Senior horse feeding, bloodwork changes, bad teeth, ppid

My 25 y gelding wasnt feeling well this week, he had diarrhea, a bit of dicomfort, bloodwork showed elevated liver enzymes, lipemia, inflammatory response changes. Vey checked him out, ultrasound showed no masses or enlargement. He is also missing some teeth and will be going in for a float when he’s leveled out a bit. Started antibiotics, continued Banamine, and making feed changes (low fat, lower protein), recheck labs in a week. He is doing well on grass right now and had formed stool today/last night (YAY!) He is thin with muscle loss and we are heading into winter. He previously did well in grass and was eating alfalfa (some) and senior active. He despises soaked feed. Won’t touch soaked alfalfa, barely have the beet pulp mixed with feed a sniff. I’m working him over to a complete senior feed but he’s not a fan yet (probably due to the antibiotics in it, just eating it slower). I am concerned about his fiber intake over winter. He doesn’t do well in grass hays anymore and may not be able to chew hay either. What do I do if I can’t get him to easy enough senior complete! How do I put weight on a horse with a low protein, low fat diet?! I’m rechecking his eACTH, and IR/Glu with his labs next week to see if a dose change is in order. We won’t have grass forever!

What’s the reasoning for lower protein? I could see that if there were kidney issues, not sure how the liver plays into that.

Which senior feed?

can he eat chopped forage well enough?

Triple Crown Natural Balance Timothy cubes are small and soft

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I was not instructed lower protein just read that legumes are not generally recommended during liver failure. He eats grass great and usually eats the leaves of his alfalfa and some of the softer stuff. He is not cudding his hay into wads just wont eat the stuff he doesnt want and will not touch anything dampened. He had a really bad episode last year on local grass hay and timothy and had a sudden weightloss, diarrhea and generally poor looking that came right back after going on pasture and alfalfa. I would not be opposed to trying Timothy again, I’ll see if they have any of the triple crown cubes at my feed store.

He did have a mildly increased BUN but likely due to mild dehydration from the diarrhea.

They have the chopped forage in grass, alfalfa or a mix of the 2. Expensive but most horses eat it well in my experience.

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The diarrhea may be because although he could chew the timothy and grass hay he could not chew it well enough to digest it really well and it was irritating his digestive tract. Especially if he doesn’t have much grinding surface left on his teeth. Maybe soaked hay cubes would work better even if it is timothy hay cubes. Maybe timothy/alfalfa cubes would be more palatable and he would eat them better. I have found that some horses are not wild about beet pulp but if it is soaked and senior feed added he might eat it better.

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Have you tried adding flavoring to the Doakes senior feed? I used sugar free candy flavoring — bought in bulk — and small amounts of food grade peppermint oil to trick my picky old gelding (he was 29 with PPID and very few functional teeth).

You can DIY chopped forage with a leaf mulcher. I picked up the Sun Joe mulcher on Amazon for my old guy. You can mulch forage as fine as confetti if needed.

If you haven’t checked it, the ECIR group can be super handy for PPID management, including weight gain planning.

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The leaf mulcher idea is brilliant!

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A very helpful equine dentist suggested it! He wasn’t able to come out to see my gelding at the time, but he was so incredibly kind and helpful!

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You guys rock! I was just coming back to ask if anyone had tried a mulcher with success! Chopper hay is just too expensive. He absolutely will not eat soaked cubes, he won’t eat even damp anything. He’s not fond of any flavoring I’ve tried so far and wont touch it if he suspects I’ve doctored it so I have resorted to syringing his meds and he’s slowly eating his senior throughout the day. He’s grazing but that’s going to run out. Won’t touch the beet pulp no matter what I’ve put in it. Poop still normal!

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Got my chopper! This thing rocks! He’s still not eatinh much hay but I have got him eating about 12lbs of complete senior feed. His bloodwork sucks and hasn’t changed but waiting to hear from my vet on that. He is comfortable and bright so that’s good at least. Here’s hoping we can see a light at the end of the tunnel. Not ready to say good bye to my buddy of 18 years yet.

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