Feeding the Overweight Horse

Returning your horse to a more normal weight is essential for long term health and happiness!  Arriving at a normal body composition, at it’s simplest, is the combination of calories consumed and calories expended.  If your horse needs to lose a couple (or more) pounds, he will need to use more than he eats.

HELP! How do I feed my horse?

Can talk basic feeding principles, then refer them to our Nutrition category for more specific information.

(I envision the HELP! posts as quick hit information that can refer to other more in-depth posts)

HELP! My horse can’t walk

There can be a lot of reasons why our horses are struggling to get around. Check out some options below to see what makes the most sense for your situation.

+ My horse can’t walk because his/her front feet seem sore

– See founder

+ My horse can’t walk on one of its legs

If your horse is struggling to put weight on any of its legs it is important to get into contact with us quickly. You can call us at any time of day, any day of the week, at 303-841-6006. However answering some quick questions may help us determine if this is something that require immediate vet care, or something that we can see within 12 – 24 hours. When you call these are the questions you’ll likely be asked

– Is your horse bleeding from the hurt leg?

– Does it appear that anything is out of place on your horse’s limb?

– Is your horse entirely non-weight bearing? Or will they put a little bit of weight on the heel or the toe of their hurt leg?

– Is there any heat or swelling anywhere on the limb?

– Is there any heat in the hoof of the affected limb?

– Does your horse have a fever?

– Has your horse had any previous issues with this leg?

– Is your horse on any anti-inflammatory medications, such as Bute, Banamine, Meloxicam, Equioxx?

– Do you have any anti-inflammatory medications?

There is chance we will need to take some radiographs to determine the extent of the issue with your horse. We need electricity, so plan for us needing to use an outlet of some sort and let us know where that will be. Ideally we want to stay as close to your horse’s stall as possible, since they are probably pretty unwilling to move.

The list of issues that cause single limb lameness in horses is a mile long, and the severity of the issues can also vary. It is important to make sure you talk to your vet quickly and don’t let an issue sit for too long. Sometimes you don’t need us, but sometimes you do and waiting can make it worse! It is always better to at least have the conversation, so give us a call at 303-841-6006.

HELP! My horse is colicing, now what?

Colic is one of those terms that is a bit all encompassing. Ultimately, it means your horse has a belly ache of some sort. Horses can show colic in a variety of ways, but here are some common behaviors:

– Refusing to eat

– Laying down even after you get them up again, or during feeding

– Rolling excessively

– Pawing the ground

– Looking, biting or kicking at their abdomen

– Stretching as if to urinate

– Excessive flehmen response

– Increased heart rate

– Sweating and increased breathing rate

Time is an important factor with colic. If you feel your horse is colicking immediately call us at 303-841-6006. While you wait for us try to walk your horse at a brisk pace, but only if your horse is safe to handle. Some horses can be very violent during a colic episode. If this is the case it is more important that you stay safe. When the vet arrives we will take care of it!

HELP! My horse is foundering!

Unfortunately founder, also known as laminitis, is a more common problem in the horse world than we would like. Time is crucial with a horse that is foundering. We need to try to stop the laminitic episode as quickly as possible, as well as determine if any rotation has occurred. So if you think your horse is foundering call us immediately at 303-841-6006. We will want to come see your horse within 12-24 hours, but here are some things to do before your appointment.

IMMEDIATELY remove your horse from pasture. This is vital. We do not want your horse eating any more sugar from the field!

Stop feeding any and all grain. Even if the bag says “low starch” do not feed it. All grain has sugar and if your horse is having a laminitic flare we need to significantly reduce their sugar.

– If you feed grass hay soak it for 30 minutes, drain the water, then feed it. Again, this is all about sugar. By soaking the hay we remove water soluble sugars.

– Confine your horse to a small area with lots of soft bedding (like 6-8″ lots). This will help alleviate some of the pressure your horse is feeling when standing. We want them to be as comfortable as possible

– If you have Bute on hand let your veterinarian know when you talk to them. Do not administer it without their direction however, as they may want to give something when they come out that Bute may limit their ability to give. Laminitis is an inflammatory disease, so if we can reduce the inflammation we can help them stay more comfortable.

– There is a high likelihood we will need to take some radiographs to determine the severity of the laminitis in your horse. We need electricity, so plan for us needing to use an outlet of some sort and let us know where that will be. Ideally we want to stay as close to your horse’s stall as possible, since they are probably pretty unwilling to move.

There are a lot of ways we can help a horse recover from a laminitic episode, even severe ones, but it is important to get it handled as quickly as possible. Make sure to call us at 303-841-6006 as soon as you suspect a problem!