Items

Forums
 
How to Feed a Starving or Malnourished Horse
 By Winniefield Park   •   8th Feb 2014   •   3,571 views   •   0 comments
How to Feed a Starving or Malnourished Horse

One of the things I miss about having my own pastures is that I enjoyed rehabilitating horses that were down in condition. There is something very satisfying about watching the sharp angles of a skinny horse round out, life come back into their eye and energy return to their stride.

If you and I are really hungry, we sit down to a good meal and fill up. However, things aren't quite that simple for a starving horse. It's tempting to think that the solution to starvation is lots and lots of food. But, we could be doing more harm than good if we allow starving horses to eat all they want. Something called 're-feeding syndrome' can occur in starving horses allowed to take in a lot of starchy calories all at once. The sudden intake of a lot of carbohydrates causes a spike in insulin production ó the hormone that makes the body's cell absorb glucose from the carbs, into the blood. This causes a change in the electrolytes (minerals and salts) in the blood, and the red blood cells break down, causing respiratory failure. Death can occur three to five days after the first meal.

Related: What Happens When A Horse Starves
Related: What to Do If You Think a Horse is Starving
Related: The Five Dollar Horse In The Shed
Related: Horse We Purchased At Auction Was Drugged
Related: Entertainment Or Abuse? - You Decide

Horses that are severely emaciated may also be dehydrated, their electrolyte balances may be askew and intravenous fluids may be the safest way to ensure the horse is getting the fluid it needs. To encourage the horse to drink, it may be recommended that you add salt to its water. The horse's digestive system may also have been damaged or impaired, and the horse will be more susceptible to disease and infection. So any severely emaciated horse will need the careful attention of a veterinarian.

Small amounts of low carb food, served in frequent intervals is the best strategy. Alfalfa hay is most often recommended. For an average-sized horse, one pound (.5 kg) of alfalfa hay should be fed every four hours. Slowly the amount of food can be increased, while the number of feedings a day can be decreased. After about ten days, the horse can be allowed to eat as much hay as it wants. It's important not to feed grain or other concentrates during this time period, to avoid the possibility of the horse getting too many carbohydrates. One study of rehabilitating starving horses included feeding corn oil with the alfalfa, but it was felt that there was no particular benefit to doing this. If the horse can't chew, because of injury or dental problems, alfalfa hay cubes can be soaked to make a slurry. Beet pulp isn't recommended at this point, because of the higher carbohydrate content.

After about ten days to two weeks, the horse can eat alfalfa hay free choice, as much as it wants. If you suspect dental or parasite problems, you can address these. You should hold off feeding concentrates as long as possible. Provide plenty of fresh water, and loose salt.

It may take several weeks for the horse to start feeling more energetic. Mineral imbalances can cause a horse to become irritable, or continue to be lethargic. Blood tests can help determine any complications, and the help of your veterinarian, or an adjustment to the feeding schedule may solve these problems. The process of re-feeding a horse is slow and it's months before they are fully recovered. However, it is one of the most satisfying processes a horse owner can take part in.
Horse News More PB Articles About:  Starve,
Horse News More In This Category:  General      Horse News More From This Author:  Winniefield Park
 Related Horse News
What to Do If You Think a Horse is Starving
11th Feb 2014   |   General   |   Winniefield Park
Have you ever driven past a field, noticed a horse and then had your stomach drop as you think, OMG, that horse is so skinny! I know I have. If there's only one horse in a group of otherwise healthy herd, there's probably not a lo ...
What Happens When A Horse Starves
9th Feb 2014   |   General   |   Winniefield Park
It's hard to believe that in North America, where we enjoy some of the highest standards of living, that animals, including horses, starve to death. It's shocking when news stories report stables full of starving horses, and it ha ...
How to Feed a Starving or Malnourished Horse
8th Feb 2014   |   General   |   Winniefield Park
One of the things I miss about having my own pastures is that I enjoyed rehabilitating horses that were down in condition. There is something very satisfying about watching the sharp angles of a skinny horse round out, life come b ...
  View More PonyBox Related Horse Articles
 More News by Winniefield Park
Teen Rescues Girls from Pond After Horse Alerts of Danger
27th Feb 2021   |   General   |   Winniefield Park
Oliver normally enjoys being groomed by his young owner, but when she noticed Oliver getting restless she wondered at his was unusual behavior. It wasnít until that she noticed some neighbor kids playing on a frozen pond that she ...
PonyBox Highest Earners
21st Feb 2021   |   General   |   Winniefield Park
Itís no surprise that the top-winning mare and stallion are also Ponyboxís highest earners. Or, that the highest-winning stable also produces many of the most successful jumpers. Here is a look at the outstanding earners on Ponybo ...
Hard to Watch as Man Jumps into Horse Race Final Stretch
20th Feb 2021   |   General   |   Winniefield Park
Lots of sports fans pay top dollar to buy seats that put them almost in the middle of the action. But this race fan took getting into the action a little too seriously. It was a lot of risk for an experience that lasted a moment. ...
The Horses of the Shetland Islands
15th Feb 2021   |   General   |   Winniefield Park
Take a quick armchair trip to see pastoral landscapes, otter crossings and adorable, furry Shetland ponies! This travel video highlights some of the sights on the archipelago that makes up the Shetland Islands. This is the native ...
PonyBox February Top Spots
14th Feb 2021   |   General   |   Winniefield Park
As we reach the middle of February 2021 these horses are holding the top spots. A rare breed is making an appearance in the ranks of Best Jump while Friesians are holding many of the top spots in the ranks. ...
Cat Jumps on Horses back Video
11th Feb 2021   |   General   |   Winniefield Park
Where do you go when your feet get cold. This foolish kitty decided to sink its toes into the plush coat of an equine pal. Or perhaps pal isnít the right word. Itís quite possible kitty has a future in rodeo. Now, all we need is k ...
Actor Horse Ride Training For Netflix Series Bridgerton
9th Feb 2021   |   General   |   Winniefield Park
Bridgerton is one of the newest Netflix series feeding our binge-watching needs. Set in Regency-era England you know that the characters wonít be jumping and smart cars to get around to their various teas, balls and romantic assig ...
PonyBox Horse and Barn Top Performers and Stats
7th Feb 2021   |   General   |   Winniefield Park
Hereís a quick snapshot at the top horses, barns and earners on PonyBox. Check out these performers and the huge amount of PonyBucks these horses and barns have earned! ...
  View All News by Winniefield Park
 
©2002 - 2021   PonyBox LLC Create Account Advertise Terms Privacy Contact Us
173 Members Online 270,111 Registered Members 2,849 News Articles 12,162,099 Unique News Article Views 291,646,816 Website Views