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Dr. Gwen
Dr. Gwen, Veterinarian
Category: Horse
Satisfied Customers: 650
Experience:  Over ten years veterinary experience, including polo, grand prix, and pet horses.
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Overweight pony will not eat soaked hay. Advice required

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Overweight pony will not eat soaked hay. Advice required
Assistant: I'll do all I can to help. The Expert will know what to do. What is the pony's name and age?
Customer: Doodle 9
Assistant: Is there anything else important you think the Veterinarian should know about Doodle?
Customer: Previously had laminitis
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
He is kept in during the day and out at night on track system with 6 other horses and hardly any grass. He is the lowest in the herd and gets bossed around by the others so is constantly on the move. I have tried several different muzzles but he gets them off. I haven’t got access to dry/bare paddock. Is there anything else I can do?
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Hello, that you for contacting us at Just Answer. I am a licensed veterinarian and will do my best to answer your questions and help Doodle. Can you clear up what you need help with? Are you concerned that he won't eat the soaked hay or that he is overweight?

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Worried about him refusing to eat soaked hay and therefore not eating anything and can I do anything else to help him lose the weight

Thank you, ***** ***** the clarification. Have you had his teeth checked? Will he eat other hay and just not the soaked hay?

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Teeth are ok done recently. He will eat other hay...non soaked sugary etc. Will it harm him if he doesn’t eat anything? Or do I relent and give him what he wants?

He sounds like a clever pony to hold out on you like this! Rather than doing a rapid switch on him, try mixing half of the soaked hay with the other hay to encourage him to eat it. You need to mix it together well so that he can't just pick out the parts he likes. If you can get him eating this mixture, then over the course of several days you should start reducing the amount of the other hay and increasing the soaked hay. This will be a bit of labor on your part to make sure it is well mixed and he is eating it, but eventually you will be able to switch him fully over to the soaked hay. I have had some smart ponies and horses that once I get them fully transitioned, they still require a small handful of their preferred hay sprinkled on top of the soaked hay, but then they eat their full meal. They can be smart and spoiled, can't they?

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
He is super clever...too clever for his own good. Ok I shall try that with the hay. Is there anything else I can do to help with weight loss that I’m not already doing?

Well if there is a way to increase his activity, that will naturally burn some calories from him. Since he is kept in during the day, is there an option for getting him out for some light activity in the daytime a couple times per week? This wouldn't have to be everyday, but even a good hour of walking with some trots will be beneficial. I wouldn't look towards any supplements or hay restriction without trying to get him a bit more active first.

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Ok thank you. And finally what do I do if I suspect laminitis? My gut is telling me that he is in early stages of it. Heat in two of his hooves and I can easily feel his pulse too

Laminitis is quite frustrating and concerning. He is at higher risk because he is a pony and he is overweight. I decrease or discontinue any grain in my laminitis cases, and stay off rich grass. If you can offer soft bedding or sand for him, that will help. Most importantly, having your vet out to examine him, prescribe anti-inflammatories, and looking for any possible abscess is needed. Catching it early will give you a better outcome, so if you can manage to get the vet out there soon that would be best.

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Ok thank you very much. I shall call them tomorrow.

You are welcome, best of luck to you guys!

Let me know if you have any further questions; otherwise, please rate the conversation using the stars at the top so the question can be closed and filed. Have a great day!

Dr. Gwen, Veterinarian
Category: Horse
Satisfied Customers: 650
Experience: Over ten years veterinary experience, including polo, grand prix, and pet horses.
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