I got a call yesterday while I was out running errands to come look at a horse that had lost weight and the owners were having trouble getting it to gain weight. They told me he was in his 30's based on what the man who gave him to them said a year ago and they couldn't understand why he would not gain weight.
I explained how older horses molar teeth expire and lose all chewing capacity making it difficult for them to chew hay, pellets or anything that requires grinding ability. It would be like us trying to chew steak with no molar teeth.
We discussed some options she had like feeding him a full diet of senior feed (15-20 pounds a day), humanely euthanizing him since he was so old and I offered for him to come to EqWBR. She asked me if I would come look at his teeth to determine his age so I headed to their house.
When I got there and she showed me the horse I was shocked at how thin he was. She said he was thin, but he was truly emaciated. His teeth were totally worn to the gums and he was balling up hay in his mouth and spitting it out, something common with older horses called 'quidding'. She showed me how much senior feed he was getting a day and it was only 3 pounds. No wonder he was not gaining weight.
She agreed to let me take him so I went back home, got the truck and trailer and immediately went back to get this sweet horse. They were waiting for my return, he loaded in the trailer great and we got to EqWBR about 3pm yesterday afternoon.
It was a cool and windy day and this poor guy had been out in Monday nights rain with no blanket to keep his poor bones warm. We bundled him up and put him in the barn with the outside doors closed out of the wind. He didn't seem to care what we did as long as he had food in front of him.
We had already taken 'intake' pictures, measured his height and weight using our 3000lb digital livestock scale, done basic vitals and set up a small but frequent feeding schedule.
We filled his stall with nice soft bedding so he could lay down and rest if he wanted. Again, when there was food, eat was all he wanted to do.
I have so many pictures of his skin and bones condition, but I don't have the heart to share them. He weighs 20 pounds more than Sable did last year the first time we put her on the scale. He should weigh well over 1000 pounds for his size, not the 742 he weighs.
We have a long way to go to get him well. The vet will be out on Monday to draw blood, the farrier will do his feet later this week (it is clear they have not been done for many months, if at all) and we have him on the refeeding diet recommended by UC Davis Veterinary University. Getting his health back will take 3-6 months.
If you would like to help with a donation towards his medical bills, feed and health care cost it would be so appreciated. Senior Feed is almost $25 a bag right now and he will need 3 bags a week, alfalfa, hay, supplements and so much more.
Just click the donate button to make a tax-deductible donation for his care.
I went out to check on him a little bit ago and he was trying hard to fall asleep. His eye lids kept dropping, but in a new place staying alert is their nature. We hope he settles in quickly and realizes he will have food, warmth, protection and lots of TLC.