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Discussion on Contracted tendons on the weanlings

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Julie Masner
Member
Username: juliem

Post Number: 342
Registered: 9-2002
Posted on Sunday, Dec 9, 2007 - 1:39 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Well, now for this week's weanling question: I transitioned three weanlings to alfalfa grass mix hay and started them on Purina Born to Win pellets doing it what I thought was gradually. Also started a worming program that I think followed the protocol in the articles. And now after reading about tendon contractual problems, I think I probably set them up for same! They grew like weeds for six weeks and then within a 24 hour period, two of the three started knuckling over on the rear fetlocks. Not lame, just really knuckling over. I read the articles and immediately switched to mature grass hay, eliminated the pellets (which are 32% protein!!!) and left them turned out. Within four days, they appear almost normal. Now the question is do I gradually start them back on the better hay, and do I add pellets at all and if so, when and how slowly. Obviously, I didn't do it slowly enough the first time! Thanks and I hope that's it for questions for this month, but it is early! Julie
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Elizabeth Kaufman
Member
Username: ekaufman

Post Number: 207
Registered: 3-2007
Posted on Sunday, Dec 9, 2007 - 8:26 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hi Julie,

Welcome to baby hell!

With my babies and weanlings, I feed them as little as I can that maintains a healthy condition. So mine get straight grass hay (when not on pasture) and a handful of Born to Win (a literal handful, 2x/day). They also have a trace mineral block etc.. Not to recommend my program, but to make the point that there is no need to feed them such a rich diet unless they have a pressing need.
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Robert N. Oglesby DVM
Moderator
Username: dro

Post Number: 19677
Registered: 1-1997
Posted on Monday, Dec 10, 2007 - 6:15 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hello Julie,
It is not the protein so much as the total amount of nutrition (which the very high protein contributed to) that created the problem. To give specific advice we need:
  • the horse's weight
  • overall condition
  • what and how much (by weight) you were feeding before the problem
  • what and how much were you feeding that created the problem
  • turn out and what the pastures are like.
You should also look at our recommendations at Horse Care » Equine Nutrition, Horse Feeds, Feeding » Feeding the Growing Foal, Nutrition for Young Horses but I think working this problem out here might help others avoid this problem.
DrO
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Julie Masner
Member
Username: juliem

Post Number: 344
Registered: 9-2002
Posted on Monday, Dec 10, 2007 - 2:16 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

They came to me on the 13th of October, in good flesh but wormy. I started them on grass hay only. Gradually added the pellets and changed the hay. Began worming as per the article and have wormed with strongid, Ivermectin and Pancur. The filly that presented first weighs 400# and was the leanest, with biggest pot belly. The other two are #450. They were getting about 8# each of alfalfa/grass hay and about one and a half pounds each of the Born to Win (32% protein). The reccommendation on the bag was for up to .5 pounds per hundred pounds of body weight. All split into three feedings. They are turned out on about five acres that has never been planted in pasture or irrigated. It does have some of what we call "winter green-up", which is cheat grass that starts in the fall and then goes dormant until Spring. Southern Idaho is desert, so without irrigation, that's all that grows. They are in good flesh and I can feel ribs through their very long thick winter coats. Thanks for your help with this. Julie
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Suzanne Reed
Member
Username: sureed

Post Number: 78
Registered: 10-2005
Posted on Monday, Dec 10, 2007 - 8:52 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Julie, I'm not sure I'm totally clued in from the beginning of your post and don't know the origin of these babies, but it sounds as though you didn't breed them but acquired them from somewhere else. If that is the case I would certainly do a fecal float. Put a handful of fresh manure in a surgical glove filled with water and see what settles to the fingers (you are looking for sand, any more sophisticated fecal float analysis needs to be done by the vet). A knuckle of sand in any finger indicates significant amounts of sand in the colon and feeding Psyllium is advised. I had a yearling come in with poor condition and a pot belly and this ended up to be his diagnosis after two colics, the last requiring four days at UC Davis where their excellent care avoided him having to have surgery. He is a beautiful five year old now.

Suzanne
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Robert N. Oglesby DVM
Moderator
Username: dro

Post Number: 19682
Registered: 1-1997
Posted on Tuesday, Dec 11, 2007 - 6:24 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Once they are back to normal Julie start substituting back the alfalfa-grass with the idea of completely replacing the grass. If it is of good quality, it alone may provide all the nutrition needed and it is likely to be fairly well balanced. If they begin to grow too fast or gain too much condition, back off slowly till you hit the right balance. If they begin to loose condition then you can start adding back in concentrate slowly until they stabilize but with this type hay I suggest a more moderate protein profile. Not knowing exactly what the hay is like though I don't have firm recommendations.
DrO
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Julie Masner
Member
Username: juliem

Post Number: 345
Registered: 9-2002
Posted on Tuesday, Dec 11, 2007 - 12:10 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Thanks Dr. Oglesby. How often do you shake your head and groan when you have to point out the obvious to us? When things are too simple, some of us just can't resist making them complicated. Thanks for being civil about it--I can really imagine you have to stifle a "DUH" every now and then!
Suzanne, I'll test them for sand and see what that shows. They are losing their bellies and I think that was due mainly to a heavy parasite load. Thanks, Julie
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Robert N. Oglesby DVM
Moderator
Username: dro

Post Number: 19690
Registered: 1-1997
Posted on Tuesday, Dec 11, 2007 - 5:58 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Don't worry next time you just get the article reference.
DrO
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