Weight problem

We board a 23year old Appoalosa gelding for a lady. He is very much underweight. She got him for free from a kill farm. He weighs about 800lbs. We have him on a pelleted senior horse feed. Plus he gets plenty of good alfalfa/grass mix hay. I just wormed him on the 26th of April.We board a 23year old Appoalosa gelding for a lady. He is very much underweight. She got him for free from a kill farm. He weighs about 800lbs. We have him on a pelleted senior horse feed. Plus he gets plenty of good alfalfa/grass mix hay. I just wormed him on the 26th of April.

Story originally posted by: Michael Lowder, DVM, MS

Dr. Lowder,

We board a 23year old Appoalosa gelding for a lady. He is very much underweight. She got him for free from a kill farm. He weighs about 800lbs. We have him on a pelleted senior horse feed. Plus he gets plenty of good alfalfa/grass mix hay. I just wormed him on the 26th of April.

What can you suggest we might try to do to get him to gain weight. I had his teeth floated a couple of months ago and then rechecked the begining of this month. They are good for a horse his age. I had someone tell me to worm him every month. Would that make any difference or just cost more money for nothing? Any suggestion you could give would be greatly appriceated. Thank you very much for your time and concederation.

Sincerely
Jennifer L Andrew

Dear Jennifer,

Deworming every month or placing him on a daily dewormer can be helpful if he is constantly being inoculated with new parasites. This being said, if all horses in the stable are on a regular deworming schedule, I cannot see the benefit of placing one horse on a monthly. Consecutive fecal egg counts will let you know if the horse’s parasite load is not being effectively addressed by your deworming program.

You mention that he is very much underweight and was purchased from a kill farm. I understand the urge to "fill him out" quickly, but a slower gain is better for the horse’s well-being. If he appears not to be gaining weight (even with the deworming, teeth floating and increase in feed), then a visit from the veterinarian is in order to rule out abnormal physical/medical conditions.

Thank you,
Dr. Lowder