Decreasing Body Condition Score:
Equine Diet for weight loss:
- Cut calories but maintain a balanced diet and meet protein, vitamin and mineral requirements.
- Transition over to a feed that is low in calories aimed for weight loss such as Purina Wellsolve W/C, or to a ration balancer such as Purina Enrich Plus to meet requirements with low calories, sugars, and starches.
- Feed hay at 1.5% body weight with dry lot turnout or limited time on pasture with grazing muzzle.
- If your horse does not have a concurrent medical condition such as laminitis, exercise can help reduce BCS. Slowly increase the amount of exercise based on the horse’s fitness level.
Increasing Body Condition Score:
Medical reasons for poor BCS:
- Have a fecal egg count performed and discuss your deworming program with HEHC. A high worm burden could be robbing your horse of proper nutrition.
- When is the last time your horse had a dental float performed by a veterinarian? Poor dentition can cause oral ulcers, pain, and weight loss. Without proper sedation and an oral speculum the back of the mouth is often left unaddressed by lay ‘dentists’.
- A medical condition can cause poor BCS and the root cause must be addressed. Some of these conditions include Cushings Disease (PPID), gastric ulcers (EGUS), or neoplasia. If your horse is receiving adequate nutrition schedule a wellness exam with HEHC to rule out a medical condition.
Equine Diet for Weight Gain:
- Most older horses have a hard time breaking down and using large particle size fiber (such as hay) and should be switched over to soaked hay cubes or a complete senior feed such as Purina, Nutrena, or Buckeye Equine Senior.
- Increasing the amount of fat in a diet is a safe way to add calories for a thin horse that has previously foundered or has Cushings disease. The most common fat supplementation is vegetable oil or rice bran pellets.
- Make sure the horse is getting enough forage in the diet. A thin horse should have at least 2% of its body weight in forage so make sure you are giving adequate hay ration.
*Keep in mind that changing a horse’s body condition score is a slow and sometimes frustrating endeavor. Each score represents about 50 pounds of gain or loss, on average it take s 2 weeks or more to see a clinical difference in a horse’s body condition after changes to the diet or routine have been changed. So keep in mind you have to feed a minimum of one full bag of feed before you will actually notice an increase. Be patient and stick with the guidelines and give us a call or drop us an email if you have any questions or concerns.