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Discuss Old horse with unknown sickness!!! Help! at the Horse Health forum - Horse Forums.

One of the horses boarded at my farm has some odd symptoms and we can't ...
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    Senior Member horsekrazy89's Avatar
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    Old horse with unknown sickness!!! Help!

    One of the horses boarded at my farm has some odd symptoms and we can't pinpoint what it is. We are waiting on bloodwork back from the vet. He is around 28 years old and is a QH that has been pleasure ridden. A few years ago he was bought from Texas and moved to Chicago. The beginning of this college semester he was moved to my farm. in KY He came a little underweight and we have been very successfull at getting him to a great weight and he has held that weight. When he came he wasn't always eating his senior feed, but ate almost all. Some days he would eat most and others he would leave almost all of his grain. We switched him to Safe Choice thinking another grain would fix the problem. It didn't. Same issues. So we now put an oz of corn oil in for some flavor and 1/3 scoop beet pulp. He gets 3/4 scoop Safe choice as well. In the evening he gets his SmartPak which includes Condrogin EQ. Over winter break he began to really eat most of his grain and it was a relief. A week ago he has began to refuse to eat hardly any of his grain, not much hay, wasn't drinking, and has been seperating himself from the herd. Even though he isn't eating he has not dropped any weight surprisingly. Because he isn't moving hardly any when out to pasture his legs are stocked up so we hand walk him to reduce swelling. He gets 1/2 tube electrolytes per day and the vet found a little gengivitis in one tooth(not enough to cause this much of a problem and he has had regular floating) so he is also getting 2 scoops of Uniprim per day. Since he doesn't eat his food we are making a paste with the medicine and giving it to him in a syringe. This is the point we are currently at and we are puzzled. Any ideas??? Everyone at the barn is upset and doesn't know how much longer this horse has. Please help.

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    Stomach ulcers?
    Or maybe he is just giving up. I had an old one do that....I couldn't even get him to eat applesauce...with cinnamon...or molassas...even when squirted in his mouth with a syringe he wouldn't eat. It was just his way of saying he was ready to go. He was 35.

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    Senior Member horsekrazy89's Avatar
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    I wonder about ulcers but the attitude he has doesn't fit the ulcer description however I know all horses react differently so that could very well be a possibility. Anyone else have ideas???? Please tell if you do!

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    Senior Member bajaluna's Avatar
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    cant really know I think the bloodwork will be your best indicator

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    Senior Member+ cschattner's Avatar
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    I had a horse drop weight like that and it was a struggle the entire way. It broke my heart every day when I had to go out there and see my baby looking the way she did. Unfortunately I lost that battle when she stopped eating and by the time we got her to eat again it was just to late. I had to put her down alone with my vet, thankfully she was already down so I did not have to see her crash to the floor.
    I would say look into cancers, we suspect that was my girls problem but we where never able to get a for sure answer.
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    Senior Member+ horse345's Avatar
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    Does he have diarrhea? I had a POA who dropped weight and muscle super fast. The vets originally thought it was Colitis X...swelling of the large intestine. He had explosive diarrhea and would not eat. Somehow then he got an upper respiratory infection and finally Bacterial Pneumonia in his lungs. After 2 weeks of rough struggling we put him down. He couldn't breathe and it was killing me to keep him in that kind of condition.

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    Senior Member horsekrazy89's Avatar
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    Well the thing that blows my mind is his weight has not changed a bit even with him not hardley eating for months. It's the weirdest thing ever. The only thing on that issue I can think of was that before he came to my farm he didn't get the nutritional feed and hay that I feed (high protein bermuda hay) so what little he does eat is more nutritious than where he came from maybe? But to answer questions...no weight loss and no diarrhea. My mind is so confused about this. Any other tips????

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    About the only thing I have to add to this would be that at age 28....that's an old horse nowadays. Is it possible that he's having some pain issues somewhere that you haven't discovered? Have you checked his respiration/pulse/temp? When they stop eating like that....they are definitely telling you that something is wrong. The tricky part is, finding out what.

    Are you cold hosing his legs since he's stocked up? I don't know what the weather is like where you are, but if it's not too cold, I would also do that.

    At that age....there may not be anything wrong....he may just be sensing that his time is near, and he's preparing for it. If his bloodwork comes back ok, then I would be sure to make his final days as comfortable for him as you possibly can. And, if you can't keep him comfortable....well, maybe you should end it for him.

    What is his disposition like? Is he depressed also, or is he acting happy, and alert?

    Will send a prayer your way that whatever it is, he either recovers soon and gives you more years of joy, or that it is over soon, and he passes peacefully.

    Good luck, and keep us posted.
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    If its cold there you could blanket him to help reduce the energy being spent on keeping him warm. We had a appendix at our lesson barn that had been starved before we got him, we got him to put on quite a bit of weight, but he still didn't put on as much as we wanted no matter how much we fed him. Putting a blanket on through winter helped keep his weight stable and increase it a bit. He usually had a hard time through the winter. I know its not going to solve your problem of him not eatting, but maybe it will help conserve some energy for him while you are waiting for the bloodwork and trying to maintain his weight.

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    Senior Member horsekrazy89's Avatar
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    He is blanketed under freezing and his TPR's are normal. I agree that it may just be age, but we are just hoping that there is something fixable. As far as disposition...I have only known him since August and he has always been ultra calm and mopey, but recently he has done a lot less moving around and has moped a lot more. It's just sad and I didn't know if maybe any of y'all had ideas and thank you for all the tips!!! Any other tips would be great!

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