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.
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