Every horse is an individual. You will never find two alike, even in twins when it comes to them coming back from starvation.
A post in a group recently prompted me to write this entry as I see the comments regularly about how well one persons rescue horse is doing in a short time and how others feel defeated when the horse they took in still isn't showing much change.
Each case is different, each horse is different and each recovery is different. The feeding program one person uses, might help in some small way with another horse. It may not be enough or it might be too much. Each diet needs to be specific for each horse in refeeding so there are not any set backs and the horse doesn't end up with refeeding syndrome.
Some horses can gain weight on air, even when they are on the lowest end of the body scale. The internal damage may not be as bad, they have a better metabolism, or there could be numerous reasons why that particular horse "looks" so much better than another one of the same scale. The other one might have severe damage on the inside and the body is trying to repair that before adding weight on the outside.
This is just one thing to take into consideration when taking in a rescue. Have your vet check the horse out and suggest a refeeding program for that horse. Your vet will know better how to refeed this particular horse than your friends or anyone else even if they've had a billion rescues. Those people aren't treating, feeding, or vetting your horse. Suggestions are great, I'm not saying be stuck up about it... but take those suggestions to your vet and ask them. At the end of the day, if you add something to the regime that wasn't okay'd by your vet and that horse dies from refeeding syndrome, you'll feel really really bad. If you don't trust your vet, get a second vets opinion.
Try not to get discouraged when you see someone else's rescue in better shape than yours. Remember, your horse is an individual. Giving him the best vet care and feed you can is the best you can do and it may be a year or two before you see those huge results you've been waiting for.
I've seen some horses look fabulous after just a week or two. Gaining weight in leaps and bounds, becoming overall healthy and fit. I've also seen some other horses still look like they're on death's door after 6 months. It's no one's fault. It's just how that particular horse is. There's no explanation for it. Your vet probably couldn't even explain it, other than to say that's just how this horse's system is. It's working as optimal as it can for this horse.
Rest assured, if you've taken the horse to the vet and had all the precursor work done, then got together all the feed stuff that the vet recommended and fed the horse according to his prescription, then you're doing all you can for that horse. Be proud of that! You're act of random kindness will be rewarded.
Thank you for all comments and votes. I appreciate it. :)
Pic: Used with permission, Courtesy of Kristina Townsend
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