Need help with my colt!

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Averett2

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So here is my dilema: My two year old colt, Kumo, has begun to lose weight. His ribs show if he's standing a certain way and he has developed a pot belly. My other two horses don't have this problem and are perfectly healthy. He is set on a deworming schedule. I started feeding him four times a day. He is on pure alfalfa on a dry lot as I don't have access to any grazing for him. He was also on oat hay but I no longer have access to it. I bought him a mineral block but recently read that mineral blocks aren't good for horses? Either way he doesn't use it too much anyway nor does he particularily care for salt blocks :/

I also bought him Safechoice Nutrena original 14% to give to him to help him put some weight back on but he won't eat it. I've tried everything I can think of. I tried mixing in some oats but he simply picks out the oats and spits out the pellets. I tried soaking it and he looked at me like I was crazy. I then tried adding some grass and alfalfa leaves to the soaked stuff and he nimbled a little but at that but when he figured out he couldn't pick out the pellets he gave up and wouldn't touch it. I also tried adding molasses and that seemed to work a little bit as he ate it overnight after he finished his dinner so I thought "Oh good, trial over." Yeah...not so much . I tried it again a few days ago and there it still sits, untouched. My other two minis go crazy for these pellets and absolutely love them. I don't understand why Kumo doesn't. I don't know what to do. If anyone has some suggestions that would be much appreciated.

Here is a picture for reference:

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I also suspect that Kumo is low in his good bacteria in his digestive system as his stool has been soft (not diarrhea) recently and when I put him out with his brother yesterday (I stuck him in there so he could burn some extra energy comfortably as I don't want to excercise him while he's underweight like he is) he went over and started eating a pile of stool his brother had recently deposited. I've heard of people giving yogurt to their horses, is this just the normal store bought yogurt? Does anyone have any suggestions for this as well?

Thank you for your help!
 
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Maple Hollow Farm

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Well first off I guess I would call the vet and get their opinions. The fact that he isnt eating grain would concern me! Also I give mineral blocks to my horses, you just have to look for the ones that actually have more mineral in them as some are still mainly salt blocks. I also have salt out. Salt and mineral are normally something horses will only lick if they are lacking supposedly. Other than that I am not really sure what to do to boost his appetite. This def. seems like a question for your vets though! Maybe also have his teeth checked, he could have fractured one somehow or gotten an infection. Lots of possibilities!
 

Averett2

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I'm definitly am going to call my vet and schedule an appointment but won't be able to do so until this next Monday. As for the grain he's never had it before so I thought maybe that could be a reason but after I added the molasses he should have ate it fine since I know that he loves molasses. The fact that he wouldn't eat it after I added the molasses is what really started to worry me. Luckily though his stool seems to be hardening back up again which is a small plus for the day.

I'm glad to hear that mineral blocks are okay to use, I'll definitly be sure to double check that its actually a mineral block next time I purchase them though and not just a more expensive salt block. I didn't even think to have his teeth checked so I' m glad you mentioned that before I called my vet. Thanks so much for the advice!
 
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chandab

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Ulcers? One sign of ulcers in no interest or limited interest in grain.

With the eating other horses poop, it could be he's trying to repopulate is good gut bacteria that helps with digest, so he could need a probiotic (Probios is a brand that is usually readily available in any farm store, and comes in paste form, you give it to them like you do a dewormer). [some have used yogurt instead of straight probiotics, I've never tried it, so don't know how much you'd give.
 

Ridgerunner

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I'm with Chandab. Sure sounds like an ulcer to me. I'd get him on some kind of ulcer meds. It won't hurt him, and it might help. Ulcer Gard or Gastro Gard, are the best at healing, but you can also use over the counter people meds like Zantac. I use the generic form. Good luck with him. He's adorable.
 

Minimor

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If he has never had pellets before it may be that he simply does not like them. I've had various horses who do not like pellets....they would never eat pellets, they would just pick out the oats and leave the pellets....now I have a colt that wouldn't eat pays, and would eat just one specific pellet. Thankfully he will now eat two different pelleted feeds, which is helpful when the feed mill is out of obe, I can buy the other--he still will not touch oats unless I mix in some pellets. I would try a different type/brand of pellet and see if that makes a difference.

Does he eat his hay readily, or is he picky with that?
 

Debby - LB

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Hi I agree with the others a Vet will be of help. I notice you said you "started" feeding him 4 times a day..how often was he fed before that? also that you said he's never had grain before - were you talking about straight grain.. the oats you added, or has he Never had any food besides hay before?

Did you notice his weight loss after he shed his winter coat?

You can check for a sand overload by getting some fresh droppings and putting 4 or 5 in a glove or zip lock bag adding water to cover and hang it somewhere for a few hours.

I would not be concerned with him eating the other horses droppings. The primary source of gut bacteria is the environment....for foals it is the mother's excrement and or the mare's licking of the foal's mouth area. For adult horses, it takes an entire day of grazing to maintain the bacterial colonies. So, any horse that is not on pasture most of the day, most likely will benefit from a daily dose of probiotics or prebiotics. For helping to reintroduce bacteria a "probiotic" (products that contain 1-3 species of gut bacteria) is beneficial in short-term doses.

i agree with Chanda too I'd go buy some good horse probios. You asked about yogurt, yogurt falls short of being good enough to replace the flora but it would not hurt to try it if he likes it and it's all you have until the Vet. comes, just get plain and pick out a real quality brand of it.

There may be some acidophilus in fermented milk products such as yogurt. However, most commercial yogurts are made with Lactobacillus bulgaricus or Streptococcus thermophilus. Although these two organisms possess some health benefits, they will not colonize in your intestines. On the other hand, the highest quality supplements are made with "super strains" of Lactobacillus acidophilus. These strains are designed for maximum clinical effectiveness. They also do not die as easily and are more likely to survive the digestive process in your stomach. So if you are looking for positive results, an acidophilus supplement is a better choice than yogurt. Most Yogurt contain sugars and sweeteners, sweetening agents and sugars can destroy beneficial bacteria, so that is another reason Yogurt is not a good choice. (the above taken from The Horse)

To help with ulcers keeping food always available (free choice/free access) so the horse's stomach is never empty. Since it is believed that stomach acids produce ulcers, by keeping food moving through the stomach, this does not allow acid to build up or stay in the stomach alone.
 

stormy

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Eating hay and not eating grain are classic symptoms of ulcers....would get with your vet and get him on treatment. Treatments can be tailored to what you can afford to spend, are pretty easy and work fast. Here I use Rinitadine (2 x daily) and Carafate (3 - 4 x daily) orally. Paste ulcer treatments are more expensive but only need to be given once daily.
 

Averett2

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I went out this morning and the grain he had was gone so I gave him some more and he ate it! Mind you he didn't finish it but he ate at least half which is better than what he has been.

And to answer Debby's questions: He used to get fed twice a day, but once I noticed weight loss I upped it to three/four depending on how well he's finishing what I already gave him. If I notice that there's still hay he has to eat I wait to feed him until he's ate most of it when can at times end up being only three times instead of four, but I usually try for four. And yes, he was at a good weight until he started shedding, and that's when he started dropping his weight off.

If he does happen to have a sand overload how do you fix that?

And thank you for answering about the yogurt.


I'll have to go and buy some probios when I go into town.

And with the ulcers: Is there a way to be sure of ulcers or is it something that I'll have to wait for my vet to diagnose? He has regained a lot of his energy back since his stool has hardened back up. He is active and isn't really acting sick in anyway other than the fact he isn't eating as well as normal. I'm still going to call the vet today but like I mentioned before won't be able to schedule an appointment until at least Monday. Hopefully he'll be available. He ate his hay really really well until recently. He'd seriously pick up every little piece of hay he could find but now seems to leave extra. He still eats it, just not as fast as before and he tends to leave a little extra. This is normal for my other two horses since they stop when they're full and eat what's leftover throughout the day but it really isn't as common for him.

Thank you everyone for all your replies and help!
 

paintponylvr

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When you call the vet ask about loose "baby caps". I've recently had several 2 & 3 yr olds go off their feed (also feed Nutrena SC Original & beetpulp).... Well, in 2 of those buckets I found caps that had come off while they were eating yesterday and last week while I was gone, my caretaker said she also found a cap (broken) on the ground next to the one bucket of a 3 yr old gelding who had had his teeth checked in December.

I was caught by surprise as I don't usually have my guys go off feed when caps come in/off. Maybe having an issue since I feed the pellets and beetpulp not only wet but "soupy" - so they don't have as much hard grinding/crunching to do - I don't know. But I've just not ever noticed it before...

Other than that - after he's been treated for possible ulcers, sand, updating gut bacteria and having his teeth checked - you might want to look at a different feed with a higher protein content. I'm looking at getting a grass hay ration balancer either today or next week - our hay last year and this year just hasn't been the same quality as it's been in the past and my babies/youngstock aren't doing as well overall this year (some didn't do well last year either - that was what prompted me to have some of my hay tested - which didn't make my supplier very happy when we found out the hay I was getting was only 7% protein - most Bermuda/coastal is considered to be around 14% and I knew it could vary but WOW).

**********

Thanks all for the explanations on Ulcers - I hadn't heard some of that. Until this forum, I'd never heard of anyone using yogurt to replenish the gut flora in horses but it sounds like that's so not the best choice. I will have to look in my barn for the name of the product - I had a trainer put my yearling filly last year on a supplement for ulcers - stinks to high heaven - feed thru powder. It's not Gastro Guard. I'm trying to figure out what to do with it - as after I got the filly eating it along with our feed - I quit using it. She's fine now... decent weight - lost some but didn't get ribby when she recently went thru a growth spurt. She will be 2 the end of June.
 

bevann

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The only sure way to determine if is really ulcers is to have your vet do a scope .Many vets do not have the equipment to do it on a Mini.It involves running a long tube with a camera on the end up the nostril and all the way down the throat and into the stomach.Very interesting to watch.My local vet once determined that my mare had ulcers since she was on her back with legs in the air from pain.Had to transport her 2 hrs to U of PA large animal teaching hospital for the scope.I had said all along I didn't think, it was ulcers.turned out I was right-just a bad colic and low tolerance to pain.Only horse I ever had with ulcers was from bute post surgery.Ulcer meds are not that expensive and worth a try.The sand issue would definitely make them go off feed and is easy to correct.Since your horse is on a dry lot that is a good possibility.
 

BSharpRanch

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My vet did a fecal test for ulcers on my big horse. It was fairly inexpensive and wwas positive. Saved me a bundle on not having to do a scope.
 

Marty

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Around here, if a horse doesn't eat, its ulcers. I start them on 1 tab of tagamet a day and probios to get the ball rolling until the gastroguard shows up to take over but I usually see a difference in three days just on Tagamet and probios alone.. I also give them a daily thingy of dannon, yoplait or best fav, Activia. Betch a million bucks your vet doesn't come up with it; they usually don't unless you put the idea in their head for them.

Also in this area, oat hay is crap and nothing more than thick coarse straw. Would surely add to the belly. Try to find him some nice grass hay. Best wishes.
 

rabbitsfizz

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I agree there is nothing to be lost by treating for ulcers- if they have not got them it will do no harm, if they have it will solve the problem! Still call the Vet but you could start now by putting a teaspoon of Bi Carb (stuff you use in baking?) in his feed. Use honey not molasses as it is energy high and uses "natural" sugars not the nasty stuff in molasses.

How much are you feeding and what are you feeding? You need more bulk and Beet Pulp will provide this. I have never ever had a well horse refuse to eat, even when I have hidden meds in the feed they eat round them them grudgingly eat them overnight- mine a vacuums on legs! The point is, if he is not eating with gusto then there is something wrong. Try the BiCarb it is cheap and although it is not nearly as good as the "real" ulcer meds it will give you an idea of whether that is what is wrong. If you can get Tagamet or Ranitidine form your Pharmacy then so much the better. Do not wait for the Vet you are not going to do any harm with any of these meds.
 

Averett2

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Kumo has started eating again and is now picking his grain over hay which makes me very happy to see. He seems to be eating fine now and his energy has gone through the roof. The vet checked him out today and says to keep on the feeding schedule I have set up for him currently, but to up his worming schedule. I'm definitly going to take all of your suggestions as well and purchase some ulcer meds and probios and see what that does
I've also been looking to buy some grass hay or grass alfalfa mix (since my one mare will only eat alfalfa the grass would only be for Kumo and Prince so alfafa mix would be best) but at this time of year in my area its very hard to find without having to drive several hours both ways for it so I'm just going to have to keep my eyes out.

Thank you all for your help! My horses and I appreciate it!

Edit: Forgot to mention that he checked his teeth as well and those were perfectly fine.
 
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targetsmom

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I didn't read the whole post but I saw enough to suspect ulcers. I posted a video on here that you should be able to find doing a search. I have the link, but my computer is acting up AGAIN and won't let me copy and paste. It shows very clearly how to check for ulcers at acupressure points, without fasting or taking a horse to a clinic or hospital. I had a horse scoped once for ulcers and he came out of it worse than when he went in because of the fasting.
 

Averett2

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Just thought I'd post some current pictures of him since I've changed his diet and taken the advice I was given. Still have a ways to go but he's definitly looking better!

Thanks again to everyone who gave adivce. It really helped!

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