I personally would avoid weedy hay (and thistles) if possible just because I've known a couple horses to get mouth abscesses. One got a thistle under it's tongue and it worked it's way out of the bottom of his jaw by the time it was done, pretty gross.

Some hays can be gassy, and cause a bloated look.

As to the "old man gut" well that is pretty common! It's much easier to keep a young horse fit and tucked up. That's why a lot of the horses that are showing in halter are youngsters. It's by no means impossible to get a fit-looking older horse, it's just a tiny bit harder as their metabolisms slow down.
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#6 muffntuf

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Posted 02 November 2010 - 07:22 PM

I would have your hay tested to see the protein content, your baby may not be getting enough protein in his diet. That is generally the cause for babies and pot bellies - or it is parasites.

That's where I start. If you have a fast growth spurt, that will make pot bellies happen as well - I have a baby who is 6 months old right now and am fighting keeping up with his nutritional needs.
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#7 disneyhorse

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Posted 02 November 2010 - 08:46 PM

You can add some alfalfa hay (or alfalfa pellets/cubes) to your weanling's diet to boost his protein without increasing his concentrates (Strategy). I love to mix alfalfa with my grass hays for young and working horses.
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#8 Marty

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Posted 03 November 2010 - 12:07 AM

I'd look to worms, ulcers, and dirt first.
On the baby I would do a 5 day in a row de-worming with Safe_Guard which is pretty good at deflating a belly. But a belly on one so young can also be ulcers which would be on the top of my list as well. I always treat babies for ulcers at weaning before they show symptoms and add probios too.
Don't discount the dirt either.

however I was told that they would pick out what they wanted.
People say that a lot but I don't think that's fair at all to do to an animal. If they aren't supposed to eat it, then why give it to them? Its too late once they have already got the nasties stuck in their mouths so why enable them to go through that pain in the first place. Pick through it for them before you serve it. :yes

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#9 Country Lady

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Posted 03 November 2010 - 07:05 AM

So use safegaurd once then again in 5 days? Only for little guys or all. I do worm them on a regular basis. Also how do you treat for ulcers?

I am glad Alfalfa cubes were mentioned, I was thinking about using them since reading this discussion, I do have concerns with our hay. Locals (I must say mostly cattle people, I married into those cattle men!) are the ones that brushed it off as nothing, and these are the first horses I have ever owned. So should I use the cubes instead of hay, and how much? I do want to show in the spring, and have shown once last year. So I am trying to find to balance to have nice show animals. I do have a dry lot that I let my "show" animals (I do have a couple of broad mares that are on pasture) out on as I was told that unlimited grass will cause a belly as well. I really appreciate you all giving suggestions Thank you!!!!!

#10 Carolyn R

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Posted 03 November 2010 - 08:51 AM

The safegaurd or panacur should be used as a double dose for 5 day in a row. All of the horses you hsve should be put on a regular worming schedule. I worm mine at the same time, there is no sence in worming one or two if they share a common area. The wormed horses can quicky pick up new parasite from the others manure.
The only time you may be able to worm some and not ohers is to have a fecal wxam done on each and every horse to see what the parasite types and levels are.
As far as ulcers, there is a paste called ulcergaurd, there is another called gastrgaurd, there is one that is the equivelant pepto for horses called neighlox, you can give called renitidine, this can be purchased for people, crushed up and given to horses.
There are many others that are very well versed on ulcer remedies, hopefully they chime in.
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