How to Help a Horse Gain WeightPrint
Your horse could be underweight for a variety of reasons. It doesn’t necessarily have to be diet-related; it could be a dental issue or any other digestive problem.
Sometimes, other horses don’t let your horse eat its food or biting insects irritate your horse and burn off its energy to consume food. The best way to help your horse gain weight is to rule out all the reasons your horse could be underweight.
Keep reading to learn how to help a horse gain weight.
1. Get Your Horse Examined by a Veterinarian
As mentioned above, the cause of the poor health of your horse could be any medical reason. A veterinarian will examine your horse properly to rule out any internal parasites. It could be possible that your horse it at the early stage of Pituitary Pars Intermedia Dysfunction (PPID). Horses with PPID can have raised levels of Adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH), which leads to weight loss.
Another reason for weight loss in your horse could be a pain, especially older horses that are suffering from osteoarthritis. As a result of this, they may feel less motivated to consume their food. Moreover, pain-related stress also contributes to weight loss.
In addition to this, sometimes horses with dental issues have difficulty chewing food. This results in swallowing poorly masticated food. A dental checkup is recommended every six months.
If your horse is diagnosed with any issues like these, your vet will prescribe medicines to help control the condition.
2. Increase Calorie Intake
Weight loss is a sign that your horse is not getting sufficient calorie intake. Sometimes, the calorie intake is not enough because the horse does a lot of activities, and its body uses up most of the calories. It is recommended to feed your horse good-quality hay with plenty of leaves and little stem. Make sure to steer clear of poor quality hay with specks of dust and mold as it can weaken your horse’s digestive system.
You can also use alfalfa to increase calorie intake. It has higher levels of amino acids than grass hay, which can help in muscle development. A good way to feed your horse its food effectively is by making it into pellets. It makes it easier for horses to digest their food, especially the old ones.
Beet pulp is also a great source to increase the calorie intake in horses. You can feed beet pulp to your horse up to half of its daily forage intake. Rice bran is also an excellent source of fat. Beet pulp combined with rice bran can make a great combination to boost the health of your horse.
However, you need to make sure to not go overboard with the fat source as it can lead to loose stools.
3. Use Commercially Formulated Supplements
In addition to using all these weight gain products, you can also use dietary supplements to help your horse gain weight. There are several great options available like Muscle Maker and Science Supplements Muscle Builder that contain an optimal amount of nutrients that promote muscle growth and weight gain and to repair and recover from weight loss in your horse.
If you want to explore more options, head over to Little Fields Farm for your horse’s health needs!