Live just outside Paris... my lovely-but-naughty horse has been losing weight (but otherwise has been OK), and a months' worth of vets visits and blood tests later, the only glimmer of a clue is a "touch" of leptospirosis (apparently not enough to explain the weight loss and not alarming enough to separate him from his field mates) plus a question mark over fasciola hepatica.
Liver enzymes are borderline and he has just had a liver-boosting treatment plus a load of nice vitamins. He has also had a teensy bit of mud fever but this has already cleared up (he had a course of antibiotics for this plus daily treatments locally).
He is 16. Anyone had unexplained weight loss this winter (or previous winters, for that matter), with similar lack of conclusive blood test results?
Thanks for any ideas you may have! (He is precious to me)
Oh, I should also say that he windsucks, usually just a bit, but now is going nineteen to the dozen, probably not helped by his drastically reduced workload while we figure out what's wrong and how to fix it...
Lots of windsucking = loss of condition ime. Otherwise, keep him warm (is he in at night, is he rugged, how thick are the rugs etc?) and give him plenty of forage. Have his teeth been checked recently? 16 isn't particularly old, but some horses do age more quickly than others.
Thanks. Dentist comes yearly, last visit was Friday actually -- brought him forward to eliminate teeth as cause (which incidentally the vet had already done to the best of his abilities after a cursory check).
He has ad lib hay in field, brought in every evening and ad lib hay through the night. Hard feed wise, twice a day he has two litres each of build-up, safe & sound and standard mixed feed (nuts), also blue chip supplement.
He is lightly clipped and is rugged nice and warm both in stable and field.
The windsucking increased after all this started because I reduced his work (don't want to ride him as his shape has changed...)
In the meantime the vet called again to say that fasciola (worm, not found in his droppings but found some sign of it in his serum) might be to blame for all this weight loss... can that be? I have worked out he must have caught the buggers more than three years ago (because his pasture where he is does not have any pond/boggy areas). So why do they wait all these years to cause a problem???
I also wonder about ulcers... the vet says he may want to scope him next if he doesn't respond very soon.
I was going to say ulcer! The two go hand in hand.
Is his poo smelly, ie smells different and more unpleasant than normal horse muck? Because the horse on our yard who had ulcers had smelly muck. He was a nightmare to keep weight on too.
I had a lepto scare when I first moved to France. Horse losing weight despite feeding, no worms, bloods normal apart from suspected lepto. I was pregnant at the time so it was quite a worry. We sent his bloods off for special tests and tested all the other animals. All the others came back with varying results, some higher values than the suspected horse but no other symptoms so they were dismissed by the vet...which didn't make mush sense to me! I spoke to a specialist vet who said lepto is in the environment so when you look you find it but that it is not clinically significant unless there are other, severe, symptoms.
I would ignore the lepto results and concentrate on the worms. When all that clears up try good quality hay or haylage if you can find it ad lib and pink powder. That seems to work for mine.
Thanks everyone. He has stopped dropping weight and is being wormed as for liver flukes (douve) even though his results are just borderline. Lepto is being ignored though he also showed borderline positive for just one of the values they look at.
I am hoping he will soon pick up! Vet still doing liver boosting stuff and in the meantime has got the results from one last analysis to see if there may be ulcers, and that seems negative too (but only a scope can show us for sure, and that will be done in the next 15 days if there is not a significant improvement).
Thanks for your experiences and pointers, much appreciated.
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