Re: Weight Gain Woes


As always, thanks for the replies!

Hi Cass, here are the answers to your questions/comments:

1. I am quite anxious to get his ACTH results.  In some ways, I don’t think he’s looking as well as he did when he first started pergolide.  For example, I thought he was sweating and peeing less shortly after commensing treatment.  However, I’ve lately noticed that he’s back to sweating more than Mo is, and I think he might be urinating more than he had been, too.  It’s hard to say for sure, and considering that he didn’t have a super high ACTH to begin with, I would be surprised if he isn’t well controlled, but he doesn’t *look* fully controlled to me.  Really looking forward to the lab report!

2.  Hmm... Hay on the ground?  I don’t typically feed off the ground...  I’ll bet you’re seeing the straw that I use on the barn floor!  So goodness, no!  That’s not what I’m expecting him to eat!     That said, our hay isn’t the finest and lovliest hay out there.  It *is* on the coarse side (not lke the straw, though!).  I have a hay analysis in my case history if you’d like to see it.  Previously, Dr. Kellon had also brought up the possibility of the hay being an issue, and that’s why I upped his bagged feeds to their current levels.  I went from something like hay/balancer + 4 lb beet pulp, 1 lb flax, and 2 lb timothy cubes up to hay/balancer + 4 lb timothy balance cubes, 2 lb flax, and 5 lb Safe Starch, as was Dr. Kellon’s suggestion.  Honestly, I haven’t seen any major change in his body condition in the more than 1 month that he’s been on the improved diet.  I am still mildly suspicious of his diet/hay, but I believe we would be seeing more of an improvement by now if the hay had been the cuprit.  Is that true?

3.  The horses are separated at meal times, when they receive all their bagged feeds, supplements, and meds.  This is when they’re both getting the highest quality feeds I offer them- Timothy Balance Cubes, Safe Starch, and Golden Flax.  I keep Audi separated from Mo until Audi loses interest in his meal.  I currenly feed 2 meals a day, and everything is carefully weighed.  I can confirm that Audi eats about 5 lb at these meals, give or take.  Occasionally he leaves his morning bowl before it’s totally empty (I don’t think he loves the minerals), and I just add that to his evening Safe Starch.  Sometimes he cleans the bowl, and I top it off with extra Safe Starch until he completely loses interest.

As for hay, I’m not totally clear on how I would separate them for that, since I try to let them trickle feed all day.  That is, unless you’re suggesting I remove all hay from their track and only offer it at a “meal” in the interest of being able to weigh it?  I could do that, the only downside being that I’m not always on the property all day to offer 3 meals, and they would be fasted overnight.  It is really worth it, all things considered?

4.  I can give the prebiotic a try.  Certainly, it can’t hurt anything.  I am slightly confused, however.  In humans, I think of fiber when I think of prebiotics.  Certainly, the horses get plenty of fiber from their hay, so why/when might a prebiotic be needed?  Would a probiotic also potentially be of use?  And thanks for the brand suggestions.  

5.  The horses live on a track system.  Generally, it’s only the horses on there, but the goats (9 head of boers) can also access the track and the barn.  In bad weather, the horses and goats shelter together in the barn.  Occasionally, I graze the cattle (4 head) in the track’s central paddock, and I used the cattle to help clear grass on the track when I was building it.  Currently, the horses and cattle do not have direct access to each other.  We also have poultry- flocks of chickens, turkeys, and guineas.  The guineas patrol the entire property, keeping down bugs and other pests and picking through manure.  The turkeys occasionally wander through the horses’ area also.  The chickens seldom go where the horses are.  We have hogs (4 head).  They are penned about 25’ away from any area the horses access, though they have occasionally been in the pasture.  We also have cats, dogs, and rabbits.  Our animals are wormed as needed and monitored for parasites.  

If you’re considering parasites, it’s probably also worth mentioning wildlife.  I have seen evidence of raccoons, skunks, rabbits, and armadillos with regularity in the horses area.  I saw a single coyote on our property.  Deer are kept out by an 8’ game fence & our electric fencing.  

We have oppossum in the area, though I’ve only seen a single one on our property in the past few years, and that was up near the house.  I’m sure there are others that I’m not seeing.  My only real parasite concern for the horses is EPM.  That *could* cause the weight issues we see in Audi, but I think his overall picture is far more suggestive of PPID than of EPM.  He has no neurological issues, only some stiffness presumably caused by years of poor shoeing and radiograph-confirmed arthritis.

Dr. Kellon, after some back and forth, my vet ended up sending the ACTH & insulin  to Cornell instead of to A&M.  Is that what you mean when you say send to them directly? As for sample handling, when I draw for ACTH, I use pre-chilled EDTA tubes and immediately put the sample on ice and take it straight to the vet.  I confirmed with the vet that they know to keep the sample chilled and spin it down ASAP.  And when I received the lab report from A&M, it noted directly on the report that the sample was received frozen and in a plastic tube, so I think everything was done exactly as it need to be.     

Dr. Kellon, back a month ago or so, when you suggested I switch up Audi’s diet, you said to discontinue feeding him beet pulp in lieu of increased Balance Cubes & Flax, plus the addition of Safe Starch.  Considering that he’s still so skinny, do you think it’s a good idea to add in some beet pulp now?

Lindsay in TX 2020

Audi Case History:

Audi Photo Album: 

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