I recently bought a beautiful mini filly who is now 3 weeks of age. Her mom is disgustingly malnourished so much that she has a reeking odor to her, her skin is severly dry, she is dehydrated, spine and all ribs are beyond very visible, her eyes were foggy looking when i brought her home last week. Anyway The owner stated that if I dint buy the mare then he was going to breed her back immediatly.I couldnt let that happen toher,she is in such bad shape. Anyway I have several questions on this situation. First of all the filly is very healthy and I want her to stay that way obviously. Im concerned about how long I should let her continue to nurse off of mommy? The shape the mare is in is so poor tobegin with and with a baby nursing off her that cant help but I know little filly needs the benefit of nursing. What would be my options as to how early she could be weaned? Next question is that the mare has in one weeks time made emotional progress and actually can hold her poor head up now and her eyes no longer are foggy looking since Ive been feeding her. Im wondering how long before I should see visual physical improvement in her? I dont know how she got this way, the previous owner has had her for years and he told me she was in poor condiditon and although she was the only horse he had in this condition from among about 50-60 head his horses are not what I prefer a horse to look like. Mine are not fat but definitly are "chowhounds" and spoiled compared to his minis. Any suggestions anyone? Im very concerned for my new filly so that she doesnt end up like her mom, and I want to get mom in good health so she can have a normal horsey life! Please forgive me for the lengthy post and hopefully I have posted in the right subject.
Sounds like a good evaluation by a veterinarian might be a good place to start...
Weaning can be performed as early as 2 months if needed, although it is going to vary on the individual animals and situation. Use of a nurse mare may be a better option, allowing you to take the foal off the mother right now (or once you get the nurse mare) and concentrating on getting the mare back to a good state of health.
Talk to your vet and see what they say after looking at the whole situation.
Kimberly, Do you have any idea how old the mare is? Her age may have a lot to do with the protocol you follow with here.
I definitely agree that a vet evaluation is the first priority. Get a vet out for a consultation ASAP. The scary thing about REALLY SEVERE malnourished horses is that you can literally be "too good to them too soon".
Also, in my opinion, parasites would most likely be a significant contributor to why she is so severely malnourished versus the others you found her with. My guess is she is carrying a HUGE parasite load.
Once again, you have to proceed on the side of caution with an animal that has a tremendous worm burden. I've seen really sad cases that had such a massive infestation that when they were wormed, it was a tremendous impact on the intestines, etc. and they wound up colicking, etc. i.e., the dead worms, etc., impaction. A good vet should be able to assist you in working thru the situation safely.
As far as weaning the little one at 3 weeks, I don't know the exact situation of your mare, but it is something you may want to go ahead and consider, but be careful because stress can really have a significant impact in a horse that is already weakened. I would maybe start getting her used to grain/hay if you haven't already and if it were me, I would also get her to drinking some milk replacer and lettting her fill up on some of that so that she takes some of the milking burden off of her mama.
Just keep in mind that you want to be good to mama but go slowly and definitely get a vet's advice as to feeding/worming protocol, etc. A lot of times with really severe cases its not as simple as just feeding them really good and giving them a dose of wormer.
Bless you for trying to help these two animals.
One other thing to keep in mind, if mama is loaded up with parasites, then most likely, so is baby. Once again a vet consult can help you get a protocol together for them both.
Thank you so much. WE have very slowly increased her feed and hay. We have done worming onn both of them. The mare is 8 years of age according to her registration papers but Im not sure how true that is. The mare is improving, she still has a horrible odor but it is slowly becomming less and less horendus! Her spirits have dramaticaly improved. She has picked up weight but like you said, we are going real slow and easy about this so that she doesnt end up being killed by our kindness (for lack of better phrase). Her spine and ribs are still protruding though now the skin around them now sortof flows from one bone to the next as opposed to seeing a definite hollowed out section between the bones. Its really disgusting that she ever got this way. But now at least she is on the road to recovery but I know its going to be a long road but she has a home that I know we will make sure she is well taken care of. The little filly is such a sweetie just like her mom. Im so glad I happened upon them.
Every one has given you sound advice I would look into a product called calf mana for mom and baby both the mana ppro company also produces some great milk replacers as well. Mini's are verty comonly weaned at 3 months of age versus the 6 months of reg. horses. I wouldnt take the baby completely off mom at this point but I agree filling her up with some hay/grain(calf mana) and milk replacer will help reduce moms load oh also a bath with tee tree oil shampoo will help her coat and general health a lot
An update on the malnourished mini mare! Good news, after wormings, gradual increases of grain, lots of love and encouragement, the gal is picking up weight and looks tremendously better than when i first posted about her! She still has a long road to go to get in top shape but now you can see so much improvement in her both physically and mentally. When we brought her home she either couldnt or wouldnt even lift her head up to greet you and now she has some life and spirit to her!Previously it was like she didnt even want to live but she knew to hang on long enough for her little filly. We have named her Hope because now she does have hope of living! Although her ribs are still quite prominent,I can no longer fit my fingers between her ribs like when I got her.Her spine still sticks up but there is even great progress there too, and now her hipbones have filled in. Im so proud of her, My other minis seem to have adopted her as a grandma figure! Nobody picks on her and they even let her eat first. Sorry about rattling on but she has come a long way!! And her little filly is so adorable. Ive got her spoiled rotten to the max! Ill have to post pics but I want hope to look a bit better yet so you all can see the before and after pics of her.
Kimberly, Good job. I'm glad to hear the ole gal is perking up. Still be very careful in feeding her, etc. and don't overdo. Sometimes in cases of extreme starvation, vital systems are damaged and it takes a long time for them to recover/repair. It hard not to be too good to them, but there is such a thing. I'm not trying to be a "downer" but sometimes these cases get amazing better and then something happens and you go "WHAT?". Just know that there may be some things internally that are going to take a while and you still have to be very careful and not overload her system.
If she is truly only 8 years old, then she has a good chance of recovering completely.
BTW, this "wonderful" fellow that you got the mare from, any charges filed? Did you report him to any authorities?
I still have a stud colt at his farm that i cant pick up until it is 4 months of age, so I currently have not filed any chaarges. Im sorta baffled by whata to do because all his other horses are of good health. Well at least they arent skinny and poor looking. They arent how I would keep them, as all my horses have nice glossy coats regardless of their color and they are all good on their weight, I keep up with the hooves and teeth. I think his problem is he just has too much property, too many minis 50-60 he says and not the time to properly care for them. The other mare and her baby and also a yearling that I had got from him are fine with the exception that they didnt have any clue what a carrot or apple was! He obviously doesnt give any personal attention to them as I do. I mean, this mare should have never gotten in this bad of shape to begin with. But if I do report him, Im going to wait till I get the little colt first then Ill "open up the can of worms" for him!
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