Re: Weight Gain Woes


Hi, Lindsay.
Dr Kellon is your expert on this conundrum, but I have a couple of thoughts. Good to hear the blood panel was normal.

1. If his PPID is NOT well-controlled, it may not matter how much you feed him until after his ACTH gets down to the normal level. My first rescue came to me ribby and hippy, not as thin as Audi but definitely a BCS 3.5-4 max. She needed to be diagnosed with PPID, treated and fed a protein-enhanced diet before she looked normal. She was only 19, but it worked quickly.

2. If his PPID is well-controlled, then there may be a fundamental problem with your feeding program. As a belt and suspenders type of thinker, I'd start with your assumptions.  Obvious question: is the hay on the ground in your recent photo of Audi is typical of the hay you are feeding him? It is very yellow and coarse looking. If Audi were mine, I'd be looking for softer, greener hay. That hay may be fine for Mo, but Audi at 21 could easily require a softer, greener hay to get needed calories. Switching hay must be done slowly and thoughtfully over are 10-14 day period. 

3. Is there any reason you can't set up a separate area for Audi to eat, where all his feed is weighed and you can confirm how much he's fed and how much he eats? That doesn't mean he has to be isolated 24/7. But giving him 2-3 hours alone to eat all his feeds three times a day would be my plan. Then your assumptions about his feed consumption can be confirmed without any doubt. 

4. At age 21 or so, it is harder for him to process and extract from the feed he does consume. I would make sure he has a good quality prebiotic on board to facilitate the development of adequate microorganisms in his digestive tract. The fact he has normal manure suggests he's digesting well -- many horses get loose manure when they eat less digestible hay.  I've seen good results from treating my horses with FORCO or Uckele Absorb-All. Again, my first rescue Satra was case in point, prone to week-long bouts of loose manure almost monthly as long as I had her. My latest rescue, who was thin when she came and also managed in a very isolated way benefited from prebiotics. I was cautioned it could take her a while to re-establish normal digestion, and it did. 

5. Can you give us a list of the species of animals he's living with? Goats? Sheep? Others? It's a long shot but different kinds of livestock harbor unusual parasites that might be a consideration. 

Cass, Sonoma Co., CA 2012
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