NEW MEMBER-- Need some help!


The vet is coming in the morning, but I need some guidance.

My apologies for not setting up a profile for my horse yet, but I just need to know how to help my horse tonight.

Harley 15.2 Tennessee Walking Horse 21 or 22
I've had him for over 10 years now. Rock solid good guy.

We've been fighting penis cancer about 1 1/2 years. Surgery to remove a growth went great. Done a couple of rounds of chemo to keep it at bay. So in January when I saw his sheath start to swell I called the vet and we decided to do another round of chemo as it was time anyway. She thought perhaps being dirty (penis cancer makes for a lot of smegma) getting him cleaned and then treated would take care of it. The chemo (cream) ended in early March. After the first chemo his sheath had swollen, so I waited four weeks. It hadn't gone down. So I called first thing last week to have her come out. She'll be here in tomorrow first visit of the day.

At the end of the week I noticed he was losing top line, his hips sticking out a bit. Or was I imagining it? A friend came by. She verified it. She also mentioned his chewing. He had his teeth done last year in May during his annual. I'll have the vet check that. Is he having trouble chewing hay?

My two horses live free, together. I took out the divider in three stalls, and opened up the aisle to them. Put up fencing between the barn and the arena that's 14 feet away to connect them. That leads to a woodlot. So they come and go 24/7.

My mare could easily go the IR route (which is why I joined here in 2020 to understand it) so once the grass starts growing I reduce their pasture time significantly. But over the winter I let them stay out 3 or even 5 hours. During the winter they get bored, obviously not enough to eat, so I put hay out. Which they clean up.

But now looking back I'm thinking... As soon as the New Year hits here spring perks up. Even though it doesn't look like there's much of anything to eat in the pasture, perhaps it was too much for him -- they were eating super sugary first growth as fast as it came up. It hasn't been an issue (observable anyway -- maybe there was!) in the past so I was waiting as I normally do for about now when the grass starts growing observably to cut them way back.

I don't know how I made the connection, but something I read put weight loss together with IR. Which led me here. I had thought it was always weight gain. Aha! Here I read people reporting that the their first clue to an IR flare up is a swollen sheath. Double AHA! I cut them back to one hour a day. Went out and got some flax. Switched them from soaked alfalfa pellets (he was scoped several years ago and had ulcers, thus the alfalfa)  to a mix of Timothy and Beet pulp pellets, soaked. That was Monday.

Yesterday, is he walking slowly or is it just me? NO MORE GRASS!!! 

I've separated them in the barn the past two nights. I didn't think to monitor his hay consumption. I assumed he was eating because I see him do so. Today I am paying attention. He walked through his poop last night, so I don't know exactly how many he did, but I'd guess 4 whereas Delight had seven in her area. Makes me think he's not getting enough hay.

So, my question to get us through tonight to the vet visit tomorrow morning is, should I ramp up his beet pulp/ timothy?

Bermuda hay free choice, steamed
Was soaked alfalfa now BP/Timothy pellets (to approximate the Canadian pellets recommended here) 1# twice a day
with 2 scoops Cal Trace per day
2T iodized salt per day
Mag oxide 1 t per day

They also have a big white salt block

After diving in here I have now added:
2,000 IU Vitamin E gel caps
1/2 c Triple Crown Flax

And I ordered spirulina and Chondroitin -- so excited to learn about these here!

Should I up the soaked pellets, give him an extra helping... ????

Thanks for any help offered!


Jodie Davis at the Cuckoo Clock Factory on the farm in Hickory Flat, North Georgia 2020

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