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Feeding and Rebuilding a Malnourished Horse


malnourished horse21. Begin by understanding what reasonable chance your horse has of living. This will help save you from the heartbreak of losing an animal you expected to live. A veterinarian will score the horse's body condition from 0 -10 with 0 being dead from starvation and 10 being about to die from obesity. The closer the score is to zero the more likely you are to lose them. A healthy horse scores in the mid ranges.

2. The first and most important step is to get the horse eating a low protein diet as quickly as you can. AVOID grains as they can kill a starving horse. Put them out to pasture and let them graze at will while providing them alfalfa. A half a flake twice a day is a great way to start.

3. If they show no interest in eating, you may have to tempt the horse with a sweet slurry. Check with your vet first, and then combine warm water, vegetable oil, and sweet feed together. Remember that since the body begins to devour itself when starving, the stomach may be covered in ulcers and will not be accustomed to food so you will have to reintroduce it gradually.

4. Feed a malnourished horse two to three percent of their body weight in hay as they begin to improve. Make sure the hay is fresh and parasite free.

5. Once the horse begins to show improvement, begin an aggressive daily de-worming treatment. Internal parasites prevent the absorption of critical nutrients and need to be eradicated as quickly as possible for your horse to improve.

6. Make sure that your horse receives weekly veterinarian visits. Update your vet on how you are handling deworming and what the current diet is for your horse.

7. Examine the possibility of adding Senior feed to his diet. This type of feed has higher concentrations of fiber, fat and yeast which will help to bring up your horses weight.

8. Discuss with your veterinarian adding a fat supplement to encourage weight gain. Consider rice bran or vegetable fat that is spread over the top of the grain or mixed in. You can also add a half cup of vegetable oil to morning and evening grains.

9. Vitamins and minerals can be added. Be sure to check with your vet and pick ones that are specifically for age and condition. Start with very small amounts as over feeding them can lead to shock.

10. Once the horse is on the road to recovery, begin adding higher protein foods such as sweet feed, cracked corn, and soaked beet pulp. Always check with your vet and be sure you aren't feeding too many "hot" foods as these can be deadly even to a healthy animal.


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