Nancy asks questions about stallion's "puzzling" symptoms…

"lso", my 33-year-old stallion has many symptoms that are puzzling. I've had several vets out over the past six years who don't know how to advise me.

My horse has waxy dandruff on his body and especially on his legs, heavy dandruff in his tail which he rubs, no parasites, some sores with scabs on his body, a dull coat and some longer straight hair on his neck and sides of body that still hasn't shed out yet (most hair is out, however). He also goes for the short grass or weeds and roots and proceeds to eat dirt just after I take him outside. He is in a beautiful barn and workers say they turn him out in the arena daily 1 – 2 hours (no turnout outside unless we do it ourselves 2-3 times a week) so he gets very limited grass. I believe he may stand in his stall more than I'd like to think. As of last year his eyes started to cloud in the center, and his topline is going. He has arthritis in his back legs I think (or perhaps its more like laminitis) and stocks up often in the winter, drinks more than usual amount of water and has seemed depressed and lethargic.

Could most of these symptoms be due to a processed food diet with no extra minerals or salt? I was told by the feed company this was all "complete" feed and even hay wasn't necessary. He gingerly puts his back feet down when he walks. He also has a bit of a crest, but is not overweight and in order to keep his weight on he gets too much grain. A few vets have said he probably has allergies, heaves, and/or Cushings. I'm wondering if his adrenals are just worn out because of lack of turnout, and the last vet advised Drenamin (3per day) which I'm trying and has seemed to pep him up a bit, more vitamins and minerals, etc. Would it help to have him tested for insulin and cushings or assume he has them? If so, how accurate are the tests? Otherwise, I could skip the tests and assume he has all the above problems and treat with properly balanced nutrition from you but would truly like to know what you have included.

Currently, I feed Tribute Senior which doesn't agree with him and the 12 pounds (4 lbs. 3X day) was causing loose stool. Until I know what to him to I added 6 lbs. of beet pulp not knowing what else to do. He gets 10 lbs of grassy hay, but may not eat more than 3 because he has trouble chewing and no back teeth that touch. The barn feeds sweet feed which they were mixing about half and half before I recently switched. Eleanor Kellon, DVM, renowned Cushings specialist says to feed only hay cubes for Cushings horses as well as vitamins and minerals. Absolutely no oats. Says they can cause founder. I don't want to lose my horse.

To complicate matters, I have to move him in a month and am afraid all the change will put him over the edge. I don't know what to do about feeding grass either. Please help asap.

Thank you kindly, Nancy A.

Hello Nancy- great to hear from you!

There is no complete feed. Tests may tell you somethings but do nothing to fix..Beet pulp is  terrible and cubes won't fix anything alone. Regardless we have to get rid of the junk in the system, not put more back in and support the immune system. If anything will help what I suggest below will …nothing is 100 percent though but many many horses have done great…regardless of causes present, I suspect yours will benefit too. So…

Follow our Feeding program ( to the "t" and include our Joint Check and Aller Check supplements for additional support. Stop all other supplements and feed.  Cubes are "OK", but they too often have hydrogenated fats as binders etc. Regular hay is fine. Topically on the skin you can use our "ugly and smelly" Grape Balm product.

Hope this helps better and Thanks for asking!

Dr. Dan

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