Feeding a Senior Hinny

I have a 30-year-old hinny who is very skinny and is losing weight. Is there anything that I could give him to make him more comfortable, help him gain weight, and not cause him harm?
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Feeding a Senior Hinny
The basis of an underweight hinny’s diet should be hay or grazing if his teeth can manage it. | Photo: iStock

Q: I have rescued a 30-year-old hinny (offspring of a male horse and a female donkey) gelding. We had some of his teeth floated, but more has to be done in a month because they were so bad. He is also very skinny. We’ve been giving him soaked hay pellets, but he continues to lose weight. I don’t know how much I can feed him compared to a horse. I have iron, vitamin C, and joint supplements; Bute (phenylbutazone); senior feed; and beet pulp available at my farm. Hay is either alfalfa or Bermuda blend and rye and oat hay. I can also get red or rice bran if needed. Is there anything beyond that I could give him that would make him more comfortable, help him gain weight, and not cause him harm? Outside of the weight loss and bad teeth, he still has plenty of spirit left.—Cougar Martin, Tucson, Arizona

A: Thank you for your inquiry about your 30-year-old hinny—he sounds very lucky to have found you!

Checking his teeth and asking a veterinarian to assess any other health issues is the first priority to ensure that his poor condition is not due to any underlying disease. All equids need regular dental care and, if this has been neglected, elderly animals may suffer from dental disease, which can make chewing long fibers of hay difficult and painful

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