Feeding advice for Veteran with poor teeth

Kelly2016

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Hi all,

Looking for some advice for a friend in relation to her retired Veteran Welsh Cob. Exact age not known but I would guess at 25+ and he has not been riden for around 3-4 years now.

He hasn't been a good doer for a few years, however this winter she has struggled to keep any condition on him. He currently gets fed Soft & Soak Ready Mash, Calm & Condition and Chaff. Turned out currently for summer, coming in every other day for hay in his stable.

Vet currently been out for teeth and Cushings Test. Test came back inconclusive. Options given by the vet were to give a Hormone injection and test agin which would cost a further £200 with call out, or other option would be to administer the Cushings tablets and see how he goes. Only other symptom of cushings is that his winter coat hasn't come out as easily this year compared to previous, however it has come out with a good grooming.

Vet also advised that his molars were pretty much flat and he has recently had one bout of choke, so I'm suspecting that it may have been a case of him not being able to chew and digest his food properly which has resulted in the loss in condition, so thinking to look at different feeding options at this stage.

What would you suggest to feed a veteran in this case? Would also like to note that he does sometimes suffer laminitis (not recently) and has previously had colic surgery, although a good few years ago now.

Although not the best, I have attached two photos of the old boy from May, however he has less winter coat now so ribs are more visible. I can get some more recent pictures tomorrow. He is still full of life, is quite high up in the pecking order of the herd, likes to throw his weight around and still does the Welsh prance around the field on occasion, so is generally feeling well in himself!

No criticisms, only kind helpful comments please :)

Kaine 1.jpg
Kaine 2.jpg
 

ester

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I'd absolutely do a prascend trial asap on him.
With the information you have given he'd be getting copra if he will eat it + linseed + soaked grass nuts (the latter I might be careful with checking the starch/sugar on options given the laminitis history and poss cushings)

My own welshie is a retired 27yo with poor teeth, he seems to do better with hay than grass/chaff which he will quid, I think the hay because it's longer doesn't escape as easily when he is chewing. To a certain extent we have kind of reached the happy medium where his teeth issues limit his calorie intake sufficiently that dossing in the field, on a track is sufficient to keep his weight down.
 

Pearlsasinger

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He does look Cushingoid to me. We kept weight on our elderly cob, who, although she didn't have surgery, had a week long colic episode aged 25, by feeding her on soaked grassnuts and grass chaff, with Speedibeet when necessary. We retired her, too and she lived for another 6 years. she didn't appear to have Cushings and we never had her tested but she became ataxic eventually and was pts aged 31.
 

AdorableAlice

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My 27 year old has cushings and his molars are also flat but he is still able to eat well soaked soft meadow hay. He is big horse but thrives on 4kg of Veteran and Vitality daily in the harsher months and 2kg ish, at this time of year. I have tried other brands and types of feed but he drops weight very quickly and loses his well being overnight. Copra is useful for oldies but my lad didn't like it and doesn't do change. VV probably isn't the ideal feed for cushing horses but it works for my lad and I am more than pleased with how he looks. The topline has long gone but every day is a bonus at his age. The prescend keeps him stable and he has a regular low level dose of bute to help him get up easily.

106103471_702301260559126_3042475673272637227_n.jpg
 

Kelly2016

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I'd absolutely do a prascend trial asap on him.
With the information you have given he'd be getting copra if he will eat it + linseed + soaked grass nuts (the latter I might be careful with checking the starch/sugar on options given the laminitis history and poss cushings)

My own welshie is a retired 27yo with poor teeth, he seems to do better with hay than grass/chaff which he will quid, I think the hay because it's longer doesn't escape as easily when he is chewing. To a certain extent we have kind of reached the happy medium where his teeth issues limit his calorie intake sufficiently that dossing in the field, on a track is sufficient to keep his weight down.
I’m a little cautious of the grass pellets/chaff if they were to have a high sugar content. He used to suffer terrible with his laminitis at our old yard as the grass was quite rich! Do you know of any alternatives? Or would you just feed a smaller quantity?
 

Celtic Fringe

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My old cob who was also Welsh D with very poor teeth put on a lot of weight with micronised linseed so I'd definitely recommend it to get some cover on an older horse (we had to cut it down in the end as he got too fat!). Mine did well on soaked grass pellets but these have a sugar content of around 12% so you might want to look at other mash-type feeds. Our EDT said that horses with poor teeth usually do manage to eat some grass but hay is much more of a problem. My old lad wasn't able to eat chew hay towards the end of his life but he was happy to pick at it and there was always some grass in his field to keep him occupied and I also grazed him in the weedy patches round the yard and local byways as much as possible so he got a good variety of tasty vegetation too.
 

Bradsmum

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My old girl has poor dental issues and was diagnosed with Cushings many years ago. She is given 3 feeds a day - 2 x Fast Fibre and 1 x Graze On and soaked pony nuts. She is out 24/7 and though she grazes she quids most of it so is just getting the juices. In winter I add Ready Mash Extra to the Fast Fibre. It works for her and at 43 she's looking good.
 

paddi22

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we get elderly rescues in with dodgy teeth and equerry conditioning mash is the best thing for putting weight on them and its easy for them to eat. have fantastic results with it.
 

ester

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I’m a little cautious of the grass pellets/chaff if they were to have a high sugar content. He used to suffer terrible with his laminitis at our old yard as the grass was quite rich! Do you know of any alternatives? Or would you just feed a smaller quantity?
I understand the caution, I feed agrobs wiesencobs which are 11.25 sugar/starch but am using them as a bute/supplement carrier only for a fusspot!
Would recommend the meadow magic from emerald green feeds 9.5 sugar/starch which is below the recommendation of <10 for lami prone/metabolics.

The only issue with those being that you don't want to fill them up with too much low calorie food if they need the calories, but you need the calories from oil rather than sugar/starch. hence the linseed/copra/rice bran suggestions.
 

poiuytrewq

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Might replacing the grass nuts with speedibeet, so Copra, linseed and speedibeet be an idea?
Just a thought, weight gain is the very opposite end of my horsey issues! Speedibeet was invaluable with my toothless wonder though!
 

MagicMelon

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You could feed him anything which can be soaked basically so any veteran or conditioning type cube? Loads of mashes available etc. My veteran who struggles to maintain weight is looking good on Pink Mash and Sixteen Plus Cubes (I dont need to soak them yet but you could).
 

HashRouge

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My 27 year old has cushings and his molars are also flat but he is still able to eat well soaked soft meadow hay. He is big horse but thrives on 4kg of Veteran and Vitality daily in the harsher months and 2kg ish, at this time of year. I have tried other brands and types of feed but he drops weight very quickly and loses his well being overnight. Copra is useful for oldies but my lad didn't like it and doesn't do change. VV probably isn't the ideal feed for cushing horses but it works for my lad and I am more than pleased with how he looks. The topline has long gone but every day is a bonus at his age. The prescend keeps him stable and he has a regular low level dose of bute to help him get up easily.

View attachment 50639
I also swear by Veteran Vitality for oldies who struggle with their weight. My 27 yr old looks really good on it (she also has cushings). I feed it on its own apart from her Danilon and Prascend as she's quite fussy, so feeding lots of different things doesn't suit her. I would also advise a prascend trial with your boy, based on the photo and your description.
 

Kelly2016

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Thanks everyone! Here is a picture of him from today 1C470CE5-B1CD-4EA5-8539-034817CB8128.jpeg
We have agreed to start him on the cushings medication and see how he goes. We’re not changing his feed initially as want to see how he goes with tablets and at the moment he enjoys it and it isn’t flaring his laminitis. Double checked his feed today and he has been changed from C&C to Veteran Vitality recently. If needed I have your suggestions on standby to start filtering into his feed.

Its frustrating when they’re still so full of life but struggle in some aspects. Fingers crossed we will see an improvement!

Thanks again! 😊
 

holeymoley

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Thanks everyone! Here is a picture of him from today View attachment 50709
We have agreed to start him on the cushings medication and see how he goes. We’re not changing his feed initially as want to see how he goes with tablets and at the moment he enjoys it and it isn’t flaring his laminitis. Double checked his feed today and he has been changed from C&C to Veteran Vitality recently. If needed I have your suggestions on standby to start filtering into his feed.

Its frustrating when they’re still so full of life but struggle in some aspects. Fingers crossed we will see an improvement!

Thanks again! 😊
He is very cute! Gradually add the prascend, as a full dose initially can be too much for some and they go in to a depression-type phase.

In terms of feed linseed mash is normally quite a safe way to pop a bit of weight on them.
 

MiniMilton

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I'd start the cushings meds regardless of the test results. He looks like a classic case of cushings and no amount of feed is going to help him gain weight without prascend (*in my non qualified experience)

I have livery here that had classic symptoms and no amount of conditioning feeds helped him gain weight. 6 weeks after starting the meds he looked like a different horse. Incredible the improvement. The vet didn't even bother testing this horse. He just said either the meds will work or they won't.


Edited to add... Sorry just read the update now where you are starting meds. It will take at least 4 weeks to see an improvement and you should be pleasantly surprised in 6 weeks.
 

splashgirl45

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thats much better....his back is likely to stay dipped but he looks good now. my cushings mare's back was similar and even though she was a good weight the back was always dipped...
 

Gloi

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He looks a different horse. Here's hoping he continues to improve . He must feel so much better.
 

Auslander

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I have an ancient TB here, who has no top teeth, and is terribly hard to get/keep weight on. The turning point for him was the realisation that he couldn't digest hay, although he eats it enthusiastically. He still has a haynet, but its purely for entertainment. We give him a huge tub trug of chaff, soaked grassnuts, and speedibeet (similar size to a standard sized haynet) as a hay replacer, and it's really helped to get his weight reasonable.
He has two hard feeds a day, of veteran vitality and copra, and I save all the best grazing for him.
 
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