Tips for Maintaining Senior Horses’ Weight

Learn how to alter senior horses’ diets to maximize health and longevity in the face of common health issues.

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Tips for Maintaining Senior Horses
For thin older horses still in light activity, simply supply more energy. This can be achieved by feeding a good-quality forage (e.g., alfalfa) together with a senior feed additive that contains both fat and fiber. | Photo: iStock

Senior horses comprise a unique portion of the equine population, often harboring special dental and dietary needs. So, they sometimes need more help maintaining their weight than they did during their younger years. Fortunately, there are steps that can help older equids stay at a proper weight through their golden years.

During the 2015 American Association of Equine Practitioners Convention, held Dec. 5-9 in Las Vegas, Mary Beth Gordon, PhD, director of equine research and new product development at Purina Animal Nutrition, shared how veterinarians, equine nutritionists, and owners can alter senior horse diets to maximize health and longevity, especially in the face of ailments common for this demographic.

Gordon spent a significant portion of her talk on weight loss. She noted that some older horses lose weight when offered poor- to moderate-quality hay

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Written by:

Stacey Oke, MSc, DVM, is a practicing veterinarian and freelance medical writer and editor. She is interested in both large and small animals, as well as complementary and alternative medicine. Since 2005, she’s worked as a research consultant for nutritional supplement companies, assisted physicians and veterinarians in publishing research articles and textbooks, and written for a number of educational magazines and websites.

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