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Equine Refeeding and Starvation

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The basics of refeeding the starving horse with an overview of metabolism challenges and feed recommendations. For more information please visit me at melnewton.com "The running, riding, writing veterinarian".

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Equine Refeeding and Starvation

  1. 1. Feeding Starving Horses Why it’s not as simple as you think Melinda N. Faubel June 2014
  2. 2. Do Feed… D. 1-3: 6 lbs in 6 evenly spaced feedings D. 4-10: Gradually by day 6 feeding 13 lbs q 8 hours D. 10: Feed alfalfa ad lib 2x daily. *Average flake = 6 pounds Alfalfa
  3. 3. Do NOT feed… Grain Treats like carrots, apples Supplements Oil or other fats Oat hay Carbohydrates
  4. 4. Why not carbs? High carb meal
  5. 5. Why not carbs? Insulin release High carb meal
  6. 6. 6 Why not carbs? Insulin release (this is a cell) P Mg High carb meal Serum PGlu
  7. 7. 6 Why not carbs? Insulin release (this is a cell) P Mg High carb meal Serum PGlu
  8. 8. 6 Why not carbs? Insulin release (this is a cell) P Mg High carb meal Serum PGlu ADH, Aldosterone
  9. 9. 6 Why not carbs? Insulin release (this is a cell) P Mg High carb meal Respiratory, kidney, respiratory failure Serum PGlu Acute volume expansion ADH, Aldosterone
  10. 10. 6 Why not carbs? Insulin release (this is a cell) P Mg High carb meal Respiratory, kidney, heart failure Serum “Refeeding Syndrome” PGlu Acute volume expansion ADH, Aldosterone Depletion of K, thiamine
  11. 11. Clinical Manifestations Increased VCO2 respiratory failure Temporary paralysis Circulatory collapse
  12. 12. Healthy but thin = not safe Study: emaciated but healthy horses re- fed. decreased serum Ca, Mg, P One horse died, showing neurologic signs on 6th day of refeeding
  13. 13. Why not oat hay? Bulky, diarrhea Low in magnesium, phosphorus and other “essential nutrients”
  14. 14. What about oil? Adds calories, which decreases the amount of alfalfa Does not contain elytes Result: will see cumulative decrease in elytes
  15. 15. Alfalfa - The right stuff Low carb High elyte content
  16. 16. Other Options Parenteral nutrition? Enteral nutrition if GI is working Data in other species Little is known about the horse
  17. 17. Prognosis & Progress Loss of >50% of body weight is an extremely poor prognosis Energy changes: ~2 weeks Some weight gain: 1 month Significant weight gain: 3-5 months
  18. 18. References AAEP UC Davis (CEH) Dunkel, B. and Wilkins, P. “Nutrition and the critically ill horse”. Vet Clin Equine. 20. 2004. 107-126.

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