Random and Rapid Weight Loss

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  • 13cweisberg Original Poster
    Topics Started: 1Replies Posted: 0

    My horse William is an 18yr old Percheron Quarter Horse Cross. I’ve had him for over five years now and he has always lived outside full-time in New Hampshire. I recently for this past school year went off to college in Pennsylvania and took him with me.At his new barn, he was started off slowly but eventually put out on grass full-time, which he has never had before in the years that I’ve owned him. He has always lived in a dirt paddock and had access to grass for a few hours a day at times. He adjusted quite well to the move and the new barn and had no issues. Unfortunately, when I brought him back to Pennsylvania this past May, he lost some weight from the travel as can be expected for a long ride. We have now been back at our old farm in New Hampshire (and off of full-time grass turnout) since May. He never seemed to re-gain the weight he lost from the trip and looked somewhat thin ever since he got back and then in the past month or so began rapidly losing weight. In the matter of one week we were able to see a large difference in his weight. For a big percheron cross like himself, we usually encounter the opposite problem and have to be careful that he’s not getting too heavy, so this is quite uncharacteristic for him and has now become very alarming. His grain and hay intake have been upped dramatically and he is now eating well over the amount that a horse his size should be getting. We did a fecal test and he came back negative and had his teeth checked and they were declared healthy. Although he is slowly looking better with his weight, this still just seems so out of character for him that I feel like there must be an underlying issue. Personality and attitude and riding have not changed for him throughout all of this, he has remained almost the exact same horse except for the dramatic weight loss. If you have any ideas at all or suggestions for things to check that is greatly appreciated. Thank you!!!

    pheets pheets
    Topics Started: 5Replies Posted: 475

    Older horses tend to not absorb nutrients as well as in their younger years and this might be your boy’s situation, ‘specially where you say all else is status quo. Might want to chat with your vet about a more senior oriented diet. He just might need something that is easier to digest/absorb? If a diet change is suggested and yet does not improve things, definitely chat with the vet [again]. Might also be the weather, we had a few days of high heat (New England) and humidity and that will definitely effect MY guys weight..

    Good luck with this, it is hard to watch our beloveds age but they do, and with thoughtful application, they can age with grace and comfort : )

    Sure there's right and wrong but mostly there's just a whole lotta different.

    NinaJD NinaJD
    Topics Started: 8Replies Posted: 139

    I agree with pheets. maybe look at a diet change. My boy only tends to lose weight at the beginning of spring and then puts it back on. He’s also 19.
    have you considered putting him on a free feed grass hay and see if that helps?

    "Take the time it takes, so that it takes less time."
    "Expect a lot, accept a little, reward often."
    Pat Parelli

    pheets pheets
    Topics Started: 5Replies Posted: 475

    The mention that this has been a rapid weight loss is worthy of concern and investigation. 18 might be older but it is not necessarily OLD. Draft breeds ( and their crosses) can be susceptible to various conditions such as insulin resistance, metabolic disturbances and other systemic issues (all kinds of Es, Ps and Ms and Ss) that WILL interfere with weight mgt. Talk with your vet to be sure. Fingers crossed that your situation is easy to manage and readily solved.

    Sure there's right and wrong but mostly there's just a whole lotta different.

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