Appetite Suggestions welcomed /Updated with a picture

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rubyviewminis

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Well, started a new Missymama thread to ask about your experiences with your pregnant mares appetite's. Missy has been doing very well on her diet to prevent pregnancy induced laminitis, but she is now at day 275 and for a couple of weeks it has been a battle to get her to eat. She has always been a slow and picky eater, so she is on daily probiotics which helped for awhile. Then she started throwing all her feed in the dirt, now won't touch the fine stems of her alfalfa hay. With sub zero temps I try to only give her a small amount at a time so her beet pulp (rinsed and squeezed to moistness), Timothy cubes (soaked only to moistness for crumbling), mixed with her supplements don't freeze before she finishes *picking* at it. She will not touch a stem, or partial moist piece of cube unless it is thoroughly crumbled, and now only wants to eat her supplement pellets (1/3 cup). I am so frustrated at spending hours at this, and this morning I had to pick out her pellets and then she would eat them out of my hand. So I brought the rest in to avoid it freezing. She did surprisingly go after hay pellets I had in a bucket a little while ago, even though they were dry and hard. If there is a hint of salt in any feed she throws it out, she doesn't drink a lot and she has cold and warmer water in buckets, she doesn't move around or act frisky much, only once and that is unusual for her. She doesn't act depressed, the snow is very deep except for where we moved and shoveled snow for her to have paths everywhere, and I keep her blanketed now with it so cold. She hasn't lost weight which surprises me, and her belly is huge and hard with the foal constantly moving and kicking. Constantly lol. She doesn't show any signs of colic, normal piles from what we can judge along her trail and favorite stops.

Is this normal if she is just feeling that misery from late pregnancy? I don't look forward to another two months of this, my hands are getting worn out from freezing to hand feed her.
 
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chandab

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If they are suitable for her condition, feed her the hay pellets dry. You'll probably want to feed her small meals often, so she doesn't act starved and bolt them; but I've fed dry pellets without issues for years (I don't have anyone that bolts their feed, so worry less about choking than if I had a piggy that bolted their feed). Leave her feed for her to eat, even if it does freeze, she might still eat it. [i live in MT, where it gets below freezing for much of the winter. I have a Cushing's gelding who goes through regular I won't eat that phases. I've left his soaked beet pulp and hay pellets in his dish over night and by morning, he's eaten most or all of it, even though I know it froze before he finished it. They don't seem to mind when it freezes. Although, he will refuse most feed if I try to add salt to it, so I give him his loose salt in a separate container and let him choose when to eat it. And, I have thrown out his soaked feed at times, but not often (usually only after I've tried to add salt and he's refused, with the salt he's just not going to eat it.] Give it a try, it won't hurt anything to leave it til the next meal.

My mini mares have kept their appetites throughout pregnancy, but they haven't been on special diets either. My AQHA mare got really picky her last 6 weeks or so of pregnancy, but I found a new hay supplier (better hay) and she went back to eating normal amounts for her (this was a number of years ago).

what probiotic are your feeding? My half-Arab gelding was rather picky about probiotics and refused most kinds, but he really liked SmartPak's SmartDigest (my Cushing's gelding was on this til a few weeks ago, trying him without for a little bit), you can try a free sample before ordering, if you want to try it. http://www.smartpakequine.com/smartdigest-6313p.aspx?cm_vc=Search Another one to try, the Priobios treats: http://www.smartpakequine.com/probios-digestion-support-horse-treats--5182p.aspx?cm_vc=Search [This one might have ingredients she shouldn't have right now, so you'll want to check that out.] Just one or two treats per mini daily depending on size.

Hope you can get her eating regularly again, soon.
 

rubyviewminis

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Thank you so much! I just worry about fiber and water intake. I use Smartpaks for some things, but with her I use the Probios paste and powder. Usually she is a fiend for her alfalfa. So she isn't acting that abnormal at least. You gave me lots of advice I appreciate, she seems more uncomfortable this pregnancy, and add grouchy and pouty to that.
 

chandab

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My half-Arab gelding wouldn't touch the Probios powder, and I didn't want to be packing a tube of paste with me every day to the barn, so I tried the SmartDigest powder, he ate his whole meal mixed with it.

You might look at Vaxamine EQ to help her with her discomfort, its safe for pregnant mares and doesn't cause stomach upset, but its more expensive than many pain relievers. You can get it from Heartland Vet supply: http://www.heartlandvetsupply.com/p-4317-vaxamine-eq-tablets.aspx And, the price has gone up since I last tried it. [its smells funny, so not the easiest to get them to eat.] Just throwing it out there for you to consider. [i'm sure I read somewhere that it is safe for pregnant mares, I used it when I thought my mare was pregnant, but unfortunately wasn't.]
 

targetsmom

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I didn't read every word but understand it is cold so things freeze (going through that here too) but wonder if you could try Stomach Soother? It is pureed papaya so could freeze but you could also put some in a dosing syringe and just give it to her. I have used this to combat ulcers and found it often started them eating almost immediately. The other thing you might want to try is a slow hay feeder. Now some horses hate them because they are too much work but it will cut down on waste. We have used them on a fence to encourage a friend to come over for company and encourage eating.

For our picky eaters I have usually had good luck with soaked alfalfa cubes, which I know will freeze if not eaten right away. Good luck!
 

rubyviewminis

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You know, I still have some U-Gard pellets form Smart Pak and just in passing a few days ago thought about trying some on her just for the heck of it. I see where you are going with this and it might help. She doesn't have any inflammation issues currently, and her laminitis is well at bay thank goodness. But maybe she is having tummy issues since she won't chew her stems and only the leaves. *sigh*. Well, I will go out and try to hand feed her some of this with the pellets an alfalfa again. I soooo appreciate help. I will check into that papaya. It's good stuff, used to grow it in AZ.
 

SugaryCharm

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Since you are concerned about hydration and fiber and are already feeding timothy and alfalfa separately, you might consider Purina's Hydration Hay. It is timothy, orchardgrass and alfalfa in blocks that you can soak. My fussy nibbler big horse loves the stuff as long as I don't make it too soggy (no standing water--moist crumbly clumps). It is by design very fine stuff so there are no stems for her to reject. It is kind of pricy but should last a lot longer for a mini than it does for my big horse!
 

AnnaC

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Lots of good suggestions here, but could it also be that the foal is lying in an uncomfortable position for her at the moment? Just a thought, and if so then she should feel better soon.

Good luck - she's very lucky to have such a caring owner, and I for one cannot wait to see the beautiful baby that she's carrying.
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rubyviewminis

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Whew! I can finally post! Thank you so much for the help. I just gave up, she is happily eating just her pelleted supplements and alfalfa hay and not throwing the hay in the mud. I think that was a tantrum. I just worry because I don't want her eating only alfalfa, but my vet said as long as she is not showing signs of inflammation just to go with it. She absolutely refuses the Timothy hay or cubes and the beet pulp. I chalk it up to her pregnancy, and if we make it through the next two months with out me strangling her, and have a healthy foal I won't have any problems getting her to eat anything edible lol.

I never heard of the Hydration Hay! That sounds like a real nifty idea! Of course we can't get a lot of things here in the great american outback of no mans land, and she can't have Orchard grass. Orchard is what caused too much sugar and laminitis issues. Can't wait for foaling to be over and her back to normal!

I ordered Papaya juice and now the cube stains are finally gone from my fingers lol.
 

rubyviewminis

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Our papaya juice arrived tonight, and Missymama is happily eating at least 2 pounds of alfalfa with no issues, and I can actually get her to eat all of her supplements with a little rinsed beet pulp! I hope to get her eating her Timothy again. She is keeping on the little weight she finally gained back, and the weather has been nice enough to take short walks which she really seemed to enjoy. Whew, day 280 passed with both healthy and normal!

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rubyviewminis

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The papaya juice is working! She loves it and is eating like she should. Now to start sneaking Timothy cubes in again. Thank you!
 

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