teampenninglady123

Alfalfa And Humid Heat

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Question: Alfalfa hay, Louisiana Swamp Hot/Humid Summer ( sauna hot: not "oven hot like the west) and a horse that is breathing heavy just standing in stall, especially when eating, and drinking water like crazy....related? or not?

Not feeding any feed due to 'possible' laminitis that 'could' happen.

Owner not feeling secure over any feed brand b/c of sugar content in any available feed store locally.

Used to feed exclusively beet pulp/good hay... but since local feed store has been on back order for beet pulp for a while now... replacing it with a rich alfalfa hay mixed with the regular good hay, and a great big amount of it twice daily.

Horse is drinking water excessively and urinating like 2 racehorses in his stall.

Breathing is always in a small to medium 'pant' like a dog...especially when eating.

Owner has placed a fan in stall and it helps but the panting is still occurring away from the fan or when it cuts off at night.

Now...I said I would take a group conscience from all of you guys here on whether the panting/drinking is related to the alfalfa/heat or not related.

Owner was miffed b/c the horse would also wet the stall underneath the auto-waterer and flood that spot. It was a MESS!

Owner place two water buckets in stall in addition to the auto waterer and the horse drinks both buckets down.

Owner seems to think he just has an affinity to the buckets and 'plays' in the auto waterer and since she has added the buckets, he is not making the mess...so owner's conclusion is he didn't like the waterer...and only seems to want the buckets.

Auto waterer is cleaned daily and he did not play in the one that was in his other stall ( moved a few weeks back). Both stalls are open and breezy and this one has a higher ceiling so it gets cooler faster. The other one was 'stud blocked' on both sides so it had open air from front to back only ( walled up on sides due to studs on each end). This one is open all way around. He did not have alfalfa in other stall and started the alfalfa right at same time ( give or take a day or so) to moving.

But he still urinates a lot. Horses on left and right of him not panting, or sweating too much. They eat high fat feed/oats and good hay. One is worked out almost daily, one is nursing a foal. Nobody else in barn seems to be in same situation as well.

I am trying to make some sense of it for her....she will NOT feed any feed so I am at a loss as to how to help her.

Edited by teampenninglady123

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How old is this horse? Does he shed out in the spring or seem to have a shaggy coat all year? Alfalfa is not good for a horse with possible laminitis. It is too rich. A good grass hay would be better. Lots of it! Is there any mold on the alfalfa?

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She may need to have the vet out to look at her horse. The possibilities that struck me were Cushings(MzRat), Heaves, an allergy or some other reaction. I also thought of anhydrosis, but I think that is when a horse *doesn't* sweat. Regardless, panting, sweating and excessive water when the horse isn't being physically active indicates a stressor of some kind .... and that type of behavior isn't good for his long-term health.

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age: 10ish

gelding

he sweats well

he is a miss fox trotter

sheds very well...very fast...and not too mush of a shaggy coat in winter anyway. He wasn't too much in the outdoor coat-making dept. and was on pasture up until lately...in Spring

He behaves 'proud cut" with other horses in pasture....boys and girls...and was booted into the barn b/c he was hurting the others. Testosterone levels tested and normal.

easy keeper but stays on the ribbyside ( like a TB does) even though his body is full of beefcake muscles...he is a tank

prone to laminitis was his calling card when he was bought....so she is trying to avoid all sugary feeds and went off of them altogether.

was feeding beet pulp and regular grass-based hay...using the alfalfa b/c can't seem to get any beet pulp around town lately.

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I agree with her caution feeding alot of carbs/grains.MFTs can be very prone to laminitis from obesity. They can be fat and still show rib. I know one that sounds identical to this guy. Most likely is metabolic and should be treated as such. Trimmed him for several years and saw his extreme sensitivity to sugar changes in the grass and the need for dry lotting. He also was less heat tolerant and breathed hard when it was stifling hot. A good hose off and a fan may help. Id feed only grass hay salt and get him on a ration balancer like Triple Crown 30%. 1 lb a day should do it. Its around 9% NSC, very safe and will give him some protein and nutrition without overdoing it.

As for the alfalfa, Some horses have a hard time and retain alot of water on it. It just may not be the best for him. Also alfalfa quality varies alot. The rich rich stuff I would avoid.

Edited by Trinity

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Reading my mind, Heidi? I would suggest a very thorough vet check. No alfala. Cushings is a possibility even with out the hair growth. As is Insulin resistance and several other things that only blood work will detect.

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Reading my mind, Heidi?

Nope. I'm just psychotic. Wait. Psi. Pshi. Psy. Ahhhhh, that's it: psychic. Yup! I'm psychic.

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I'd have the Vet out to do some testing and get a recommendation on the feed this horse should be on.

Is there another source for feed with beet pulp as an ingredient?

We have four feed stores within a fifteen minute drive that will special order a couple of bags of feed if they don't routinely carry it (yeah, I'm spoiled).

12 years ago, our old Arab/Qtr pony who had heaves, showed some signs of insulin resistance and had a hard time maintaining weight. Got wet alfalfa/grass hay cubes mixed with a senior feed that had chopped beet-pulp (Purina, since it didn't have extra iron or sugar), two tablespoons of salt and 1lb of soaked alfalfa for something to chew twice a day at our vet's recommendation. During the winter, the senior feed was doubled. Before that, I'd fed him soaked alfalfa & beet-pulp, with a local milled feed that had corn, oats, a small amount of molasses and iron in the mineral mix (a big no no per my vet :ashamed0002: ).

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No to the alfalfa!

The owner needs to have the IR test done and the horse's thyroid as well. Until the owner talks to a vet trying things can be more of a wrong than a right choice.

I hope she finds out what's wrong, the urination thing has me worried.....Check that link Ann provided.

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If the horse doesn't do much there really is no need for alfalfa hay anyways. It always makes me flabbergasted why people feed rich rich alfalfa to pasture puffs.

Anyways, if he sheds out fine and has no other symptoms, I wouldn't suspect Cushings... I'd be more concerned about COPD. If he sweats fine, I wouldn't worry about the A/C.

Does he only breath hard in his stall? Or is it out in the pasture too? If you keep shavings in that stall, I would pull them all out and see how he does. If he has COPD the shavings could most definitely be causing his distress.

I don't care how "non-dusty" the shavings claim to be.. they reek havoc on a horses respiratory system- ESPECIALLY if they lay down at night.

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NIX the alfalfa!

It is too high in protein, and will cause the kidneys to over work, as well as cause excess urination.

Alfalfa is dairy cattle feed, and is for lots of milk and protein. It can be fed as an addition to horses that are worked a lot on cattle, as those horses use up their reserves of protein for rebuilding muscle. We do feed it to our distance horses, as again, it helps to give them the protein to build and rebuild muscle. Good grass, or even B.O.W. ( Barley/Oat/Wheat) mix is more to the measure. You almost cannot go wrong feeding long stem hay, as it is the most fiber, and as we know, horses are fiber eaters. There are MANY processed feeds that are mostly beet pulp, and I would also look into that if it is what she wants. Lots of plain hay is also good for a stabled horse, as it gives them lots to do and not be anxious in the stall.

Edited by siseley

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Sisely....see that is what I do.

I add a half a scoop of dehydrated chopped up alfalfa to feed in addition to his regular routine feed/hay 2x a day bu ONLY WHEN THE WEATHER IS COLD.

I give a full scoop to the pasture horses to supplement them and help them stay warmer. We have rainy, windy and cold Falls and Winters that switch back to warm ( even hot) in a heartbeat.

Hence all the hurricanes here.

I can't actually 'commit' to feeding it like as if we were in, say, Montana or Colorado or places like that.

We don't even snow...so they just remain wet and cold and shivery all day/night long. Then they can cook the next week.

Once it looks like the weather is putting together some decent enough days in a warmer pattern....I stop alfalfa completely. Usually around St. Patty's day or so.

They begin shedding almost immediately after....it is weird.

( btw...these horses work pretty hard for me. They do riding lessons, and lots of hard rides by me and lessees. Wet saddle pads and foamy butts are the norm)

and thank you for bringing up beet pulp...UPDATE: the horse is back on beet pulp and off alfalfa ( was weaned off) and guess what....the panting and sweating completely stopped.

Edited by teampenninglady123

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Feeding alfalfa scares me...that being said, alfalfa is what I have right now.

I had no choice, I needed hay, my supplier had no Bermuda and, to buy a couple bales of it, here and there, from the feed store was breaking the bank, a 3 wire, 100 pound bale of Bermuda, goes for, right around 20 bucks, so, my husband called the hay guy and ordered 64 bales of alfalfa. ( he wasn't going to have Bermuda for a while, it was too long for us to wait).

I did, however, go and buy a few bales of the beardless wheat, so they aren't getting just a lot of alfalfa, they get a small flake of it, and the majority of the meal, is wheat. ( they also get a vitamin/mineral supplement with a little safe choice feed).

A lot of people around here have switched to the wheat, partly because of cost...10 bucks a bale, VS 20 and, partly due to Bermuda being hard to get.

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Think bermuda will be hard to get for a while. Since we haven't gotten much rain, there isn't much hay. Another year of high hay prices!

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Think bermuda will be hard to get for a while. Since we haven't gotten much rain, there isn't much hay. Another year of high hay prices!

I know, same problem here, so, what do ya do? You feed them what you DO have available, the only alternative would be, don't feed them and, that's not an option !

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