Friday, June 12, 2015

A Clean Bill of Health

All of my horses received a clean bill of health from the vet today, and they are all caught up on their vaccinations and dental work.  In the past, I've had some problems with Gabbrielle being overweight and Lostine and Bombay being underweight, but putting everyone on hay pellets and senior feed and keeping them separated for several hours after meals are served helped make sure that everyone was getting the proper amounts.  Lostine and Bombay are both considered to be "geriatric" horses, so supplements are no longer an option, but a requirement, in their daily feeding routines.

Last year I had a scare when the vet informed me that Rock had sand in his gut, but apparently I've managed to get it out and keep it out with psyllium.  The vet and dentist were talking about how good Lostine looks despite being 27 years old.  They asked if I still ride her.  I said I try to ride her a couple of days a week, but I don't take her up or down hills and only go for short rides.  The dentist asked if I just ride her in the arena.  I said, "Oh no, she's definitely not an arena horse.  I take her out on the trails, because she really enjoys getting out.  I just take the trails that I know are flat."

The vet was saying that for a long time, the average life span of a horse was 25 years old, but now that more and more people are putting their horses on pellet supplements, horses are living to be the average age of 30.  I asked her what are the most common ways that horses die of old age.  She looked at me kind of sideways, so I said, "I mean do they just keel over from congestive heart failure or what?"

She said, "Heart failure is more common in dogs.  Horses usually have to be put down due to either colic or just not being able to get up and down on their own."

I said, "So, people are making the decision of when to euthanize the horse?  It's not like you walk outside and find your horse dead in the paddock?"

She said that was the case.  It's rare to find that your horse passed peacefully in its sleep.  That got me hoping that when Lostine's time comes, it will be a clear cut decision.  She has a long history of gassy colic, and had I made the decision to put her down during any one of those episodes, I would have been cutting her life short prematurely, because she has always pulled through on her own.  I know I am fortunate to have not yet had to deal with such decisions where the horses are concerned.

The horses are droopy tonight, feeling the effects of their vaccinations, and having sore teeth and gums.  I went outside two hours after I fed them, and they each still had a full barrel of hay.  It looks like they'll have to be choosing between eating or sleeping tonight.  Me?  I'm choosing sleep.


TeresaA said...

It's a good feeling when you get the horses weight sorted , isn't it? For whatever reason I find that so satisfying.

Irish is now 15 which my farrier told me is considered 'senior'. I hadn't known that. What supplements do you give your horses?

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

TeresaA - I use 1/2 Bermuda and 1/2 alfalfa pellets, Safe Choice Senior, and Legacy joint supplement. That combo was a choice I made after lots of experimentation with different products. I wanted something that would keep the weight on, but not make the horses hyper and not be a production to prepare at mealtimes.

Crystal said...

I haven't had a horse get old I had to put them down yet either, but I now have one getting closer, shes 19 and just lives on pasture grass all summer and winter and she is a little overweight but that doesn't bother me...sure better than underweight. Ill keep her diet the same until she starts needing more I think. All my others are in the 10-12 range except the 2 newbies are youngens.

achieve1dream said...

I've been hearing such good things about senior feed. They must be doing something right. :-) I'm glad everyone got a clean bill of health!