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DrMelJ, Horse Veterinarian
Category: Horse Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 825
Experience:  experience in racetrack medicine and general practice; owned and ridden horses throughout life.
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I have a 25 year old paso gelding who is losing weight

Customer Question

I have a 25 year old peruvian paso gelding who is losing weight despite eating constantly. He lives with a mustang mare.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Horse Veterinary
Expert:  DrMelJ replied 1 year ago.

Hi there. Thanks for the question. Let me see if I can help. Was the "dentist" a vet? Sometimes horse dentists are not actually vets and miss a lot of things. I have seen many teeth after a dentist does them and have seen a lot of issues missed...they just don't have the same training as a vet. Not to say this is the case for you...but just suggesting that a second opinion on the teeth might be worthwhile. If the teeth are truly ruled out, then here are some other considerations:

- Cushings- this is definitely still a possibility even without the hair coat changes. Not every horse gets the same clinical signs. There is a simple blood test called ACTH measurement that is very good at picking up even mild Cushings. I'd suggest having it done as well as a general blood panel to look for odd ball things like liver or kidney issues.

- Poor bowel absorption- many older horses just become very feed inefficient as they age. The bowels don't absorb nutrients as well as they used to. Sometimes despite having good teeth, an older horse needs a special diet with high calorie content. Rice bran pellets are a favorite of mine to use for my patients. It's high in fat and good quality protein and you only need to feed a pound or so per day in addition to the other food they are getting. You can also try switching to alfalfa hay if you are currently on grass hay.

- cancer- although more rare in horses then in dogs and cats...older horses do get cancer sometimes. If he is a grey then abdominal melanoma might be a possibility. Lymphoma is another one. These are very hard to diagnose. Essentially just a diagnosis of ruling out all other possibilities and then you just feed them as many calories as it takes to overcome the wasting that happens with cancer and keep them happy as long as possible.

I hope this helps. And gives you some ideas to work with. Best of luck.

Expert:  DrMelJ replied 1 year ago.
I'm just following up on our conversation about your pet. How is everything going?

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