Should i be worried?

Nov 11, 2018
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#1
My old boy, Ramsey, is 30. He's a New Forest, was my first pony and I've had him for 26 years. I keep thinking he's failing badly, then he perks up and just keeps on trucking. However, this last year he's just not put weight back on after last winter - he's cushings too, and his teeth are poor. He can't eat hay, but manages grass no problem. He gets 2 large mushy feeds a day, chaff, 16+ and build up cubes ( maximum amount for his weight). The vet told me if he ate, drank, pooped and peed, could get up and down, I shouldn't worry. He's also got a stifle problem. He comes in with great enthusiasm for his feeds and polishes them off, chased by a good big drink. Just recently though, his poos are really small amounts, and very fibrous. He's a typical old pony - but I'm worried I'm letting him go on just because he can. The vets out to us beginning of Feb for vaccs etc but can anyone who's gone / going through nursing an old friend in the twilight time share their experience/opinions etc. I'm getting weepy just writing this, but I know I have to face it some day, just not yet I hope. Thanks.
 

Jessey

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Dec 20, 2004
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#2
My old cob Phoenix was in a similar way in his latter years, he was mid 30's, was rescued before I got him after serious abuse so had some mental scars and a few physical ones, cushings and a bad gut (worm damage from his previous life). I spent probably 2 years doing the maybe its time talk with myself, I had the vet out 3 times thinking that was it but the vet convinced me it wasn't the time.

In his last 6 months he was up to having 5 buckets a day as it was winter and the grass was gone and he just couldn't manage hay/haylage etc. Phoenix never had lami thankfully so I was able to use grains to maintain his weight, barley rings made a hell of a difference and he loved them, he also had grass nuts, chaff, baileys number 4, sugar beet, and a senior feed, plus blended up carrots, apples and parsnips (not spoiled much ;)) He had 2 hard feeds (all soaked) a day and 3 buckets of grass/hay replacer (also soaked).

I'd talk to a nutritionist, the max amount for size I would expect is based on an assumption that they also get long forage, which as he is not getting much may mean he can afford to have more. Soaked grass nuts are a really good option, just to directly replace what he can't get this time of year.

Having said all of that, I am not sure I would do again what I did with Phoenix, he ended up living in my (very large) back garden in the end so it was easy to feed him that often, if he was on livery or in a shared field I would have struggled to be able to feed as often/much as his huge buckets he would pick at for the few hours between feedings. It was neurological problems from the cushings that got him in the end.
 
Nov 11, 2018
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#3
So similar to what's happening with me. Thanks for sharing. I think I'll add the grass cubes, soaked, and just keep alert. I wondered about the neurological effects - he's banging into things a bit, and I don't think it's his sight. Every day I go up with my breath held until I see him tottering up the field! Thanks again.
 
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Jessey

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#4
So similar to what's happening with me. Thanks for sharing. I think I'll add the grass cubes, soaked, and just keep alert. I wondered about the neurological effects - he's banging into things a bit, and I don't think it's his sight. Every day I go up with my breath held until I see him tottering up the field! Thanks again.
The neuro stuff with Phoenix was dramatic and overnight, he went from a bit doddery but just old to not being able to balance well enough to stand still, he was staggering to his breakfast bucket, grabbing a quick mouthful on his way past and doing a circle while he chewed before coming in for another mouthful, he literally couldn't stand still. He was thankfully not perturbed by it and was quite happy in his little world, but that was the day I said goodbye.
 
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#5
The neuro stuff with Phoenix was dramatic and overnight, he went from a bit doddery but just old to not being able to balance well enough to stand still, he was staggering to his breakfast bucket, grabbing a quick mouthful on his way past and doing a circle while he chewed before coming in for another mouthful, he literally couldn't stand still. He was thankfully not perturbed by it and was quite happy in his little world, but that was the day I said goodbye.
This is where hearing other people's experiences is so useful. From what you've said, Ramsey hasn't declined to the degree that poor Phoenix did, and I feel better about letting him soldier on. I bought the grass pellets today, he had them last winter, and wolfed his food down! Looked at some old photos today of his showing career - it's too easy to forget how beautiful he was, back in the day! Still beautiful in a grumpy old codgery way (to me at least!)
 
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Nov 11, 2018
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#7
Oh god, I feel your pain. Old horse. We are going down this route too. Thank you for sharing. Xx
I know - we take this on when we take our dogs, cats, horses etc on but every single time we forget the horrible decision will come one day. Hopefully yours and mine will choose their time and we have just that little bit longer with them. Feel for us all. Thanks for the empathy x
 

Jessey

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#9
Bless him, he really has got that old man look now :)

Phoenix I only had for maybe 5 years, he was an old man when I got him and I don't have many digital pictures of him, I can't find any really hairy ones or from after he moved to the house. He suffered badly with his tummy from the worm damage so poo down his back legs was a constant problem and he also got lice at the drop of a hat in the end so I started clipping and rugging him more and it actually seemed to suit him better, he was happier and chunked up :)
poniessummer2006063.JPG poniessummer2006066.JPG sept06006.JPG ponies011.JPG Picture067.JPG
 
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#10
Phoenix hit the jackpot coming to you then - what a lovely boy! Someone shoot me now - farrier out today and Ramsey has an abscess! Aargh.
 
#11
I agree with your vet - on the yard where Scully is there was a 37 yr old pony (Merens native sort) - she had NO teeth but was still active and took herself up and down the hill at meal times for a big trug of mash - otherwise she was out in the fields with her mates. They lost her last year together with one of her mates :confused: fiore.jpg
 
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#13
I agree with your vet - on the yard where Scully is there was a 37 yr old pony (Merens native sort) - she had NO teeth but was still active and took herself up and down the hill at meal times for a big trug of mash - otherwise she was out in the fields with her mates. They lost her last year together with one of her mates :confused: View attachment 96306
I know I should take ALL advice, but really I just want to hear stuff like that! For now he can enjoy trundling round his field and having his buckets and if the time comes then the time comes. Thanks!
 
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diplomaticandtactful

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Apr 25, 2003
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#15
I have a 30 year old donkey who came out of last winter badly and I thought we would have to part company autumn 2018 but she is still going strong. She is on a Lite balance, Cush Care (she doesn't have cushings but she likes the cubes and they are low cal), beet and fast fibre if she wants it but she prefers crunch. She has ad lib grass or haylage. This is her in October, she was very bony, ribby but over the summer she has built up again and she did a lot of walking up hills and having a play. Buddy my 24 year old is still in work, 4-6 days a week. That's him in October 2018. He can still hack out for up to 2 hours but we are careful what we do with him. I dread his decline but so far for a big 16hh heavy he is doing well. I lost my coloured cobs age 26, Molly twisted gut, Rose after a long slow decline with cushings, finished off by foundering. Your boy looks good for 30, yes he looks old but so long as he can eat and is cheerful then keep plugging on.
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#16
Wow! Buddy looks great for 24- what a looker! Your donkey looks better at 30 than poor Ramsey, but the cushings does beat them up some - horrible disease. Thanks for encouraging words!
 

horseandgoatmom

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Dec 3, 2014
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#17
I had. Max til he was 24.
He had cushing's for a few years
He was carrying on pretty well til
He got a bad bout of laminitis.
There was no good end in sight.
They wanted to do a hoof resection
A year an a stall for a horse that had an in and out all his life..I got him at 2.
He would have been miserable and not survived that.
And the lami would not have been a
One and done.
Had he not foundered so bad I would have
Kept him going til he told me.
( But he sort of did)
 
Nov 11, 2018
47
16
8
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#18
I had. Max til he was 24.
He had cushing's for a few years
He was carrying on pretty well til
He got a bad bout of laminitis.
There was no good end in sight.
They wanted to do a hoof resection
A year an a stall for a horse that had an in and out all his life..I got him at 2.
He would have been miserable and not survived that.
And the lami would not have been a
One and done.
Had he not foundered so bad I would have
Kept him going til he told me.
( But he sort of did)
Oh that's so sad, but even so, I need to hear this as well - thank you. That's what I am watching for, that time when there's no joy for him. He goes downhill, and I think this is it, and the little beggar perks up the next day. 2 years ago he got a terrible infection (Thanks, Cushings), course of abx injections, vet shook her head and told me to prepare myself. Went up the next morning and there he is right as rain, not a care in the world. I hope I can be as brave as you and make the right decision at the right time. X
 

diplomaticandtactful

Well-Known Member
Apr 25, 2003
10,424
193
63
#19
I had. Max til he was 24.
He had cushing's for a few years
He was carrying on pretty well til
He got a bad bout of laminitis.
There was no good end in sight.
They wanted to do a hoof resection
A year an a stall for a horse that had an in and out all his life..I got him at 2.
He would have been miserable and not survived that.
And the lami would not have been a
One and done.
Had he not foundered so bad I would have
Kept him going til he told me.
( But he sort of did)
 

diplomaticandtactful

Well-Known Member
Apr 25, 2003
10,424
193
63
#20
I had. Max til he was 24.
He had cushing's for a few years
He was carrying on pretty well til
He got a bad bout of laminitis.
There was no good end in sight.
They wanted to do a hoof resection
A year an a stall for a horse that had an in and out all his life..I got him at 2.
He would have been miserable and not survived that.
And the lami would not have been a
One and done.
Had he not foundered so bad I would have
Kept him going til he told me.
( But he sort of did)
that 's what happened with Rose, she had cushings, she kept getting laminitis despite being very lean. In the end she couldn't walk on stones or concrete so we made her a fenced off area with field shelter and she lived out, bought her six months. she got a foot abscess and we struck blood so the bone was just about through the sole. she wouldn't do box rest and it was unethical at her age to do a hoof resection and six months in box and dressings and no real future as the cushings would get her in the end. But she got her summer which is what I wanted for her.