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Senior Horses Need Weight Management
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Senior Horses Need Weight Management

People who say age is just a number probably haven’t had to endure aching joints and dietary restrictions in their golden days. The fact of the matter is that most elder people suffer from the various problems that rise with old age, and it’s not just human beings who might be suffering.

Senior horses, just like senior people, might not have the brightest of lives in their old age. Special care needs to be taken to ensure these horses’ dietary and dental needs. But while this is commonly known, one thing people might forget is that senior horses badly need weight management as well.

Weight Loss is a Common Issue

Horses are animals that have the ability to pull out the nutrients they need even from poor quality forage. This allows them to stay healthy in the wild. The problem is that this also creates a misunderstanding in horse owners’ minds that the forage they are giving to their horses is good enough for them in old age as well. In actuality, however, many horses’ ability to absorb the required nutrients from the food they eat is diminished heavily, so it becomes imperative to get the best quality of food that you can give them.

Risk of Disease

Immunosenescence in horses is the slow decline of the immune system. What this means is that senior horses not only need weight management, but also need to be taken care of because of a weaker immune system. An ill-performing immune system puts the horses at risk of catching diseases, and hampers the effect of vaccination on them as well.

Tips to Keep Senior Horses Healthy

The first thing you should do, especially if you notice that your senior horse is not happy about the forage it’s being fed, is to replace forage with complete feed.

If your senior horse is losing weight, the best way to remedy this is to provide them with more energy. You can do this by giving them high quality forage or rely on a good quality feed that is made especially for seniors.

Some senior horses also suffer from Cushing’s disease. They can be fed supplements containing amino acids in order to improve their muscle health.

Senior Horses can also be Obese

Old age in horses doesn’t only mean that they lose weight. Many horses are seen gaining weight as well. In these cases, it becomes important that you help your horse lose weight. The first step here is to restrict the amount of food that your horse is taking, and exercising always helps too.

Just as it is with human beings, horses are prone to many diseases and problems in their old age. Caring for a young horse is not an easy task either, but you need to be extra vigilant about what your horse is eating in its old age. Senior horses not only require to be fed special food based on their individual needs, but also some sessions in weight management so that you can be sure that your horse is not losing or gaining weight in an unhealthy fashion.

Disclaimer: Of Horse! and sponsors do not endorse nor validate the accuracy of a blog post. Each article is the opinion of the blogger.

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Leave a Comment

  1. Of Horse Support
    Of Horse Support
    Great points! Thanks for the post!
    Log in to reply.
  2. jst4horses
    I have had several horses in our equine therapy programs that lived well into their thirties, and one forty year old. We worked with out vets to have special diet for each one. I like Bermuda, and then add on..............our vet does too, it must work, because we have had so many live to such old age, no colic, no bad problems until often we just come out in the morning, and they have passed away in their paddock. There was a forty three year old pony, and several other forty plus year old horses I have met over the years that were all with the same vet group...........blood tests are a good part of the care of older horses as we had several who got thyroid issues and had to be kept on special diets so they did not get fat! Some had arthritis, others did not, or not so much.........all were loved by soldiers, and kids with disabilities..........we had a LOT Of seniors who would come out in those little walker/chairs and sit around and feed carrots, they helped train really bad horses we trained out to support the programs so they could go back to their homes, or trainers without the vicious tendencies they came in with...................they talked, and mostly LISTENED to the vets, the kids and even the staff and psychologists who came with the riders! Those old horses helped a lot of people and every one is remembered with love and honor.
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