Your feeding regimes for the dentally challenged senior

texsuze
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Your feeding regimes for the dentally challenged senior

Postby texsuze » Mon Apr 09, 2018 4:00 pm

My coming 27 y.o. gelding had his annual dental exam last week with a new (to us) veterinarian, who specializes in equine dentistry. I like this vet; he didn't float my guy's teeth because it wasn't necessary. Took radiographs to assess the possibility of EOTRH, which was present in a very early stage in one incisor. To be examined annually with radiographs, along with behavior monitoring as time goes on.

The essential bottom line: my oldster has "...the teeth of an old horse..." with molars that no longer align to provide an adequate chewing surface, and teeth that have shifted position slightly. Vet was surprised he was in as good a weight considering his dental situation. My old guy has had annual dental visits his entire life--most with power floats, a few with just standard floats.

On vet recommendation, I'm keeping to the same feedstuffs (complete senior feed 2x/day but increase amt. gradually), plus a feeding of soaked hay cubes at night check. Vet said I'll need to amp up the calories well before winter to keep my oldster from getting behind the 8-ball with his condition. When I asked about NSC, he felt that would not be a concern, given the importance of the dental picture.

For those who have horses in similar situations, how do you keep hay in the mix for roughage and psychological stimulation? Or do you simply rely on hay cubes, beet pulp, etc? Even with my good hay supplier, I doubt I'll be able to find more of the fluff coastal he is able to eat right now (2 bales remain). My other 14 bales, although great quality, are likely too stemmy for my guy to chew down.

Of course, spring grass coming in somewhat masks his lack of good teeth, since he can nip and pick his way through it all. I worry about late summer into fall into winter, when grazing changes.

Your thoughts and feed plans might give me something to chew on.... ;)

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musical comedy
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Re: Your feeding regimes for the dentally challenged senior

Postby musical comedy » Mon Apr 09, 2018 8:00 pm

My coming 24 year old has advanced EOTRH. I chose not to do the extractions because I do not see any signs that my horse is in dental pain. Of course, we know horses are stoic, but he does things that he wouldn't do if in pain. At some point I will have to get them extracted if he doesn't die earlier from something.

He still eats hay and doesn't quid. However, I buy very high quality 2-3rd cut orchard that is soft and fine. I don't worry about NSC. He now has Cushings too. I figure just let him enjoy what's left of his life.

If he gets to the point where he can't eat any hay, I will switch to 100% Triple Crown Senior in a mash. He loves that. I'm home all day, so I can give him multiple meals of that. He also will eat beet pulp, but I don't know if a tootless horse can still chew that.

My horse doesn't like wet hay and hay cubes. Also, those alfalfa and/or timothy cubes are very stalky. Even soaked, I would think they would be difficult to chew.

To add: Bagged chopped forage is great too, but expensive.

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Re: Your feeding regimes for the dentally challenged senior

Postby heddylamar » Mon Apr 09, 2018 9:01 pm

My 36yo was the pickiest toothless horse. She had a life-long refusal of alfalfa, period. Chopped forage was okay ... for ~1 week, then it was akin to feeding her poison. You get the idea.

What did work, and was considered acceptable food, kept weight on her for 4 years before I finally euthanized her:
- senior feed + rice bran pellets, soaked (AM + PM)
- 3 quarts soak timothy pellets (AM + PM + mid-day)
- bran mash (mid-day)
- soaked timothy cubes deep rubber ground feeder filled 1/3 - 1/2 full, refilled as necessary (free-choice)
- 4-6 large handfuls of timothy chopped by hand and scattered around the ground feeder

She was on pasture 12 hours a day, and managed to eat some grass. When we'd switch to in at night (out during the day) the mid-day feeding occurred at late-night check. My vet, plus equine nutrition studies I read, all indicated that the roughage provided by the timothy pellets provides plenty of gut action. Horses do not need long strands of hay for roughage.

Alfalfa is far better nutritionally for the oldsters than timothy, but there was no telling Joy that. I did try a few different mixes, all to no avail. She was having none of that!

There were no NSC concerns.

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Re: Your feeding regimes for the dentally challenged senior

Postby kande50 » Mon Apr 09, 2018 11:56 pm

I fed a lot of pelleted complete feed last winter, both to the toothless wonders and the hard keepers. The tooth challenged are both late 20's so not yet having problems keeping weight on, nor are they on free choice complete feed, yet. They both quid their hay.

The old guy, who could eat hay, was on free choice pelleted complete feed and sweet feed, and he didn't like it mixed together. He wouldn't eat senior feed, but did want fresh hay daily, and liked separate piles of first and second cut. The picked over hay was to be thrown over the fence to the others and fresh piles were to be put out twice a day. He also wanted more apples, and if I'd known he was going to have a stroke mid-winter I would have given him more, because now we have bushels of apples going by in the cellar because I don't dare feed too many to any of the rest of them.

Everyone can maintain their weight on grass, but we only have it for 6 months of the year.

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Re: Your feeding regimes for the dentally challenged senior

Postby Fatcat » Tue Apr 10, 2018 5:13 am

A 30+yo toothless pony I had did well on soaked Timothy cubes. I'd fill a large, deep rubber tub about half full with them 4x/day. It kept him going for several years at the end of his life, plus by soaking, the NSC levels were lowered for him.
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Re: Your feeding regimes for the dentally challenged senior

Postby DsMom » Wed Apr 11, 2018 7:23 pm

D was in the same boat. I can't remember the amounts any more, but he was on senior twice a day, soaked hay cubes two or three times a day. Senior feed was topped off with rice bran for the extra calories. He was turned out regularly and could still eat some grass. Seemed to do very well, especially since he was a hard keeper.

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Re: Your feeding regimes for the dentally challenged senior

Postby LeoApp » Thu Apr 12, 2018 1:57 pm

My horse was toothless in his old age and did very well, and actually GAINED weight on the following.
5 lbs hay cubes + triple crown sr combined, soaked, 3 x/day.
He was also on a grass pasture but I don't think he got much from it. The grass wasn't real lush.
For a treat, if there was VERY grassy fine hay available, he would get a little of that to much on, but he would quid a lot of it.
When he lost some weight after being sick, I tried rice bran but it had no effect.
In the winter I would add a scoop of Horse Tech's FB 100, which is 100% fat but in a granular form, like cool calories. It doesn't get rancid and he ate it fine.
My dentist, who is also a vet, said you can keep a horse on just equine sr, but that they do better with a fiber, even if the fibers are short, as they are in hay cubes.

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Re: Your feeding regimes for the dentally challenged senior

Postby musical comedy » Thu Apr 12, 2018 2:12 pm

I recently saw a photo on a facebook page of a soaked hay cube with particles of twine in it. Google produces various places where that has happened. I hate hay cubes. I think they are floor sweepings and you don't know whats in them. jmo. I realize junk can get in pellets as well, but it is much more likely in a hay cube.

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Re: Your feeding regimes for the dentally challenged senior

Postby LeoApp » Thu Apr 12, 2018 3:22 pm

I would venture to say you would run that risk with ANY commercially prepared food (human or pet).
Look at all the crap that is in hay. You just have to go with the company that has the best reputation and hope for the best.

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Re: Your feeding regimes for the dentally challenged senior

Postby DsMom » Thu Apr 12, 2018 8:16 pm

I really had no choice as far as hay vs. hay cubes. D couldn't properly eat hay. Even with soaking, he'd leave a lot on the ground because he just couldn't chew it up properly. What he did eat resulted in diarrhea. The stuff the BO purchased seemed quite good.

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Re: Your feeding regimes for the dentally challenged senior

Postby LeoApp » Fri Apr 13, 2018 2:26 pm

Very true - people with toothless horses don't have a choice. Hay cubes were a Godsend and I never saw anything funky in them. I used to feed 50/50 timothy - alfalfa.

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Re: Your feeding regimes for the dentally challenged senior

Postby Fatcat » Fri Apr 13, 2018 3:04 pm

Standlee has high quality hay cubes, used them for years and never found anything but hay in them
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Re: Your feeding regimes for the dentally challenged senior

Postby Hayburner » Fri Apr 13, 2018 3:36 pm

Wow - surprised to hear so many toothless aged horses are out there. I guess I'm blessed - My 31 year old still has excellent teeth! I just had him checked and the vet said he has the teeth of a 20 year old...I had him checked since he had trouble chewing carrots and his pelleted grain. Not sure why he struggles with only these two things - but, I have stopped giving any carrots and I now add water to his grain.

His hay is really nice soft orchard grass. Maybe because he's been a huge hay dunker it's kept his teeth in great shape. It's easy to chew


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