Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Bombay Update

The vet came out a week after I set up the appointment to examine Bombay.  It always amazes me how quickly these thousand-pound animals can gain and lose a visible amount of weight.  At the time I set up the appointment, he was skinny and scrawny.  Just one week later, he looked good, because I increased his hay and supplements again, in addition to exercising him daily.  I wish my body could improve that quickly.  So, the vet just had to take my word for it that his weight has been difficult for me to manage all summer.

I told her about the problem of him taking so long to eat, and I asked her to check his teeth, check for ulcers, and check for worms.  She agreed, and said that when a horse is a hard keeper, the three things you first suspect are the teeth, the gut, and the diet.  I was thankful to Venom for reminding me in her comment to get a fecal sample.  I was able to plan ahead by cleaning out the stalls, and then locking Bombay up in his all morning so that we knew any manure in there was his and only his.

Our worming discussion was interesting.  Years ago I was told by my equine vets to worm the horses every 8 weeks, but I was told by a horse trainer to worm every 12 weeks.  Both had good arguments as to why, so I decided to meet in the middle and worm by rotating paste every 10 weeks.  However, the last couple of times I wormed the horses, I wormed them late, so it was more like 12 weeks.  The vet said that is good, because worms are beginning to build up immunities to the wormers, and there are no new wormers coming out on the market.  That means we need to back off how often we worm our horses.  They are now recommending worming only 3 to 4 times a year.

She checked his teeth and said that he shouldn't be due for another float for six months, so no issues there.  Then she pulled up really hard on his gut to see if she could get a reaction out of him, but he just smiled and looked happy.  She said that gut palpitations are not a reliable way to check for gastric ulcers, though.  The only real way to tell is to scope the lining, which is an expensive procedure.  She said it is possible he could have ulcers, but if I take the approach of assuming he has one or some, and treat him with either prescribed or non-prescribed ulcer medications, it will cost about $50 per day to treat for a couple of weeks.  Since he didn't have any definitive signs, she suggested just soothing his tummy with some less expensive approach, such as Smart Gut or Neighlox, an equine form of Maalox.  You can also use Maalox itself.

We decided to do a blood panel since he has a history of melanomas, which she also checked for and didn't find any.  Bombay was so cute when he was having his blood drawn.  The vet's assistant was feeding him cookies while he was getting pricked, and he had his ears forward with his eyes sparkling.  He looked so happy to be receiving all that attention.  The vet noticed and said that it's a really good sign that he's "bright" and perky.

The main thing we discussed was his feeding routine.  We both think that the facts that I've lost three hay suppliers in the past year, and that the ones I've been able to keep haven't been consistent in what they supply, have contributed to the problem.  I'm constantly having to change up the horses' feed routines to adapt to supply.  In turn, the horses' guts have to adjust to their new diet.  When I lived in Nevada, I had the same hay supplier for 13 years and the horses looked healthy.  Now I never know if I'm going to be feeding grass, alfalfa, or some kind of mix, hay or pellets or mainly supplements due to a shortage of both.

Anyway, despite me increasing the amount of hay pellets Bombay eats, the vet told me to still double the amount from the last increase.  Offer 4 pounds per feeding or 8 pounds per day.  She also told me to add in either soaked beet pulp or rice bran.  Rice bran can give the horses too much energy and has to be introduced slowly into the diet.  I have fed soaked beet pulp in the past and the horses didn't like it, but I'm trying it again.  I've also been feeding Bombay and Lostine Safe Choice Senior to try to increase their protein and fat, and she told me to keep supplying him with that.  She's also a fan of joint supplements, and I do already give the horses MSM / Glucosamine Chondroitin.  So, we've got that base covered.

This new feeding and medicating routine has tripled the amount of time I spend down at the barn each morning and night, and I think I'm going to need to make some changes in my storage arrangements.  I just bought two tubs to hold the grains and pellets I was already using, and now I will need to get two more.  During monsoon season, I stored the bags of hay pellets in the garage to keep them dry, but the garage is a long ways away from the barn, so transporting the 80-pound bags is not easy.  I tried lifting them into the wagon and wheeling them down to the barn, but I always managed to pull a muscle in my back or neck when lifting, so now my husband has to do the lifting.  However, he's only available in the daylight hours on the weekends, so if I run out of pellets before then, things get more complicated.  If I can keep two bags of pellets at a time down at the barn, I can have my husband resupply them over the weekend and not run out.

Anyway, I'm waiting for the blood panel and fecal sample results.  When I get them, I'll update in the comments here.


baystatebrumby said...

I love how absolutely thorough you are in considering everything that could be affecting your horses. If only more people were more methodical and inquisitive rather than just freaking out!

achieve1dream said...

I have my fingers crossed for positive results!! I've always only dewormed three or four times a year. I don't know why. I was just raised to deworm with the seasons. :-)

Alfalfa and aloe vera juice are also soothing to tummies!

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

I finally got Bombay's fecal and blood test results. The fecal was negative for worms. Everything was normal in the blood tests, except that one test showed inflammation and possibly an infection. She said a normal count is 400 and he was 600. However, no other tests suggested inflammation or infection, so it must have been mild. She said we could either redraw his blood to see if the count has come down or put him on antibiotics. He's much better now, so I opted to only have her out if he stopped eating again or looked sick or in pain.

achieve1dream said...

That's good!! You know your boy and you were right that something was wrong, but I'm glad it was mild and that his body fought it off. :)