Too thin horse - blood test?

ycbm

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I'm not happy about Ludo, he is thinner than any of his previous 3 winters but is eating like .... a horse. He's wormed with moxidectin 6 weeks ago, praziquantel and ivermectin in July, and I'm about to worm test just in case. I think he is unhappy with the split barn arrangement that I have had to do to stop Deza eating too much. Full of energy, no signs of a virus or infection. Good poop quality. Same food haylage and grass cubes (different quantity) for the last year plus. Nothing else changed that I can think of.


I have a vet doing jabs on Tuesday and I plan to ask them to humour me, (because he looks very healthy, just too thin for my comfort), and pull blood for a kidney and liver function test. Would you add anything to that list?
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TPO

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Is he only fed grass nuts?

ETA if he is I'd increase calories being fed before getting vet out to run bloods for everything. Just grass nuts and good hay (not haylage admittedly but I think you've said previously yours is like hay?) would have mine looking like neglect cases in winter! They arent in work over winter at all and still need more calories than properly adlib hay and grass nuts could provide alone.

Edited again to add that grass nuts are only around 10-12mj/kg. They arent the be all as a conditioning feed. Seems crazy not to try feeding more calories first
 
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JJS

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Could it be ulcers? That would be my first guess if he’s stressed about the barn arrangement and thinner than usual 🤔
 

milliepops

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Is he only fed grass nuts?

ETA if he is I'd increase calories being fed before getting vet out to run bloods for everything. Just grass nuts and good hay (not haylage admittedly but I think you've said previously yours is like hay?) would have mine looking like neglect cases in winter! They arent in work over winter at all and still need more calories than properly adlib hay and grass nuts could provide alone.
Yeah echo this, my nativey ones are fine on that but the sporty ones need a top up. He's also older and has grown a bit i think since last year? Maybe his needs have changed a bit?
 

ycbm

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Yeah echo this, my nativey ones are fine on that but the sporty ones need a top up. He's also older and has grown a bit i think since last year? Maybe his needs have changed a bit?
His food has changed a bit too, he's getting twice the cubes he was last year (upped it even more today) and eating more haylage. I can't account for it with food.
 
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ycbm

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Are you going to do a tapeworm test as part of your worm tests, I have one that regularly has positive tests despite being wormed and I have better results with 2 x Pyrantel than Praziquantel.
I wasn't, he's but been done again for tape tonight.
 

ycbm

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On the other hand, could it be as simple as the cold snap we’ve been having? Maybe he’s simply burning more calories than previously keeping himself warm.
Good thought. It's been a gentle steady loss all winter, unfortunately.
 
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ycbm

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Could it be ulcers? That would be my first guess if he’s stressed about the barn arrangement and thinner than usual 🤔
Ulcers unlikely, I think, absolutely no other symptoms, good appetite. Always one to consider though.
 
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ycbm

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Is he only fed grass nuts?

ETA if he is I'd increase calories being fed before getting vet out to run bloods for everything. Just grass nuts and good hay (not haylage admittedly but I think you've said previously yours is like hay?) would have mine looking like neglect cases in winter! They arent in work over winter at all and still need more calories than properly adlib hay and grass nuts could provide alone.

Edited again to add that grass nuts are only around 10-12mj/kg. They arent the be all as a conditioning feed. Seems crazy not to try feeding more calories first
Well I'm not crazy.

I have added 400ml a day of oil and another 3kg a day of grass nuts since last winter.

Grass nuts are a high protein, good quality food that he's done really well on previously.

His haylage is very high quality.
 

ycbm

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Guys, my actual question was would you add anything to my list of things to get the vet to blood test for?
 

TPO

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Well I'm not crazy.

I have added 400ml a day of oil and another 3kg a day of grass nuts since last winter.

Grass nuts are a high protein, good quality food that he done really well on previously.

His haylage is very high quality.
And what you are doing isnt working so its make sense to feed more calories in a different way to a horse losing weight on current regime. Theres also lots of papers about oil not being good for them but I'm sure you already know everything about it.

Anyway your horse, I'm sure youll do as you see fit and that it won't be a problem for long.
 

ycbm

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And what you are doing isnt working so its make sense to feed more calories in a different way to a horse losing weight on current regime. Theres also lots of papers about oil not being good for them but I'm sure you already know everything about it.

Anyway your horse, I'm sure youll do as you see fit and that it won't be a problem for long.
Please do not talk to me as if I am an idiot.

I don't know why you think I am not feeding more calories. I am. And it is working, but he is thinner than I would like (he is not ribby) and I want to do a belt and braces check that there are no underlying problems. His regime has been changed in line with his condition as the winter went on. If oil is not good for them then that should be being looked at by all the companies adding oil to their "conditioning feed".

Thank you for your advice but it isn't the advice I asked for, which was about blood tests.

Can you answer the question I asked?
 
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quizzie

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I have one that had entirely normal bloods including tape worm except low vitamin E. He also tested negative on all the PSSM 2 genetic tests. In theory he should have improved on a fibre and oil diet..but he loses a significant amount of weight on that. He needs a moderate oil/ fibre diet but with a reasonable starch level plus extra Vit E (Nano E....he doesn’t respond to powdered natural Vit E), and extra amino acids (tri-amino and whey).... he is now looking much better!!
Unfortunately they don’t all read the standard text book!!
 

TPO

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Surely a work up alongside bloods if you now suspect pain.

Honestly what am I missing? You have a horse that's a year older and doing more so I'd imagine developing muscles. Yes grass nuts are good but they arent infallible and there are better sources of calories and protein available.

Grass nuts had always worked for one of mine but last year they didnt. It's not an uncommon occurrence that their requirements change.

Anyway I'm clearly missing something as your question doesnt align with the answers you give to other people asking similar questions so will just wish Ludo well and I hope hes back to full health soon.
 

criso

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I wasn't, he's but been done again for tape tonight.
The saliva tests for antibodies so even after worming they don't clear up immediately so even if your worming has done the trick, it could show a historical burden which might be useful information.

You could ask the vet to do it as part of the blood tests but personally i would just order the saliva test from westgate as it's much cheaper and just as accurate.
 

Rowreach

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More detail? Never considered or heard of heart as a potential cause of weight loss. Listen on Tuesday, or test for something more?
Yes weight loss or difficulty in maintaining a good weight can be a symptom of heart problems. I've known a few of them but the most significant was a fit and seemingly healthy hunter who was doing about 3 days a fortnight so he was very fit and his skinniness was put down to his workload and time of year. He had choke one evening, vet came out and did the usual checks and discovered irregular heart sounds. So they can seem ok but still have a problem. Definitely worth ruling out.
 

ycbm

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Surely a work up alongside bloods if you now suspect pain.
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I said I fear pain, not that I suspect pain. There is no other sign whatsoever that he is in pain, but I would always fear hidden pain in a horse. There is no justification whatsoever at present for a pain workup, he's never worked better.
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ycbm

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Yes weight loss or difficulty in maintaining a good weight can be a symptom of heart problems. I've known a few of them but the most significant was a fit and seemingly healthy hunter who was doing about 3 days a fortnight so he was very fit and his skinniness was put down to his workload and time of year. He had choke one evening, vet came out and did the usual checks and discovered irregular heart sounds. So they can seem ok but still have a problem. Definitely worth ruling out.
Thankyou. I'll get the vet to sound his heart on Tuesday, it's never been done since he was castrated.
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