My 9 year old Appy mare foaled on May 25, 05. She looked in good shape prior to foaling. She didn't foal until 360 days, which is a long time for her. About a month prior to foaling her croup area began to sink in quite noticeably, but I of course attributed that to the fact that she was preparing to foal. Within a week of foaling this mare looked awful. Her croup was still very sunken in, backbone sticking up, hips protruding and ribs visible. Well, it has been 1 month since she foaled and I have been able to get very little weight back on her. She is normally about an 800 lb. mare and I've been feeding her 16 lbs. of alfalfa a day plus 4 pounds of a pelleted mare and foal feed. She is just not bouncing back. If I let her out on pasture, she starts to belly ache and act colicky. If I try feeding her 2 extra lbs. of alfalfa as a mid-day feeding, she belly aches....I just don't know what to do. She was dewormed 12 hours after foaling with an Ivermectin dewormer, and had been dewormed regularly throughout her pregnancy. Is there another supplement out there that I could give to her that may boost her weight gain? Is there something possibly going on with this mare that I'm missing? The foal by the way is in fantastic weight and is growing like a weed.
becareful with the amount of corn you add it can make a horse founder if you add to much or to quick. Try a good mixture of hay not just alfalfa, they can eat more of a good grass mix/alfalfa hay than just alfalfa. Some mare tend to pull their own weight down while nursing, you may have that type of mare. Body energy goes into providing for the baby before providing for their own body, just as in humans and most other animals, nursing and foal development comes first and then the mares own body, nature will not starve baby but deplete the female body first.
Kim, I have tried a grass/alfalfa mix with her, and it's the same result... too much and she belly aches. This is the 3rd foal this mare has had for me, and this is the first time she has lost weight like this after foaling. Granted, this foal is by a different stallion than the previous two, but I don't think that could make a difference, could it?
Posted From: 220.127.116.11
Posted on Saturday, July 02, 2005 - 10:41 pm:
Beans are a great way to put weight on horses, in moderation ofcourse. Did you change her feeding patterns whilst she was pregnant? Keep in mind that she is nursing her foal too which probably has a lot to do with it. Getting her something to balance her electrolytes couldn't hurt either, since she is nursing.
I would have her checked by a veterinarian, She may need to have her teeth floated. I use Purina Stragity on horses I need to put weight on and my brood mares. Start slowley and increase as the foal ages. Linda
The pelleted feed I am feeding is Super Horse Broodmare and Foal Developer. I had been feeding her Nutrena Life Design Youth pelleted feed, but when I saw that it wasn't doing much good, I changed to the broodmare and foal developer. I tried putting her on pasture again today, and same result, within 15 minutes of grazing, she began acting colicky. So, I put her back in her stall, and by feeding time, she was nickering for her food and has been fine ever since. I've never though that it could be a tooth problem as she isn't dropping food when she eats and she doesn't leave any behind. It's just the amount of food that seems to make her really touchy. I had tried dividing the feedings into 3 feedings per day rather than her normal 2, but she belly aches if I do so. I never changed her feeding pattern during pregnancy, same morning and night feedings as always. She just looks awful and it's quite embarassing when folks come to see the horses and they see the condition of this mare. It makes me feel like they think I'm a bad "mom", and yet I know I'm giving her as much food as she can handle without making her sick.
Sounds like your mare has a sensitive digestive system and whatever changes you make should be done very slowly.
Horses' digestive systems were meant to digest small amounts of forage all day long, not large amounts twice a day. So, if you can get her to the point where she can tolerate free choice hay and/or grazing all the time, that would be good.
Also, as mentioned in previous posts, have her teeth checked (right away). You said she doesn't drop food or leave any behind, these can be symptoms but, she could still have tooth 'issues' even without these sypmtoms. She might have a mild problem with her teeth and not be able to grind the hay throughly enough to digest it well.
And, SLOWLY add a high nutrient grain and/or SLOWLY increase the pellets you're already giving her. 4# is not enough for a lactating mare. Adding oil(1 cup), to the grain or pellets can help too.
If you can slowly get her out on grass (in addition to the other feed) it may help. Suggest starting with 5 minutes the first day, then 10. But, start over if you skip a day since she seems to be so sensitive to diet changes.
And...be careful the foal does not eat the mare's grain. This would be too rich a diet for the foal. In fact, a totally alfalfa diet is not the best diet for a suckling foal. You could end up with problems.
If all this doesn't help...some bloodwork would be a good idea.
Hope you find a feed program that works for your mare...Please let us know how it goes.
Thanks for all the wonderful suggestions. I put her out on the pasture for 15 minutes today, and she tolerated it well. I will increase the time tomorrow to 20 minutes, and see how that goes. It's just funny because I've never had weight issues with this mare before, even after foaling. And she's always pretty much had a "gut of steel" too. Never had belly aching issues with her either. I have made an appointment for Sat. to have her teeth checked. Will keep you updated.
Good thinking Rooty! The symptoms would fit. Definitely worth checking out.
Your mention of "I've never had weight issues with this mare before, even after foaling. And she's always pretty much had a "gut of steel" too." Would indicate it is more than just not enough nutrition.
Regarding ulcers...one way to diagnose them is to look inside with a scope. This can be fairly expensive, so,some people choose to just medicate/supplement the horse as if it has an ulcer and see if it gets better. Your vet may be willing to prescribe some ulcer medication for you to try. Maybe something like Gastrogard.
There is a product called NeighLox (add to feed)which may help too. I believe this is an 'over the counter' product that perhaps your feed store (or your vet) could get for you.
Other possible explanations may be sand buildup in the digestive system or perhaps Enterolithiasis. Enteroliths are more common in horses fed a high alfalfa diet and living in areas where the water has a high magnesium content.
From Merck Veterinary manual: "Enteroliths may occur singly or in groups and are commonly found in horses in certain parts of California, the southwest, Indiana, and Florida."
Do you live in a place like this?
Enteroliths are 'stones' which form in the digestive tract. They can intermitently interfere with passage of digestive products or, if large enough, they can completely block passage. They can cause mild to severe colic symptoms and weight loss.
Also, I should have mentioned in last post - if you feel the problem is ulcers or if the mare has had antibiotics,diarrhea or other situation that could have compromised her 'good' bacteria in her digestive tract, a probiotic supplement could be worth a try. One brand name is Probios. Comes in a granule form that is easy to top dress on grain.
Hope this info is helpful!
Glad your mare was able to eat some grass without a problem! Please keep us posted on how she does.
I have recently had a horse that was diagnosed with ulcers, and his symptoms were completely different than those of this mare. He would shake his head, stretch his neck out, pick at his food, and occasionally act colicky. So, I don't believe we're dealing with ulcers here. As for the enteroliths, I live in Utah, so I think the chances of that may be slim. She has not been on any antibiotics, and her stools have been completely normal. You guys have definitely given me some good ideas tho to bring up with the vet. The mare has been tolerating longer periods of time on pasture the last couple of days. So, that's starting to look good. I think I am starting to see some improvement in her weight, although it's not nearly enough. Her ribs aren't quite as visible anymore, but her backbone and hips are still protruding quite a bit. How long does it normally take for a horse to noticeably start to put back on weight with the correct amount of feed plus pasture? And how early do you think I should wean the foal? As I'm sure that would be of quite a bit of benefit to the mare.
I have heard that it will usually take about 2 weeks from any increase in feed to see a visible improvement. It's tough for them to put weight on when they're nursing. I would wean at 4 months if the mare hasn't put weight back on. Don't rule out ulcers just because your other horse had different symptoms, the symptoms of ulcers can vary quite a bit from horse to horse.
Sandy, sorry to hear that your still having some trouble. In my opinion I would wean sooner than later if the mare is not improving. I would too wean at 4 months for this case. This is not our usual weaning time, but for troubled mares it is acceptable. We would normally wean 6 months or older. Our vet likes to see babies on moms until 6 months, and sometiems we will leave them on until 9 months. Moms can teach babies alot in the herd and keep them protected. At that point in time we make it through the hot summer and weaning is less stressful for baby. Again too, if we have a mare with a bad attitude about protecting baby we will wean at 4 months too(although we try to eliminate those habits !
I know to we had a experience with a mare this foaling season that went off grain the day of foaling and would not return to eat it. She would eat hay and bread, apples and carrots and such but not grain. We were due to have a batch of feed mixed up and she was put back on our receipe and low and behold she began to eat grain again. ??? go figure.
I wonder if she could be low in vitamin? or mineral . There are a few of those that can cause cramping if they are low. Worth asking the vet about too.
Hey Kim, This mare has never gone off any of her feed, she wants to eat and eat, it's just that her body doesn't seem to be able to tolerate it well. She is starting to do much better on being out on pasture though. This is her third day of being on pasture for a couple of hours, and no signs of belly-aching. It's just when I put her up at night, I have to be careful of how much feed I give her after being out on the pasture. So now she is getting 7 lbs of hay in the morning, turned out on pasture around 2pm, left on pasture until 5 pm., fed again around 6pm... 5 lbs hay, and 4 lbs of mare and foal developer. So far she seems to be tolerating this well. I tried giving 6 lbs. of mare and foal developer during the mid-day, but then she seemed to belly ache when it came dinner time. I've tried increasing the amount of hay, and she belly ached. So hopefully now that she is tolerating longer periods of time on pasture, we'll start seeing better improvement.
Glad to hear you're making some progress with your mare and that she is tolerating the grazing so well!
I agree with Rooty regarding the ulcers, this mare may not show the same behavior as your other horse that had ulcers. So, something to keep on the list as a possibility.
Also, you mentioned that you "tried giving her 6# of foal developer during the mid-day but she seemed to belly ache".
Sounds like with this mare, any addition to her diet will need to be done slowly, for example, 1/2 pound (grain) at a time. Hay could be increased a little faster, but seems it would be wise to make any change very gradually.
Another question for you...has your mare been dewormed with a product that will kill tapeworms. Not all wormers will take care of tapes. Tapes are not as common as other types of worms but, can cause a horse to have a 'touchy' digestive system. Perhaps something you can ask your vet about.
Keep up the good work!
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