Newly Rescued Miniature Horse Very Ill

llamamama

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About a week ago, I brought home a young miniature horse. He's around one year old. He has not been castrated.

The previous owner said she found him listed as "Free to good home" on Craigslist and decided to take him in so he wouldn't wind up going somewhere horrible. She didn't know much about him other than he was weaned from his mother at 2 or 2.5 months old and ate hay and 2 cups of 12% sweet feed a day after that. He was 4 months old when she got him and she said he was pretty chubby. He was given his vaccinations and boosters (West Nile, Flu, Rabies, Tetanus, etc). She had him in a pasture with pasture forage mix. She rehomed him to me due to family circumstances.

When I got him, he seemed thin. His ribs were a bit boney and his spine was easily felt. He's on pasture with the same mix he had previously. A friend of mine has owned minis for years and recommended giving him Purina Enrich Plus to help him put on weight. He also laid down a lot and had trouble getting up on his own. Now, he's very thin and the slightest loss of balance causes his legs to just quit and he can't even attempt to get up. He lays flat on his side until I get him up. He's alright once I help him up and he goes back to grazing. His urine and stool are normal. He usually urinates after I get him up. His temperature has stayed steady around 99.5 F. I go outside often to check on him and help him up, even throughout the night. There are no farm vets around for 2+ hours but I know my local vet can do a fecal test for me which I am going to do tomorrow. From what I've read online, I'm thinking he has an ulcer and/or worms.

He's my first miniature horse and I'm at such a loss as to what is wrong with this poor little guy. I know he must have been having these troubles at his last home but I was not informed of them. I'm frantically trying to find a farm vet nearby that can come see him because I'm afraid to load him in the trailer and take him to the vet for fear of stressing him too much. I'm scared to death it's too late to save him.

I know an online forum is no replacement for veterinary care but I'm hoping someone with more experience could give some insight on what I can do to help him recover.
 

norseofcourse

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Have you checked the color of his gums? The way he's acting is similar to lambs I've had with anemia from parasites. Glad you're getting a fecal done, I hope it's not too late for him either. If the fecal shows a high worm load, ask the vet what's safest to worm with, since a lot of worms dying off may cause bleeding. If that vet doesn't know, call one of the farm vets, they may be willing to advise over the phone.

If it's not parasites, I'd have a vet out asap. Good luck.
 

llamamama

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Have you checked the color of his gums? The way he's acting is similar to lambs I've had with anemia from parasites. Glad you're getting a fecal done, I hope it's not too late for him either. If the fecal shows a high worm load, ask the vet what's safest to worm with, since a lot of worms dying off may cause bleeding. If that vet doesn't know, call one of the farm vets, they may be willing to advise over the phone.

If it's not parasites, I'd have a vet out asap. Good luck.
He was anemic when I brought him home and I treated with Red Cell. His gums and eyelids look a lot better.
 

Bunnylady

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I'm thinking parasites too - a mini on free choice pasture/hay should be butterball fat, not skinny, even if it's only decent rather than lush pasture. I know a couple of cups of grain doesn't sound like that much, but it really is all that a lot of people give them. If it is ulcers, grain is the worst thing you can give them anyway . . . . I can think of a parasite that could be responsible for the loss of coordination, too, but I'd prefer to think that one is kinda "out there" - you really don't want to deal with that.

Most people can get away with worming an adult horse every couple of months, or even less often than that - adults can actually build up resistance to parasites. Young horses seem to really need to be wormed regularly - like, once per month.

Worming a mini with a life-threatening parasite load is a tricky business - you can cause colic, even an impaction colic if too many worms die off at once. Something like Panacur (Fenbendazole) would probably be your first line of treatment. You might follow that up with an Ivermectin product in a few weeks, but DO NOT USE MOXIDECTIN (QUEST) - though I imagine your mini-owning friend has told you that.

I know of folks that swear by Red Cell when it comes to building up starved horses. I'm kinda fond of alfalfa cubes myself, but I also soak them - I am paranoid about getting enough water into a horse's digestive system:rolleyes: (I've heard that alfalfa is supposed to be easy on ulcers, too).

Good luck with your little guy, and welcome!:frow
 
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