Oldster on a hunger strike---farewell to 'K'

Topic for older horses and older riders
texsuze
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Oldster on a hunger strike---farewell to 'K'

Postby texsuze » Wed Jan 19, 2022 9:14 pm

Almost 2 weeks ago my 30 y.o. gelding abruptly decided that his concentrated feed, plus his soaked alf/berm hay cube meals were unacceptable. Up until then I pretty much had the formula to keep his weight and nutrition good, despite his non-functioning set of molars. He refused all meals and began to aggressively nibble grass in the pasture, spending most of his pasture time at this endeavor instead of dozing under his cedar tree.

I went back to giving him a very small amount of bermuda hay (the only baled hay he's ever had) but due to his dentition, he quids it all, consuming essentially nothing, wasting most of the hay.

In desperation I'm in the middle of transitioning him to a complete senior feed; this seems to be stimulating his appetite, and he's eating most of the meals, dropping about 20% onto the stall mats for me to sweep back into his feed tub :roll: Balancing act between making the calculated transition and also adding several extra pounds of the senior feed as recommended. A consultation with his dental vet today supports my feed transition decision, so fingers crossed my oldster will get back on track. Vet said these oldsters sometimes change their minds about feeds, and even certain brands of senior feed. If my guy still turns his nose up, vet said he will sometimes give a steroid, which often kickstarts the appetite to get back on track but this would not be an ongoing protocol.

Any ideas for making this plan work? I worry about loading up too much on the new (senior) feed, but would like to get those calories in him. He is otherwise acting normal, even trotting around the pasture today, after thinking he spied some imaginary critter on the next hill. Still drinking a good amount.
Last edited by texsuze on Tue Mar 29, 2022 2:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Oldster on a hunger strike

Postby heddylamar » Wed Jan 19, 2022 10:02 pm

My oldster frequently went on a hunger strike. We just kept a selection of foods at the ready — timothy pellets, timothy cubes, roughage, beet pulp, rice bran, bran, oats — to change up the flavor of her soaked food. Plus applesauce, molasses, and the ever-present grain and minerals.

In her main feed tub, she'd get a really wet slurry with grain and something like bran or beet pulp, occasionally spiked with apple sauce or molasses. And after an hour or so we'd hand a second bucket with a soaked mix of whatever roughage mix she found acceptable that week.

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Re: Oldster on a hunger strike

Postby Srhorselady » Wed Jan 19, 2022 10:17 pm

My 26 year olds middle name (sometimes his primary name) is Mr Finicky. He was not finicky…more of a garbage cleaner…as a young horse. Currently he still has all his teeth, but the lower back molars are at gum level. He also has/had leaky gut syndrome and was insulin resistant, but no Cushings. Ultrasound several years ago showed a thickened layer of white blood cells in hind gut. When he totally quit eating several years ago I had to kick start his appetite with daily dex IM injections. (We tried everything before that.) Then slowly reduced the injections to the minimal amount. The Vet and I discussed the risks, but it was better than him starving. It worked but he is Mr Finicky. Periodically I have to change his hay to something he likes better. Sometimes he only wants hay. Sometimes he only wants Safe Choice Senior. He likes Bermuda sometimes but only when it is cut short….won’t touch long. After about four years of 4cc dex IM 3 times weekly my luck ran out and he had a sudden laminitis attack. He now had Cushings with very high numbers. I pulled him through it (caught it early) with two dmso IV infusions, bute, lots of icing, and Softrides. His Cushing numbers are now back to normal (they were very high) and he is still trail ridden twice weekly. (His insulin numbers stayed good throughout.). He is also now on Prascend. No more dex but he is still Mr Finicky. Equine Dentist (he doesn’t get his teeth done now just the occasional point) says his grinding movement is off due to teeth so not enough saliva is produced leading to quidding and neck stretching movements when eating. Current diet is hay mixture of orchard grass, alfalfa, and short Bermuda four times daily plus one pound soaked beet pulp pellets mixed with three pounds Safe Choice Senior three times daily. (If I get it too wet he won’t eat it.) We added the soaked beet pulp for calories and because he ate it at Thanksgiving when he went off his feed. I’m sure I’ll be making another change sometime in the next couple of months. We’ve been through a LOT of different menus. Luckily the other horses like his leftovers.

I provided details in case this helps with your horse. Although the dex probably led to the laminitis attack, I would do it again. We had four healthy years before the laminitis attack and starvation was a definite danger. He came through it and has been good for the last five months.

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Re: Oldster on a hunger strike

Postby texsuze » Thu Jan 20, 2022 4:44 pm

Thanks immensely to all for sharing your stories--I don't feel like I'm floating out in the breeze now. Heading to TSC before sleet/ice storm this a.m. to pick up a bag of Purina Senior. Guess I'll grab some other bagged foodstuffs while I'm there to have more variety on hand. I'm out of space in the feed room. The Safe Choice Senior I had hopes on has now been given the 'thumbs down' by my oldster :(. Nothing was eaten overnight last night. Peppermint flakes and applesauce did nothing to enhance anything. It seems that moisture content and consistency are now playing a big part in whether or not he turns his nose up at anything, too.

I felt that the Safe Choice Special Care low starch he USED TO eat, along with the alf/berm soaked cubes he USED TO eat kept any Cushings possibilities at bay; he's never been tested and has never had a laminitic event or shown "the usual" signs of Cushings. I worry I might soon be opening the door for Cushings but it's either that or starvation.

I still have several bales of good bermuda hay but feeding is a huge waste since he quids it all. I also worry about choke. He does seem to be producing a decent amount of saliva, from what I can see. Next week I'll make the 4-hour round trip to his dental vet, and in the meantime, chop and change with the foodstuffs. This getting old ain't for sissies!

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Re: Oldster on a hunger strike

Postby Moutaineer » Sat Jan 22, 2022 9:23 pm

When my oldie hit his 30's, Purina Equine Senior became his food of choice. I felt at that point that I really didn't need to worry about what he ate, just that he ate at all, and at his age, if he wanted to live of a diet equivalent to Big Macs, he'd probably earned the privilege.

Quality of life (in his perception) not quantity, became my gauge.

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Re: Oldster on a hunger strike

Postby demi » Sun Jan 23, 2022 1:33 pm

We dont know exactly how old our old guy is but guessing late 20’s. Two yrs ago I was giving him 5 lbs of Purina Eq Sr plus all the coastal Bermuda he wanted. He also has 24/7 access to 10 acre pasture. When he coliced a couple times, I took him off the coastal and upped his Eq Sr. He didnt colic again for a year and then coliced 3 times in a row, a few hours after his Eq Sr breakfast. Vet suggested splitting his Eq Sr into three feedings and also giving him Outlast even though she doubted he had ulcers. I also at the same time started adding equal volumes of water to his Eq Sr. He hasnt coliced in over a year. During that time I dropped the Outlasr and changed his feeding to less Eq Sr and added alfalfa (per vet’s recommendation). He now gets 1 lb of wet Eq Sr twice a day and 5 lbs of alfalfa (in a slow feeding hay bag) twice a day. He looks great, definitely not thin.

So I wrote all the details because the amount of Purina Eq Sr that Purina recommends seems like too much for most horses, especially if served dry. My guy only quids his alfalfa a little bit now, but I suspect it will get worse. Then we’ll have to adjust again.

My vet thinks that pasture is the best, and also likes afalfa. Different situations of course require different solutions. My old guy doesn’t drink a lot of water but since your’s does, that’s a good advantage.

I use Dr Miller for dentistry. He hasnt had to do much for my guy in the last few years because his teeth are so worn down. Too bad you have to travel so far for a dentist. I could probably have my regular vet do his teeth but since the dentist still comes out for my younger horses I have him do the old guy too….

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Re: Oldster on a hunger strike

Postby texsuze » Sun Jan 23, 2022 9:54 pm

Thanks for additional input. I've changed plans a bit here. Tomorrow a.m. we're making a shorter (30-min) trip into town to see his other vet (we use several). Not sure what vet will want to do, but I do plan to reschedule the appointment with his equine dentist in the near future.

Right now, I'm putting a 50:50 mix of TC Senior and Purina Eq Sr in front of my oldster, with a tiny bit of success. He is sensitive about moisture levels (oh, brother) so it's a balancing act. He ate 1# of soaked beet pulp shreds the other day, then refused to look at them again. I soaked one of the Hydration Hay bricks and he pilfered around with that, then walked away. He still will not touch soaked bermuda/alfalfa hay cubes, which had been his reliable stand-in for baled hay. Won't touch the timothy hay soaked pellets, either. I might try an alfalfa-only cube. His water consumption has increased quite a bit, presumably because he's no longer getting the two meals of soaked hay cubes (lots of water there).

A portion of everything that goes in his mouth drops back out again, thanks to non-functioning molars. He used to then scarf the bits up off the stall mats, but not now. So I stand at the ready with dustpan to put dropped feed back into feedpan. Thank heavens I decided on stall mats when building the barn. To be continued....

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Re: Oldster on a hunger strike

Postby texsuze » Thu Jan 27, 2022 6:35 pm

Well, things seem to be trending downward :( Vet visit on Monday with only a CBC done. No meds administered. My oldster's bloodwork was normal, except for BUN and creatinine levels which were high; apparently not yet 'crisis' high, but enough to indicate likely renal function issues. Vet feels this is a possible source of his refusal to eat and said this was likely cooking along for quite some time. Vet handed him a fistful of wet alfalfa and my oldster ate it all, prompting him to remark "...he wants to eat", which is not the same as, "he has no interest in eating". I'm surprised he didn't give any rx intervention during our visit. He suggested giving alfalfa to see how things go.

Chopped (bagged) alfalfa, soaked alfalfa cubes, chopped forage mix (orchard/timothy/alf)---all set out in separate pans, all tasted by my oldster, none of the rations eaten by my oldster. Yesterday he did not eat any of the senior feeds provided (some dry, some spiked with applesauce). Last night he barely drank, not like his guzzling during the previous week. This morning he ate about 1# total senior feed, with 1# dribbled out onto the stall mat. He refuses beet pulp shreds (soaked). Even decided against a fluffy flake of his (formerly) usual bermuda hay. Right now I have 10 separate foodstuffs open, trying desperately to entice him to eat.

Oldster will still trot out into the barn pasture, then pick up a canter for a perimeter check. This morning he did a 'scritchy roll' in his turnout, quite satisfied with himself. He asks for feed but only snuffles around in the feed pans then, loses interest. I have 3 feed pans in the pasture for him to inspect each day but they're never touched.

I phoned vet office today to ask if he might give me some rx so I can kickstart some desire to eat. Vet elected to give Vit B12, which DH is picking up for us to administer. I was really hoping for either steroid intervention or possibly treating presumptively for ulcers at this point, but I defer to the vet's experience. I'll pick up a small bale of alfalfa tomorrow; my guy quids bermuda hay and pasture grasses, but has never been fed baled alfalfa, only the bagged products. I must be doing something wrong but I can't figure out what. :(

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Re: Oldster on a hunger strike

Postby Srhorselady » Thu Jan 27, 2022 7:07 pm

I’m so sorry! I feel your pain! My guy turned up his nose at Safe Choice Senior last week. However he is still eating soaked beet pulp pellets. I also bought a bag of Blue Bonnet Intensify Senior that he seems to like. I’m slowly transitioning from Safe Choice to Intensify. I’m mixing them in the beet pulp and he’s leaving only the Safe Choice. (How he can leave those little Safe Choice bits when it’s all thoroughly mixed….but he manages it!). He will leave everything if I get it too wet. He is still eating most of his hay. (Short cut Bermuda, alfalfa, and orchard grass). The dexamethasone IM shots DID stimulate his appetite when he was refusing everything. Good luck.

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Re: Oldster on a hunger strike

Postby demi » Fri Jan 28, 2022 1:08 pm

I hope the alfalfa helps. My old guy was quidding the coastal a lot but when I switched him to alfalfa he only quids a little bit, and that just rarely. I don’t wet it but I have to put it in a hay bag or he gobbles down too fast. He wasn’t gobbling his coastal or Eq Sr. So it looks like the alfalfa stimulated his appetite.

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Re: Oldster on a hunger strike

Postby texsuze » Tue Feb 01, 2022 5:21 pm

Well, here's an update. Gave my oldster his Vit B12 injection 5 days ago. No change over the weekend. But in the last 2-3 days (I can't keep track anymore :shock: ) he's looking "less dull" if that makes sense, does a scritchy roll every morning in the pasture, drinking lots, and eating probably 3/4 of his Purina Eq. Sr meals, which I put in front of him 4x total/day & night. I'm sweeping up lots of dribbled feed and putting it right back into the feed pan. He has started 'asking' for his morning meal, but can become disinterested at the slightest distraction.

Alfalfa hay right now is super stemmy around here. I reluctantly bought 4 bales at 2 different locations. This is my first ever experience with alf, since my guy has been on coastal bermuda his entire life, until a year ago when he became unable to chew/swallow/digest any forage stuffs rougher than fuzz. He likes and wants the alf but I worry about choke. He will NOT eat any of the nice, soft, easy to lift and get in my truck bagged alfalfa or forage products available. He does NOT like moistened foodstuffs, either :roll:

He has lost quite a bit of weight; not like a skeleton, but I'm surprised that he is really functioning. Wondering if he would even re-gain some/all of the weight loss, or will he now simply look like an old guy for the very first time. I plan to stop by vet's office today to give an update to see what he might suggest next. Stressville.

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Re: Oldster on a hunger strike

Postby Moutaineer » Thu Feb 03, 2022 12:20 am

Fingers crossed he pulls it together. Did the vet have any new insight?

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Re: Oldster on a hunger strike

Postby texsuze » Thu Feb 03, 2022 5:55 pm

Vet wasn't available for a curbside consultation :(. He is so. so. busy with large/small animal, plus all the exotics work he does. I seldom get replies to any updates or feedback I provide. I left a short run-down with the receptionist, but asked if the Vit B12 was a one-time injection or if it could be given again if needed. Equine vet tech (he seems pretty switched-on) said B12 could be given twice each week if needed. We'll see how things transpire. Oldster is in lock down today due to sleet, pasture conditions, Big Freeze 2021 redux taking place right now.

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Re: Oldster on a hunger strike

Postby demi » Thu Feb 03, 2022 6:34 pm

We’re having the big freeze, too. I hope you dont have any problems with him drinking in this weather. I think its a good sign he wants the alfalfa. I quit feeding alfalfa when I left California 25 years ago. Now i only get it for my old guy. The stuff smells so good the mares leave their coastal and crane their necks out to try to snatch some when I walk by their stalls with the old guy’s flakes.

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Re: Oldster on a hunger strike

Postby Argento » Thu Feb 03, 2022 6:48 pm

My old guy was finicky his entire life, and never cleaned up a meal in his life. The only thing he really loved was grass. He thankfully held onto his teeth up until the end and was able to eat/graze without issue. However, for the 6 months of the year when grazing wasn't available, what helped stimulate his appetite to keep him eating was Winstrol monthly. It sucked $$, but alleviated my sleepless nights worrying and kept him interested in food and honestly looking great until 27. I also have a great relationship with my vet, since I saw her so often, lol!

The other thing that was hugely helpful was alfalfa, not cubes or pellets, but regular bales of alfalfa, which wasn't easily sourced here in NE. He did enjoy alfalfa, and the extra calories helped maintain his weight. I should note that this horse had no Cushings/IR issues either. He would also go off feeds after a while, and I would just feed him something different, whatever it happened to be a the moment. Sometimes all he wanted was whole oats, sometimes various senior feeds, sometimes only my pony's ration balancer. He just got whatever he wanted, as long as he ate something.

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Re: Oldster on a hunger strike

Postby Chisamba » Wed Feb 09, 2022 1:39 am

Did he get better?

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Re: Oldster on a hunger strike

Postby texsuze » Wed Feb 09, 2022 5:35 pm

Another update. My oldster got a second Vitamin B12 injection yesterday, given by DH, so might take a couple of days to see any effect. He's "waxing and waning" with his food interest. Agitating in his stall, anxious for turnout, the last couple of mornings. Weather conditions and turnout pen access have kept him stalled at nights during the last several days to due ice and cold. And lately takes no interest in his breakfast of senior feed until he returns to his stall for a p.m. feeding attempt. Only then has he decided to half-heartedly try eating the senior feed. His behavior closely mimics that of several of the other folks responding here. Maybe "senior melt-down syndrome" or something :(

He still will NOT eat any forage products (and I have plenty to chose from) other than baled alfalfa , and ONLY dry baled alfalfa--no moistened, no soaked. I have a few bales of crummy, stemmy alfalfa which I make available to him in the pasture. There is no decent quality alf around here right now. Of course, with bad teeth he can only go through the motions of eating, quidding out nearly all of the forage. I feel his only chance at nutrition is the senior feed, if/when he decides to eat it.

He's drinking a lot of water. As such he nearly floods his stall every night (will NOT use the turnout pen to pee :roll: ) Seems he's drinking more water than when he used to eat the soaked bermuda/alfalfa hay cubes.

He has lost weight and his winter coat hairs now stick out like a porcupine. But he hoons around the pasture at a canter, does a scritchy roll every morning, buck and fart for a couple of leaps, then makes his best attempt at eating the alf. Then returns to the shade of his favorite tree to stand watch until coming in for the evening.

My local vet feels ulcers might be a possibility and suggests endoscopy to assess. I don't really feel ulcers are the source of his hunger strike, since he's never, ever exhibited the 'classic' signs of having ulcers. My oldster has been in full retirement for nearly 11 years so not sure how/if that lifestyle plays a roll in his very sudden change in food preferences. I'll likely have the endoscopy performed, only to assuage my conscience. We have not given any anabolic steroids yet, although that might be coming at some point. Wish I had something more positive to post.

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Re: Oldster on a hunger strike

Postby Josette » Thu Feb 10, 2022 12:12 am


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Re: Oldster on a hunger strike

Postby texsuze » Thu Feb 10, 2022 12:43 am

Josette, vet did say that based on his BUN (44 mg/dL) and creat.(3.8 mg/dL) taken at the end of last month, my oldster likely has renal problems that have possibly been simmering along for a while. Before his hunger strike he was fed low starch concentrated feed (Safe Choice), plus ,two big meals of soaked hay cubes that were his only forage source (alfalfa/bermuda combo). He was doing really well on this regime. I felt his urine output at that time was due to the amount of water used to soak the cubes. His current urine output is greater, but he is drinking more water now than when he ate soaked cubes. Historically he's been a camel, not taking in great quantities of water even during summer.

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Re: Oldster on a hunger strike

Postby demi » Thu Feb 10, 2022 1:40 am

Darn. I thought it was good that he was drinking a lot…and I was hoping the alfalfa was just the ticket.

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Re: Oldster on a hunger strike

Postby Moutaineer » Thu Feb 17, 2022 1:27 am

How's he doing, Texsure?

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Re: Oldster on a hunger strike

Postby texsuze » Thu Feb 17, 2022 4:36 am

Thanks for asking. Just came in from night check. He seems a bit depressed at the end of the day today, but he's attempting to eat his Purina Equine Senior meals, so long as he's not distracted in any way. I try to put about 3-4# in front of him about 4x/day, following my previous schedule. Much of it falls out of his mouth and he's not picking it back up off the stall mats like he used to before the hunger strike. I use a dustpan to sweep up the crumbs and put them back into the feed pan. I'm also putting out flakes of the poor quality baled alfalfa; he quids lots, ingests some, but does try to eat it.

Weather permitting, his 'after-the-hunger-strike' routine each morning, so far, is: piffle around in the senior feed pan, eating only about 1# of it; cantering out of turnout pen into the pasture for a runaround; scritchy roll (takes a while to find just the right location); jump up and canter past the turnout pen; get a big drink from the water trough; stand under his tree for most of the day. It's beyond me how he can have such energy with what little he seems to be eating.

If I can locate some decent alfalfa in this area I think it might help. Still don't have a definitive diagnosis for him suddenly stopping eating. I'm thinking of my vet's suggestion about endoscopy to look for ulcers, wondering if that would be worthwhile. But I think this might be his new "normal"--picky eater, not going to regain the weight he's lost, drinking lots of water, peeing lots.

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Re: Oldster on a hunger strike

Postby demi » Thu Feb 17, 2022 5:11 pm

I get really nice alfalfa from TbarM. They used to be in McDade but a young man from Elgin recently bought the company. They’ve always prided themselves on their alfalfa and the new guy uses all the same suppliers. I don’t know exactly where you are but maybe you could try them.

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Re: Oldster on a hunger strike

Postby Quelah » Tue Feb 22, 2022 5:49 am

A lot of horses (well, all of mine anyway) think wet feed is gross. Soaked hay, pellets, senior, whatever, they don't like it.

Purina Senior is the gold standard IME/IMO. Mine don't like TC as much, or any other brand for that matter. I don't know if it's available in your area, but can you get chopped hay with molasses, "alfalfa meal" if it's straight alfalfa with molasses. The concept of hay chaff with alfalfa was invented as I understand it by a mill local me about 100 years ago. Long before equine senior was a thing, many smooth mouthed oldsters were keep going (and show horse kept fat) with "all in one" which is mixed hay types sprayed with molasses.

I'll also suggest tempting your oldster with Purina Ultium. Most go after it like it's got an addictive drug in it, and it's pretty digestible. Also if he's needing more protein, Calf Manna (Manna Pro product). It's SO concentrated full ration for a horse is 2 lbs. I've always fed it to my rescues for protein as alfalfa in my area is not advisable to be fed to horses in any significant quantity.

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Re: Oldster on a hunger strike

Postby texsuze » Tue Feb 22, 2022 7:22 pm

Thanks for all the additional input. He's still a bit depressed, not eating his Purina senior feed breakfast, just wants to go out and stand under his tree. When he comes in for p.m. feed he eats some of his breakfast, and I keep adding feed to the feed pan. I'm drizzling rice bran oil over some of the meals, but not all, since he might turn up his nose. Also sprinkling with Simply Flax, hoping he won't notice. A moving target.

I'm checking weather forecast going forward to see about scheduling endoscopy (per vet's suggestion) to look for ulcers; not really what I want to do, but damned if I do and damned if I don't. I'm not even sure about his getting vaccinations this year, since he's so compromised. Almost doesn't seem like any point in adding more stress to his system.

I have a bag of that chopped multiple forages mixed with some molasses. Smells really nice, to me. Oldster will. not. eat. it. dry or otherwise. Yesterday I put a pan of soaked, shredded beet pulp in his stall. Also put another pan of soaked alfalfa cubes in his stall. Snorted into both, walked away.
He has the baled alfalfa (not great quality) available in stall, in pasture, in turnout pen. Snuffles around in it, then no go. DH will give another Vit B12 injection this afternoon; the shots offer a tiny bit of appetite motivation which only lasts about 12 days.

Tomorrow in town I'll pick up a bag of the Ultium and the Calf Manna (I like the Manna Pro products- used to feed the Senior Weight Gain supplement) to see what happens. I'll update with any new news.

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Re: Oldster on a hunger strike

Postby Dapple Field » Thu Feb 24, 2022 1:28 am

I had a sick horse and acupuncture helped with her appetite. Might be worth a try.

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Re: Oldster on a hunger strike

Postby texsuze » Thu Feb 24, 2022 5:30 pm

Thanks for the alfalfa source near Bastrop and for suggestion on acupuncture, too.

DH gave the B vitamins injection two days ago. Not kicking in yet. Oldster turned his nose up at the Ultium yesterday. :( Feed store didn't have the Calf Manna.

No breakfast eaten this a.m. Four separate feed pans with four separate foodstuffs--"no" to all. He's most likely to eat his senior feed after being in the pasture all day, so fingers crossed he'll consent to do that. For now, he's out in the 20-something degree weather wearing his heavy blankie. Of course, standing near a tree, not underneath his turnout shed roof.... But he did his standard routine of trot out, roll, pop up, trot past the turnout pen.

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Re: Oldster on a hunger strike

Postby Backyarder » Sun Feb 27, 2022 10:26 pm

my 29 year old likes her alfalfa pellets soaked in near boiling water for 5 minutes...just long enough to rehydrate them..they are damp but not wet and I think she likes her feed warm...I put the pellets in a bucket , cover with very hot water,,cover the bucket with a towel and let it sit while I do a few chores...same with her Fat and Fibre.I feed separately in two very deep tubs so she can't fling it over the sides.

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Re: Oldster on a hunger strike

Postby texsuze » Mon Feb 28, 2022 6:21 pm

Thanks, I might make another attempt at some rehydrated alf cubes. Didn't seem to sit well with my old guy; seems he prefers (at least right now) crunchy, but his preferences are a moving target. He has now consented to have his Purina Sr. feed top-dressed with Ultium (Quelah's suggestion), but hardly eats more than a couple pounds--maybe--a day. Piffles around in the alfalfa hay flakes but not really eating forage. Again snorted at the chopped alfalfa hay.

I have a consultation appt. scheduled with the vet (only a week's time...) to discuss the situation since it's been a month since I took my oldster there for bloodwork and evaluation. Will see if vet still feels scoping for gastric ulcers will be useful, or if he has other ideas. At this point I'm willing to try just about anything that might help. Not ready to hang the black drape yet but, man, it is getting close.

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Re: Oldster on a hunger strike

Postby Srhorselady » Mon Feb 28, 2022 7:27 pm

My reluctant eater senior recently turned up his nose at Safe Choice Senior which had been his feed of choice for some time. Now he is eating Bluebonnet Intensify Senior. I soak beet pulp pellets then add the Intensify. He had also been eating orchard grass and has now decided that’s a no go also. He still likes his alfalfa UNLESS it’s too coarse and short chopped Bermuda. However….weeds are his favorite preferred food!

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Re: Oldster on a hunger strike

Postby Chisamba » Mon Feb 28, 2022 8:10 pm

It sounds dumb but when we lived in Africa there was no such thing as senior feed so when our old guys teeth got bad we fed them ten loaves of whole wheat bread a day. It kept them healthy for years. Idk if you want to try something that ' out there'.

But one of my quality of life decisions is based on appetite. He might be telling you some thing.

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Re: Oldster on a hunger strike

Postby Backyarder » Mon Feb 28, 2022 10:03 pm

I could never get alfalfa cubes to get soft enough...I prefer pellets .

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Re: Oldster on a hunger strike

Postby texsuze » Mon Feb 28, 2022 10:07 pm

Yes, Chisamba, quality of life goes beyond just finding something he'll eat. This is the proverbial 'elephant in the room' for me right now. He is already compromised (teeth, vision and hearing, and soundness) and although he shows spunk in the morning, his overall way of being is not really the same since his 'hunger strike' began. I'll admit at times I've hoped that the decision would somehow be made for me if it came down to it (catastrophic emergency, terminal veterinary problem, untenable rehab scenario, etc.) We've taken cats, chickens and a wonder dog to the Rainbow Bridge in a timely manner, but this old partner of mine....a bit different.

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Re: Oldster on a hunger strike

Postby Chisamba » Mon Feb 28, 2022 11:02 pm

:cry:

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Re: Oldster on a hunger strike

Postby Moutaineer » Mon Mar 28, 2022 4:51 pm

How are things going, texsure?

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Re: Oldster on a hunger strike---farewell to 'K'

Postby texsuze » Tue Mar 29, 2022 4:38 pm

Thanks for asking, M. I just finished typing a lengthy response but it somehow vanished.

My equine partner of 24 years is gone. 'K' was coming 31 and had been in retirement with a bit of arthritic lameness for several years here on our ranch. I'm floundering right now, trying to function in a swirl.

I couldn't manage to get 'K' to come round from his hunger strike. He was losing weight and wasn't taking in the nutrition he required. K had some underlying medical conditions, none of which seemed to be as critical as going off-feed, but cumulatively were impacting his quality of life. I was struggling to find him a path to meaningful relief and recovery. I knew he was not going to tell me when--it wasn't in his nature. He was stoic, with try. The only way I can describe things.

'K' departed the earth on a sunny, warm day with command of his senses and dignity. My emotions right now rattle around from remorse, to grief, to relief, to longing, to disbelief, to sadness. His ashes will be sprinkled in the barn pasture underneath his favorite cedar tree.

If I may share a bit about my friend.....I found 'K' through an ad in the classified section of the newspaper, all those years ago. I was late to riding and had been taking hunter lessons on a horse I leased for about 2 1/2 years. I decided it was time to fulfill my life's desire to have a horse of my own. 'K' had just turned 6; the advertisement described him as "sensitive and athletic" which was so true. He was a beautiful chestnut WB cross with a big blaze. He had cat-like reflexes over fences with just enough "looky"--a good learning situation for me. We had the chance to school some xc courses during the years we boarded and he loved jumping outdoors--thought he was The Bomb! 'K' mostly felt claustrophobic with dressage. He had top-shelf ground manners which I take no credit for. It was either previous training or his nature; I merely maintained the expectation. Trailer loading, standing for the farrier, for the vet, in the wash rack, around critters (he liked kids and small animals) and even with my totally non-horse DH, 'K' could be relied upon to be well-behaved. I remember the day we went to collect him when I bought him. The owner's very small, young daughter was walking 'K' from the pasture on her own, albeit with a Corgi holding the other end of the lead rope! Over time I grew to trust 'K' implicitly, despite a look here and a snort there. IMHO there's no feeling more complete than being able to trust your horse, under saddle, in hand. It's a strong potion. That, and going over fences with him--we had some good times together!

And sadly, I must add, that the day after K went to the Rainbow Bridge, I lost Bertha, my Little Brown Hen. Bertha was coming 9 and got into difficulty attempting to lay her first egg of the season. I rushed her to the vet clinic but once there, she could not be saved. Bertha passed away as I held her. Last year she gave me nearly a dozen beautiful blue/green eggs. The vet couldn't believe she was still laying at her age. In 2015, Bertha's eggs won the blue ribbon at our county fair. Now my barn seems huge and empty, without 'K', and with only Bertha's two sisters living there.

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Re: Oldster on a hunger strike---farewell to 'K'

Postby Srhorselady » Tue Mar 29, 2022 5:25 pm

I’m so sorry. You have all my sympathy. I’ve been there with you before and I currently have three over 25 so I’ll be there again. I keep telling myself that I had them as a companion and friend for a time and no matter how much it hurts now that is better than not having had them. Hang in there!

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Re: Oldster on a hunger strike---farewell to 'K'

Postby Chisamba » Tue Mar 29, 2022 5:45 pm

I was afraid to ask. I am sorry.

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Re: Oldster on a hunger strike---farewell to 'K'

Postby demi » Tue Mar 29, 2022 9:29 pm

So sorry, Texsuze. I hope you can feel some comfort knowing what a good life you gave K and Bertha. I have a theory that a lot of times the animals that are really happy in their lives are the ones that live the longest. And k and Bertha lived exceptionally long lives.

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Re: Oldster on a hunger strike---farewell to 'K'

Postby Flight » Wed Mar 30, 2022 5:01 am

So sorry Texsuze. Sounds like K had a great long life with you, along with your little brown Bertha.

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Re: Oldster on a hunger strike---farewell to 'K'

Postby heddylamar » Wed Mar 30, 2022 4:54 pm

I'm so sorry, Texsuze.

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Re: Oldster on a hunger strike---farewell to 'K'

Postby texsuze » Fri Apr 01, 2022 8:12 pm

Thanks for all your condolences and kind words. It's a slow roller coaster of emotions that the rest of life keeps interrupting. I try to start chipping away at cleaning, storing, prepping supplies, tack, equipment, etc. to be donated and/or sold, and realize it is too soon. Yesterday I bought a young redbud tree to plant in K's barn pasture, something that comes back to life each year with blooms.

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Re: Oldster on a hunger strike---farewell to 'K'

Postby Moutaineer » Sat Apr 02, 2022 3:56 pm

I am very sorry, Texsure, I understand your emotions.

There is a certain amount of mourning for our lost youth, as well as for the loss of our best friends, involved, as well, I feel.

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Re: Oldster on a hunger strike---farewell to 'K'

Postby piedmontfields » Tue Apr 12, 2022 12:16 am

What a beautiful tribute to K. He was quite the fellow! You will miss him and it is hard for sure. I'm sending my heart to yours.

Thinking of the little brown hen, too. Nine is awesome, but when we love them it doesn't matter what age they are or how long we've known them.

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Re: Oldster on a hunger strike---farewell to 'K'

Postby Lipsmackerpony88 » Wed Apr 20, 2022 1:14 pm

So sorry. What a beautiful tribute to K and Bertha. What partnerships you had. Sounds they both had wonderful lives with you

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Re: Oldster on a hunger strike---farewell to 'K'

Postby Kyras_Mom » Thu Apr 21, 2022 4:42 am

My condolences texsuze. When either the kidneys or liver goes...so goes the appetite. I struggled with this for 6 weeks for my Mom's little cocker spaniel. At the end, she was just a rack of bones and unfortunately, quit drinking too so that was the end. Godspeed K and Bertha.

I love redbud trees. What a wonderful remembrance.

Susan

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Re: Oldster on a hunger strike---farewell to 'K'

Postby texsuze » Sun Apr 24, 2022 9:07 pm

Thanks, KM, for your thoughts. It often seems to be kidneys as either the basis or the final factor for many situations. Last week we said goodbye to our 17 y.o. kitty, Sebastian. His situation was very similar to your Mom's pup. Unfortunately, due to miscommunication by the vet's staff we ended up waiting for 3 weeks before being able to get the appt. to take him in, but he was a pistol to the end. His passing now makes the proverbial "three" for us here.

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Re: Oldster on a hunger strike---farewell to 'K'

Postby Quelah » Sun Apr 24, 2022 10:49 pm

I'm very sorry. All that love could do was done, sometimes we just run out of pages in the calendar.


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