DI­ETARY CHECK FOR AGED HORSES

EQUUS - - Eq Handson -

Win­ter may still be weeks away, but now is the time to ad­just your older horse’s diet to help pre­pare him for the cold weather ahead. There are two sim­ple ways de­ter­mine if changes are needed.

First, con­sider his body con­di­tion. It’s not un­usual for an older horse to lose a bit of weight dur­ing the win­ter months as he nat­u­rally burns more calo­ries to keep him­self warm. If your horse is al­ready on the lean side of the Which of the fol­low­ing is not a med­i­ca­tion used for horses?

a. Ce­fa­zolin b. Dor­zo­lamide c. Metha­sor­bizone tar­trate d. Dantro­lene For the an­swer, turn to page 21. body con­di­tion scale, a score of 4 or lower, he doesn’t have any ex­tra to lose. De­ter­min­ing your horse’s body con­di­tion score isn’t dif­fi­cult---it en­tails look­ing at and feel­ing the fat de­posits on spe­cific lo­ca­tions on your horse’s body---but it does re­quire an un­bi­ased eye. If your older horse is un­der­weight, there’s time to put some weight on him be­fore the weather turns cold.

Con­sult with your vet­eri­nar­ian about ways you can safely in­crease his en­ergy in­take now. That may mean switch­ing to calo­rie-dense se­nior feed or adding oil or an­other sup­ple­ment to his ex­ist­ing ra­tion.

Next, sched­ule a den­tal exam. If it’s been more than six months since your older horse has had his teeth checked, it’s a good idea to have them looked at again. When pas­ture growth stops for the year, your horse’s only source of roughage will be hay, and if he has worn or loose teeth he may have trou­ble chew­ing. This can lead not only to weight loss in an older horse but also choke and colic. Your vet­eri­nar­ian may be able to re­solve any den­tal is­sues dis­cov­ered dur­ing the ex­am­i­na­tion, but even then it might be ad­vis­able to switch the horse to a chopped, cubed or pel­leted for­age or to a com­plete feed that con­tains ad­e­quate roughage.

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