What to do for foundered horse with metabolic issues in the winter?

Hi…

We have been soaking my 18 year old mustang’s hay since spring due to issues with insulin resistance and founder. Three different vets told me to do this to remove as much sugar from the hay as possible.

We live in Alberta, Canada and it is going to start getting too cold here to soak hay soon… I need suggestions on how to feed this mare through the winter. She is VERY sensitive to sugar. The farm owner told me tonight that we are not ALLOWED to soak her hAy anymore because the run off water “smells bad and is attracting flies.” WTH am I supposed to feed this poor horse!!! She cannot have ANY grain And is extremely limited as to commercial feeds because of limited availability and ingredients she cannot have. We have not yet found one that she tolerates well that does not cause other problems. (One we found that showed great promise had soy in it which it turned out she has an intolerance to.)
The other horses at his farm are just thrown in a huge pasture and fed round bales all through the winter which is how she ended up getting sick in the first place, she’d just stand there and gorge herself to death. This horse is pasture boarded, and has been in a dry lot since spring.

I am so frustrated…

Please do not suggest moving her, that is not a possibility right now. I need some helpful, kind hearted advice because I am seriously stressed over how to help this mare and make sure she is healthy and happy.

Maybe something like Triple Crown Safe Starch Forage? I soak hay for my mare, and have been able to do so through most of the winter, but use this also in place of or in addition to flakes of hay.

http://www.triplecrownfeed.com/products/forages/safe-starch-forage-equine-supplements-equinesupplements/

Can you soak cubes at home and bring them to her? Alfalfa cubes are low in starch and sugar–soaked, it can be as low as 11% nsc.

Read the posts on steaming hay. I think there’s one in this time segment. Good luck to you and your poor horse.

You can soak whatever–hay, cubes–at home, let it dry, then take it to the barn. Would that work?

PS: You might mention to your BO that flies aren’t a problem in the winter.

[QUOTE=Hermein;7155611]
Read the posts on steaming hay. [/QUOTE]

Steaming hay does not remove sugars. It just gets it wet and hot. Its the diffusion gradient created by lots of fresh water that pulls out the sugar.

You might try bagged haylage, in which the sugar is fermented to acids. One women soaked hay in her guest bathtub and carried it to the barn. Or you can soak in hot water and a large cooler on wheels.

The waste water does build up if put in one spot. If you dump it over a larger area, or down a slope it doesn’t seem like a cess pool over time.

Caring properly for special needs horses is very difficult in a boarding situation, unless you live close enough to do the extra chores yourself.

The problem is that whatever I soak is going to freeze as soon as it hits the outside air when it’s -40 outside. Soaking just won’t be possible with these kinds of temps. Triple Crown feeds are great, used to feed themexclusively when we lived down south, but no one sells them anywhere close to me here, I have called all over the place.
I have been giving her soaked alfalfa cubes morning and night, but again, I won’t. be able to feed those once the temps really drop.

I have been spreading the run off water out but it still stinks. This new batch of hay smells much worse than the last one for some reason. :frowning:

I do live 1/2 mile down the road from where she is boarded. I am doing all of her special needs chores on my own since it’s self care pasture boarding. This horse is so special to me and I don’t want to see her suffer again like she did last winter when she first got sick.

Do you have a heated place where you could let the pre-soaked feed dry out before you take it to the barn? Or to the field?

Could you just smash dry alfalfa cubes with a hammer and take the “crumbs” to her? I think they’re low nsc right out of the sack. Here is equi-analyticals results on grass cubes. Do a google on alfalfa cubes just to see what that particular nsc might be. There used to be a company in Canada called (I think) Ontario Dehy. They made cubes especially for IR horses.

It seems they still do make these cubes: http://www.ontariodehy.com/tab02-07.htm

LOL I used to soak my stuff in the guest bath, too. Nothing like a green bathtub ring for your visitors to contemplate.

Is it possible you could just find some low NSC hay for her and feed her separately? For that matter, test the hay you are planning to feed this winter (assuming its put up for the year) and see how bad it is? If the current hay NSC is already fairly low you may not need to soak at all, just really manage what she eats.

Even if you cut a portion of her daily intake with a low NSC bagged forage, like Dengie hay, it should help.

Tough spot to be in, good luck.

Another vote for Triple Crown Safe Starch Forage.

Timothy Balancer Cubes if you can get them are GREAT for your situation. They are smaller than your standard hay cube and while I would hesitate to feed them dry to any of mine they do seem “softer” than most cubes.

http://www.ontariodehy.com/tab02-07.htm

I (third) the suggestion of Ontario Dehy’s balanced Timothy cubes. They are a safe, complete feed.

If Blue Seal feeds are available in your area, their Carb Guard is also a safe feed for IR horses.

I also suggest checking out the Cushings/IR Yahoo group. They were the single, best source of help for me when my mare was diagnosed IR back in 2006:
http://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/EquineCushings/info

Another good source of info here:
http://ecirhorse.org/

One last thought re: soaked feed and freezing temps - would it be possible to feed it in one of those heated water buckets? That’s assuming you could be there until she finishes her feed so you could unplug the bucket. Molasses-free soaked and rinsed beet pulp is a good thing to feed along with the other stuff.

Good luck!

Can you feed the wet hay cubes in a heated water bucket? I would then unplug the bucket after she finishes eating the cubes, or fill it with water.

Time to go hunting for some low-sugar hay.

I clip my Shetland in the winter so she burns calories staying warm–my farrier and vet both say they wish more people would do this for their metabolic horses’ sakes!

Normally in the winter I have layups or broodmares, to whom I like to be VERY generous with hay. Then there’s the pony, who would eat every moment of her life if she could. Clipping her allows me to not have to isolate her from the herd and feed her “specially” and she chows down on hay and always comes out of the winter with her weight ideal.

I may be able to feed her alfalfa cubes in a heated bucket twice a day. I guess another option would be alfalfa pellets. I have never fed those, I am assuming they do not have to be soaked since they are much smaller? Guessing I would have to feed her many more of those as opposed to the soaked cubes I’ve been feeding?

Another issue is that once winter comes she will no longer have a separate lot that I can keep her in, there just isn’t a good place for her to be separated from the other “normal” horses that time of year. Barn owner will not let me keep her and her buddy in the dry lot in the winter and throw hay a few times a day, he doesn’t want them in there b/c it is too high maintenance. I wouldn’t want to separate her completely from the others anyway because she would be absolutely miserable without her herdmates. Her buddy has to be dry lotted during the summer to keep her from getting too fat, but she can stay out in the winter. The other horses will be fed hay (most likely rounds since squares are hard to find and are very expensive) throughout the day, but there will be no way to keep her from eating it too. We tried a bale net last winter and it did not slow them down at all, it was a total waste of $250.
I have not had much luck finding a relatively low NSC hay here in the past, which is why I have to go through the hassle of soaking it. We do not have a big enough covered space to store an entire winter’s worth of hay, so we have to have it delivered periodically throughout the winter from various sources and are at the mercy of whatever decent horse quality hay we can find locally at any given time.

A grazing muzzle woukd seem an ideal solution, be we cannot put one on her here in winter because the exhalation of her breath will freeze the hole in the muzzle completely shut, keeping her from being able to eat, drink, or even breathe well.

The suggestion of clipping her sounds great in theory but she would freeze her ass off here when it gets really cold and snowy, -40.

I feel like this is an impossible situation.

Going to get on the yahoo groups that were suggested and see if I can find any more ideas. Thanks to everyone who has taken the time to give me suggestions.

[QUOTE=Alberta Horse Girl;7156234]I may be able to feed her alfalfa cubes in a heated bucket twice a day. I guess another option would be alfalfa pellets. I have never fed those, I am assuming they do not have to be soaked since they are much smaller? Guessing I would have to feed her many more of those as opposed to the soaked cubes I’ve been feeding?

Another issue is that once winter comes she will no longer have a separate lot that I can keep her in, there just isn’t a good place for her to be separated from the other “normal” horses that time of year. Barn owner will not let me keep her and her buddy in the dry lot in the winter and throw hay a few times a day, he doesn’t want them in there b/c it is too high maintenance. I wouldn’t want to separate her completely from the others anyway because she would be absolutely miserable without her herdmates. Her buddy has to be dry lotted during the summer to keep her from getting too fat, but she can stay out in the winter. The other horses will be fed hay (most likely rounds since squares are hard to find and are very expensive) throughout the day, but there will be no way to keep her from eating it too. We tried a bale net last winter and it did not slow them down at all, it was a total waste of $250.
I have not had much luck finding a relatively low NSC hay here in the past, which is why I have to go through the hassle of soaking it. We do not have a big enough covered space to store an entire winter’s worth of hay, so we have to have it delivered periodically throughout the winter from various sources and are at the mercy of whatever decent horse quality hay we can find locally at any given time.

A grazing muzzle woukd seem an ideal solution, be we cannot put one on her here in winter because the exhalation of her breath will freeze the hole in the muzzle completely shut, keeping her from being able to eat, drink, or even breathe well.

The suggestion of clipping her sounds great in theory but she would freeze her ass off here when it gets really cold and snowy, -40.

I feel like this is an impossible situation.

Going to get on the yahoo groups that were suggested and see if I can find any more ideas. Thanks to everyone who has taken the time to give me suggestions.[/QUOTE]

So is this saying come winter she’ll have free access to a round bale? If so, you really, really, really need to find someplace else or make other arrangements. Metabolic chubby horses + free fed roundbales = no bueno.

If you can’t control the hay, and can’t limit her intake, can you at least limit her access to it? Its not ideal but perhaps you can stall her 12-16 hours?

The only other thing you can control is level of exercise. Can she work - really work - 6 days a week? Consistent exercise goes a long way in helping.

I like the haylage suggestion. I was a working student at a large barn near NYC, founder prone horses got haylage, it worked great for them. it was not stored in a heated area, so i don’t think the cold would be an issue. I wish you the best.

The suggestion of clipping her sounds great in theory but she would freeze her ass off here when it gets really cold and snowy, -40.

You don’t clip them naked. :lol: Here we routinely get wind chills in the minus numbers for days on end and many feet of snow, although we’re not in Canada. I clip the pony’s tummy, sides, and neck. I leave her legs and back furry so she doesn’t become soaked and miserable. She has weathered 7 Michigan winters with me thus far and have NEVER seen her actually look cold at all.

It’s a difficult situation, but not impossible. My pony had had laminitis (thankfully mild) several times before I got her and with careful management she gets to enjoy grass (with a muzzle) and piles of hay (with partial clipping) just like the big horses do. No laminitis since I’ve had her, touch wood! She tends to be chubby and is very definitely cresty and probably IR, but it is MANAGEABLE.

It sounds as if the BO is the problem. What extra work is it for him if your horse stays in a dry lot over the winter? Especially since it’s a self-care situation?

Even though you say you can’t move, that would be the best solution. Second would be to feed her in a stall, even if you have to pay a little extra to do so. But unless she has an area that doesn’t have a huge bale of hay in it, there will be trouble–unless the bale is of some low nsc forage.

I swear I am about to blow an effing gasket. Just went over to feed my dry lotted mares, one of which is foundered and metabolic, and has been lame for most of the year and found that someone had let them onto the grass WITHOUT my permission.
Foundered mare now has heat in her hooves. GREAT.
I am moving her, even if I have to move her into my goddamn yard.

:mad:U is an understatement. I am so livid I could spit fire.