Sunday, July 18, 2010

Sigh...I Should Have Known

I'm really worried about Miles. He is continuing to lose weight. His topline looks horrible. I would say he was a 4 on the condition scale (with 5 being ideal) a month ago-he's now a 3.5 or even a 3.

I don't know what happened. Well, I have some thoughts and theories, but I really don't want to conjecture on my public blog. Really, the responsibility ultimately falls onto me. I'm his owner, I'm responsible for him. I should have been tracking his weight diligently with weight tape for a long time now. I know it's not a perfect way to estimate a horse's weight, but it IS a great way to monitor changes. I just assumed a lot of things this past month, one of them being that he was maintaining or even gaining a bit of weight. This past week it is obvious I have been waaaaay off track.

All I can do is move forward from here, and do the best I can for my boy from here on out. I weight-taped him for the first time on Saturday. I'll do it again this Saturday. I will be at the barn every day (except for Tuesdays and Thursdays, when Kyle has class) to feed him and monitor his outlook/behavior. Amanda and the barn owner will take care of him on the two days I can't.

I honestly don't even want to ride him at this point. While his energy, personality and general attitude still seem unchanged to me (thank goodness), I can't put my saddle on him (no matter how much padding I use) and ride him in good conscience right now. When I'm at the barn, I spend the whole time feeding him, grooming him, checking his attitude and movement with some groundwork and maybe a little lunging to make sure he's balanced and not stumbling, and then hand grazing him on some rich grass around the barn. Of course I started googling and now I'm scared of everything from EPM to cancer.

I don't even want to post his picture at this point. He doesn't look horrible-no protruding hip bones or anything like that, but he really doesn't look good either. Think good, happy, healthy, fat thoughts for my boy. I probably won't be posting again until I have something new to report, as our routine is not exactly good reading material right now:)

I just want him to be ok, whatever it takes. The only thing stopping me from getting the vet out tomorrow to do tests is that I want to be able to tell him, for CERTAIN, what Miles has been eating the last week or two. I am all over this thing now, no matter how horribly I've handled it prior to this past weekend. Wish us luck.


  1. I'd have a blood test for thyroid function - in horses out of whack thyroid can cause weight loss. You might also want to pull a Lyme titer, although I don't know if you have Lyme in your part of the country. And do a fecal count to see if there's anything in his manure. Good luck!

  2. Kate has very good suggestions. I am not sure if you are surrounded with agricultural land, but I recently read an article about the dangers of nitrates that seep into the water. You are taking the right steps; monitoring what he is eating and how much, etc. etc. so that you have an accurate record for your vet. Don't be too hard on yourself. I wish you the best of luck at determining how Miles can put on a few pounds.

  3. Thanks you guys-I'm keeping track of all suggestions if and when we meet with the vet. I appreciate all of it.
    I hadn't necessarily considered Lyme or nitrates (!), so again, thanks. There is a TON of agriculture around the barn. It's very rural.

  4. My horse is finally regaining his weight,and I'm hoping he does even better in the next few weeks. It seems like when they regain it takes a while to notice. Also the hay dispersement was off and the heat takes it out of everyone.

    Hope Miles is back in the fat soon!

  5. Poor Miles! I hope you get to the bottom of this soon. Hopefully, it's just this horrific heatwave taking it's toll. I notice that my guys aren't grazing or eating as much hay lately. Horses aren't very well equipped for the heat.

    And I don't think you've handled this horribly at all. You did what you could do, now you know you need to call in some help and you're doing just that. That's what I would have done, too. Good luck!

  6. Poor Miles! I will think fat thoughts for him. If I could give him some of mine I would.

  7. You and me both JB:) Thanks everyone-good news is that his appetite is very robust and he's eating everything I put in front of him. I don't want to say he only eats in front of me, or when I'm there, but I've heard from other people that feed at the barn that he doesn't always finish, or he pushes a lot of food out of his dish. I don't see that! Sigh. I'm afraid I'm creating a momma's boy...cute, unless he's losing weight because of it.

  8. If he's hungry he'll eat. I think any horse would! I'd hate to suggest it but are you 100% sure that he's getting fed when you're not there? I know at our first barn my horses' grain was going to the horse of the girl who did morning grain. I wasn't too pleased! Don't do what I did and search the internet! It will just freak you out!!! Everyone above has really good ideas. Is he getting enough water? He might not look as bad as you think, ;) Maybe you're just being hard on yourself! You're a good horse mom! Best of luck to you and Miles!!

  9. Hey..I know we aren't sooo far from each other. If you are thinking of a new boarding facility, let me know..we are in Howell and my BO is a great feeder. Too much in fact, lol! No really, she's great. I think also maybe getting fecal/bloodwork is a good idea...could be a preventative before you start spending money on supplements, etc.
    Meanwhile, I wish I had Miles problem, lol!

  10. Thanks you guys. I actually really love my barn, and both the owner and other boarders have been great about trying to help me figure this thing out:) I think there may have been a misunderstanding about things before, but we've been communicating very regularly about this issue and I've been very happy with their response. Miles is also such great friends with LaShore I would feel horrible splitting those two up before we have to! ALTHOUGH I also think one of the problems was that LaShore was stealing his feedbag with his grain in it occasionally, stinker! Now Miles gets fed in a stall, alone, which is what he needs.

    I'm feeling better about things. His appetite has been super, even without me there hovering over him:) One possibility I'm thinking is actually tapeworms-my friend and fellow boarder Amanda said she had seen him rubbing his tail a bit (though I haven't), and I've noticed just a couple spots on his coat are flaky, like a person's skin peels when they have a sunburn. Tapeworms apparently don't show up in a fecal count. Anyway, I'm thinking it might not hurt to deworm him with, like, Zimectrin Gold or something specifically for tapeworms, though of course I JUST dewormed him with regular old ivermectin on Monday. I sent an email to the guy who boards with us who is in vet school, and knows a ton about parasites, to see what he thinks.
    There are actually a LOT of great barns around here, I think we're very lucky that way:) I used to board at Crestview Farm in Mason, and I would actually go back there in a hearbeat if I had to, as they took amazing care of my Chami-they are just a little pricier than what we're paying now (of course in their case you get what you pay for!).

  11. So can u do a quick fecal to see if it is worms?? Also, I think feeding Miles alone is a great idea..I know that Laz would get anxious and not eat properly and drop food and end up walking away when he was 'bothered' so hopefully that helps put some weight on your boy. :)