About a week ago, they saw me feeding my horses as they drove by my house so they pulled in to say good morning. Loretta was having an off morning, and I was talking to gramma about Loretta's issues (this is not new news to gramma, she has been observing this right along with me since the beginning.) The kiddos were listening from the back of the car.
A few days later Ranch Boy's mom handed me this piece of paper. Little niece had drawn Loretta's stomach!
Can you see the stomach and front and hind leg?
In the stomach she drew apples, oats, water, carrots, hay......she said she was doing her "research." I thought this was so adorable!
Above is a photo of my own personal "Smart Pak" factory. I measure out at least a week's worth of Loretta's powders and potions into small Ziploc bags so that I can just dump it into the pellet and beet pulp mash when I feed.
Some of you have asked what diet Loretta is on. I have her on a big mash twice a day (a.m. and p.m.) and alfalfa pellets two other times during the day. I am currently trying to wean her off the hay completely and just have her on alfalfa pellets to see if the hay could be contributing to her issue. I think it will feel very weird not to feed your horse hay.) Loretta has a little to nibble on in her pasture but not as much as I would like considering she will not be on hay. I am hoping to bring her out to hand graze but honestly while she is having her "episodes" I can't even get her haltered, she is in such distress/pain. So bringing her out is impossible.
Our latest thoughts are that she has ulcers in her colon. This is a completely different scenario then ulcers in her stomach. Brown Eyed Cowgirls is going to do a great post on colonic ulcers soon, but in a nutshell her is a bit of information for you which I found here:
Colonic Ulcers in Horses
"Gastric ulcers have been in the spotlight in recent years, thanks to well-known treatment and extensive research in this area. As a result, many people associate equine digestive health with stomach health. But truly understanding the horse’s digestive system means understanding the significance of the hindgut.
This attention to gastric ulceration (i.e. of the stomach) is ironic, if not downright detrimental. The stomach represents less than 10% of the total volume of the digestive tract. On the other hand, the hindgut (consisting of the cecum and colon) is huge and vital to the horse’s digestive process and overall health. Most importantly, it is the home of a huge bacterial environment that converts fiber to energy; the horse is known as a “hindgut fermenter,” meaning it obtains most of its energy by fermenting forage in its colon.
Because the hindgut plays such a critical role in digestion and health, it may also be the source of so many of the problems we are seeing."
You can click on the link to find out more. I also enjoyed this article which reminded me a bit of what Loretta is on.
Here is what she is getting:
- beet pulp shreds (I am doing about a half 2 lb coffee can or so each feeding.) A great, vegetative source of sugar-free roughage and fiber!
- Pure alfalfa pellets (by pound, I am working her up to the full equivalent to hay.)
- 1/4 cup oat flour (got in the health food section at Fred Meyer.)
- 4 oz (1/4 cup) Aloe Vera juice (bought by the gallon at the GNC health food store.) Someone recommended this to me for treating ulcers, I've heard in humans it has been used to treat ulcers and cancers.
- 1/2 cup ground Flax seed (also got at the GNC health food store.) Good source of Omega Fatty acids.
- Probiotics~ gut flora is especially important in the hindgut!
- orchard grass hay (small amount, going to take her off this completely at some point just to see what happens, as I have eliminated everything except the hay!)
I soak the beet pulp shreds and pellets first in warm water, then drain if there is too much water. Then I mix in the powders and aloe vera juice, stir well, and serve immediately. I do this morning and night along with a light flake of grass hay, and then just dry pellets mid-day and sometimes again at dark.
Loretta had a great Easter Sunday! She seemed to be feeling a little better and after around 4 days of off and on tummy troubles, she seemed fairly normal. I actually scratched her chest and neck a bit (I was too afraid to touch her behind the whithers, she has NOT wanted to be touched back there.) I have a few more weeks to see how this diet is helping her before conferring with her previous owner again. Keep your fingers crossed!