Pete's Diary: FatBoy to slim ...

PePo

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I've decided to start a diary - I know other people have diaries on far more interesting topics, but today has bought home the fact that I've let Pete get too fat and as a result, he's had a laminitic episode.

It's his & mine, first ever dealings with this & having seen both my barefoot trimmer & physiotherapist (I initially thought he'd strained something) & speaking to my vet, I need to get a handle on it.

We think it's been triggered by a few things:

* Pete's ongoing battle with the bulge & me feeding too much
* Changing to a 'light' feed balancer - which essentially, still gave him too many calories
* Moving into summer grazing fields (despite being muzzled & out for half a day)
* Possibly being wormed ( well, he was definitely wormed, but apparently it's fairly common for lami sensitive horses to react)

Combined with generally a wet, mild winter & far too much rain & sun.

Looking back - I've fed him far too much for far too long. I should have muzzled him whilst he was in the winter field still & the Spring grass started coming through.

I feel SO guilty, that I've let this happen. I'm hoping by having a diary, I can regularly update with photo's, condition scores & other bits and pieces - I can help manage it better.

At least, we've caught it early - he's fully weight bearing, sound at walk but 'shuffly' in trot, but with pulse's & warm feet.

The plan of action : reduce his hay intake (he was getting 10Ibs of soaked hay overnight, as well as grass) , keep him off the grass until there are no more pulses - then introduce a little grazing at a time & exercise.

He's been taken off the light balancer & will most likely stay off it - apparently, he really can live off grass & hay most of the time! He'll get a token breakfast of literally a scattering of unmollased chaff.

No more treats - I'm ashamed to say, he got far too many.

He'll probably hate me - he looked at his new, smaller net with disgust tonight ...!

I'm going to condition score him & weigh tape him tomorrow as well, as that will give a good starting point.

This will probably be of no use or interest to anyone, but, I'm hoping it will help me get to grips with his new management regime.
 
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Rubic

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It is so difficult so I think a diary is a fab idea!

My mare Rubic can be a touch laminitic, exactly how you describe Pete, a bit shuffly! She is quite chilled out on the ground anyway but if her feet are bothering her she will be slow and will sometimes manoeuvre herself to stand on a slope to take the weight off her sore hooves.

Unfortunately she is retired at grass now so I can't really exercise her to keep weight off. We are a little restricted in what we can do to the fields so the only way I can restrict her is to muzzle her 24/7. I don't like doing it but I think I've found the best method for us and I also think I've found the best muzzle for Rubic as well. When she was on box rest last year is was such a battle. She is so food orientated that it is a nightmare.

The thing is that as much as you feel bad for restricting them (because they master the sad eyes and "I'm so hungry" nicker every time they see a bucket or someone reaches into their pocket) it really is for their own good and you need to remember that every time you have doubts or are stressed about the whole thing or someone passes comment on what you are doing. There are plenty of us here who have had weight issues with their horses so I'm sure you'll get plenty of help and advice, you just need to pick out what works for you and your horse.

Best of luck!
 

PePo

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Well, we've done the first day & we are both still alive. I'm taking each day as a victory ...!

He's a little miffed at his reduced rations, but he's not being too much of a pickle.

Yesterday, you could feel a pulse in all 4 feet (mildly in 3 though) - today, he only has a pulse in his front two & his left fore is very, very faint. It was his right fore that was the strongest & this morning it had gone down from last night & this evening it had gone down from this morning. So I'm pleased with that.

I think having his 9Ibs if hay split across 3 nets is working, as he wasn't as fussed with his night net going up as I thought he would be.

I've printed off some body conditioning scores & gave that a go tonight - I'm embarrassed to say, I think he's scoring 4-4.5 on it :(

I weigh taped him too - he was coming at 460kg, but I know my friend has said the tape I borrowed off her isn't accurate - as she put hers on a weigh bridge & the weigh tape made them seem bigger than it was. I'll find out from her at the weekend, how wrong it was - so I can get a more accurate idea. But, it'll still be a useful guide.

I think, I'm going to weigh tape & condition score weekly, just so I can keep a track if it.

I took some photo's too - I'll try to upload them. I think, as I see him every day, I've just not noticed his weight gain - although, it's a poor excuse, I know :(
 

Mary Poppins

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Don't feel too guilty. The most important thing is that you are taking action now.

I had owned my horse for a year when the vet came out to do his annual health check. I was devestated when he told me that Ben was far, far too fat and I needed to take drastic action. I felt so guilty because while I knew he was 'round' I didn't realise that he was so obese and no-one on the yard told me either. I felt like the most useless owner in the world. He vet condition scored him as a 5.

That was almost 2 years ago, and these days he is 100kg lighter and looks fab. It is hard work to keep him slim though. He lives out overnight and comes in for 6 hours per days (summer and winter) to a small netted soaked haynet. From March to October he is muzzled for the full 18 hours he is out. He gets no hard feed and no other treats at all. In the winter is he is blanket clipped and turned out with no rug. He hasn't been rugged at all for almost 2 years now and copes just fine in the wettest and coldest weather. I ride him everyday, and when I get the time at weekends I ride him twice a day. We do a mixture of hacking, schooling, jumping and take a weekly trip out in our lorry to somewhere fun. He needs to be worked for about an hour per day to keep the weight at bay.

We have excellent grazing and grass all year round. I am by far the odd one out in my management of him as all the other horses are rugged/fed/mainly stabled at night, but the yard are very supportive, especially when they can see how well he looks. I weight tape him every week and if I find that he has put on weight, I need to up his exercise and burn it off. He is a very big horse (16.1hh shire x tb) and has become very fit and is increasely well muscled through this exercise. It's amazing on how he does all this work on so little food, but is just a very good doer.

Good luck with Petes weight. Ignore all comments you may get about being 'cruel'. It is cruel to allow a horse to stay fat and risk the health conesquences. Now that everyone can see how fit and healthy Ben has become, no-one tells me that I am being cruel in my management of him anymore. The results are there for all to see.
 
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PePo

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From tonight, a full body shot ...
image_zpsd4a51da3.jpg


A bum view ...
image_zps0722bd17.jpg


And a neck shot ...
image_zps636d3acf.jpg


image_zps2cfdb803.jpg


Xx
 
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OwnedbyChanter

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I expected Pete to be a lot bigger than the picture show him. How big is he? As long as you keep using the same weigh tape it does not matter if it is not technically correct just don't swap and change with another, Most are around 50kg out or at least all the ones I tried are. But a weigh bridge is the best for a true answer.

You are doing everything right and once he is sound again and you can exercise him this will help get the weight off as well.
 

Rubic

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The one I have for Rubic is only out by about 10kg. I've had Rubic on the weighbridge 3 times and weight taped her around the same time. Weight tapes are good as a guide but if your friend said it was out by 40kg (for example) on her horse it doesn't mean it is out by 40kg for every horse. It will really depend on each horses' build. I too expected him to look bigger after you saying her was a 5. I'd have probably only put him at a 3.5, maybe 4 from the pictures but it is so much easier to do all that in real life than via pictures on the internet.
 

PePo

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Thanks everyone :) It's lovely to have such support & hear other peoples success stories!

ETA: he's about 14hh - possibly 14.1/2. I measured him when I first got him as a 5 year old & he was 13.3hh but think he might have grown a tad.

He isn't actually the fattest horse on the yard, worryingly - but he's definitely put on weight & he hasn't had the crests neck before. You can't actually feel his ribs, either.

I think the camera is being slightly kind to him, but he's definitely carrying more than he should be - so at least this is making me do something about his weight now, rather than just carry on thinking 'Oh, well - he's a bit bigger, but he'll be ok ....'

I couldn't feel a pulse in his left fore this morning & his right fore was much weaker - so it's all going in the right direction at least :)

He seems obliging about staying in his stable too & I think he's adjusting to reduced rations.

I'm going to try & source some oat straw this weekend too.

If he is pulse free at the weekend, I'll start taking him for a few short inhand walks & see how he goes.
 

Kite_Rider

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He's very lovely. As Rubic said weight tapes don't give an accurate measurement BUT they will give you a really good indication of which way the weight is heading, hopefully down but if you use it regularly you'll be able to spot an increase earlier and take action sooner as long as you use the same tape.
It is bloomin hard managing the good doers, Belle who's 14'2 was 510kg when I first got her, she's now finally down around the 410kg mark and the vet still thinks she could lose a tiny bit more but is very happy with where she is now, I've had to get used to all the comments about how 'thin' she is and how 'cruel' I am but I'd far rather put up with that than have a poorly horse.
For what it's worth we've had six horses on our yard come down with Lammi in the last few days, we can only assume that the weather has caused the grass to be very rich as none bar one have ever had it before.
At least you now can keep an eye on your handsome chap and it sounds like your doing everything you can, don't beat yourself up about what's past and look forward to a life of constant 'managing' and adapting, you'll get used to it. :D
 

PePo

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That's an amazing weight loss kite rider, you should be really proud.

I think Pete is definitely feeling better - he's been an absolute monkey, this weekend.

All the pulses seem to be gone, so I took him for a wander in-hand in the sand school on Saturday.

He still had no pulse this morning, so I lunged him quietly in walk & trot and he seemed fine. I was SO paranoid about his feet so I only wanted to walk, but Pete has other ideas & was so keen to trot.

I could feel pulses in his front after this, but they had gone by the time I left at lunch.

I was going to just walk him tonight in hand, but we had jogging, pulling, mini rears & bunny hopping so I put the linger line on him & ended up lunging again - mainly to give me some space! He did get very over excited and ended up offering canter - well, canter, buck, squeeeeel!

I'm keeping everything crossed that he had no pulses tomorrow - if he doesn't, I'll lunge him tomorrow & try hand grazing for a few minutes with his muzzle on, I think.
 

PePo

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Rather excitingly, Pete has lost 8 kgs on the weigh tape since Thursday.

I did try lightly lunging & he went back to being footsore, so I've not tried grass yet & I've got the vet coming today to have a look at him & discuss how we move forward from here.

He's still very much a cheeky chap though, despite being stabled 24/7 (his old owner's warned me he couldn't be stabled for more than a few hours a day - he's always done overnight stabling with me, just fine - but this is the first time he's had an extended period of stable rest) as this picture shows ...
 

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Rubic

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Just as a side note; exercise will raise their pulses slightly this doesn't necessarily mean anything is wrong.

Well done on the weight loss :D That's good going if he is in 24/7. I hope the vet can help you and Pete. Even low grade lami attacks can last for a week or two so, personally, I wouldn't be too worried that he is still a bit tender. I hope he is better soon.

It is good when they are still full of character when on box rest!
 

PePo

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I can't help but feel it would be nice if Pete had a little less character at times - we've been through two leadropes, had to replace feed bowls (throwing them around his stable is SUCH fun, don't ya know?!) & he generally can't be left for more than a millisecond without supervision ... But to be fair, he's much like that when normally!

The vet is really pleased with him - we caught it early, so there's no lasting damage. He's been given the ok to start gentle work & can start going out in the field on Saturday for short periods of time.

In the long run, essentially just more exercise & less food - but apparently, it may be a case of trial & error to see what works for him & what he can cope with.

All I all, I feel very lucky.

In not sure Pete thinks he is so lucky to be back in work though ...

image_zps346751a5.jpg
 

PePo

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Pete's been back in work & he's going super - he's definitely striding out like he was. If anything, he was rather too well today ...! :D

I've only been doing in-hand stuff but tomorrow, I'm going to take my saddle up & ride to see if he feels as good as he looks.

He's out in the field for 3 hours at the moment and we are increasing that day by day - I'm hoping by next week, he'll be able to do 4-5 hours, which will be much nicer.

I weigh taped him today and he's 432 kgs - so he's lost almost 30kgs.

It's so lovely to see him back out in the field - I took this quick snap on Monday night.
 

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Jessey

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This is a great topic for a diary, I wish I had found something like this when I felt pulses on jess at 7pm one dark night before the clocks changed!
Sounds like you are doing everything right, out of interest feed companies will come out for free with a weigh bridge, A&P also gave us vouchers, not that you need them but someone might appreciate them. Jess is 15.1 QH cross, she was 540 on the weigh tape and 602kg on the bridge :eek: But condition scored at 3.5 so wasn't as bad as it sounds and she's now shifted all the excess with lots of work, in fact for the first time I'm feeding her twice a day, on poor grass 24/7 and getting adlib hay and a little haylage.
I found that jess always has pulses on and off throughout the day, more after exercise, but they settle a couple of hours later, it scared the crap out of me but when you are monitoring something that closely you pick up on things you didn't before, my vet assured me it was normal :p
 

PePo

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I claim absolutely no knowledge Jessey! I've had to learn the hard way, regrettably for Pete, but am just so thankful the laminitis was caught early by people much more knowledgeable than myself & put me on the straight and narrow. I've made plenty of mistakes with him regarding management & weight & sadly, I'm sure I'll make a few more.

Today, I felt he was enough to have my first ride on him - having slowly increased the intensity of his workload, popped a few fences online & been out for an in-hand walk on the Forest.

He was a superstar (he's not always been a superstar, it's how I've ended up a a Parelli 'rope wiggler' instead of the Dressage Diva I had in mind! Pete had limited ridden settings: planting, shooting off with his neck set so I couldn't even turn him at a walk, broncing or lying down) - we've come a long way, in the last year & a half since learning to rope wiggle but Mum was especially worried about me riding today as I don't usually ride him when he's been stabled for so much of the day (it used to be suicide riding pre-turn out, let alone a sustains period of limited turn out).

I warmed him up this morning online doing some pole work to keep his mind occupied & decided to see what he made of the saddle - this alone used to set him off broncing - but he was pretty chilled, so despite some horses in the nearby field being very playful, I thought I'd just see if he'd give permission to let me on. It sounds very hippy-ish (& maybe it is!) but my instructor is a huge advocate of not riding horses like Pete, unless they give permission. If they don't, then more work is needed, either in the warm up or long term. I know it's not everyone's cup of tea - but it's helped keep us both so much safer & given me huge amounts of confidence to ride him again. Two years ago - I had written his for sale advert ...

I needn't have worried, he stood like a rock whilst I mounted, waited whilst I tested the neck yields (I ride in a rope halter, so this is essentially my emergency handbrake) & he was quite happy to amble around the school. He moved into trot very willingly (going up a gear, when I asked has in the past involved much protesting & getting dumped) & we managed a few serpentines and circles of trot in between going large.

I could have happily stayed up there SO much longer, but I didn't want to push for too much, as I was worried it might make his feet sore.

But, he felt better than he has in a looooong time - so I suspect he's had low grade laminitis rumbling on the past few months. It was so nice to be back on board :D

Sadly, with work and our new routine - exercising in the morning before work & turning out for a couple of hours in the late afternoon/early evening, means I can't ride in the week - as it's not fair to eat into his turn out time, until he can do a full morning or afternoon, so I won't be able to ride again until next weekend. But, I'm looking forward to next weekend :)
 
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My daughters pony has had his first bout of mild Lami, don't really know what has caused it, it may be that he has Cushings and Coronitis and he was wormed recently. I have always been really hot on her ponies grazing and weight management but alas wasn't quick enough this time. Luckily he's on the mend though and he is now turned out in a dirt paddock and on soaked hay and boy does he work hard at those puppy eyes!!! Hope all goes well with you and Pete and I suspect you are now very knowledgeable on Lami, as I have had to learn about Cushings and Corornitis by reading everything on the subjects.
 

PePo

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I thought I better update.

He's now out at night - well, has been for the last 3 nights - as his 'character' was becoming a little less funny & slightly more 'dangerous'. The final straw for my Mum was having to cart me off to A&E after being body slammed against a wall & double barrelled, which you can't really blame Pete for - I'd be fed up box rest after 5/6 weeks with restricted turnout, restricted feed & generally being fitter.

I spoke to my vet & he recommended trying night turn out, still muzzled.

So far, so good - Pete is so much more chilled & is now down to about 428kgs on the weigh tape. Still no sign off pulses & we went on our first hack today (he was too lively for me to safely try hacking whilst on box rest!) & bar a little cheekiness, he was foot perfect so lots to be pleased about :)

This is a photo of him tonight, he's still got some more to lose, but I'm happy with the way it's going all-in-all.

image_zpsf3915452.jpg
 
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