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Old 01-26-2005, 11:17 AM  
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Grass Belly...What is it?

Ok... Same mare. Everyone that has seen her swears that she is bred. Took her to the vet and nope...no baby. Someone said that she has a "grass belly" What is this? How can I rid her of this? Her poop is fine, no scours, so don't think it's too much to worry about. Too much hay, not enough grain or feed? I feed her 12% and same for all my horses, but her tummy is really, really round. I hope it's not cancer or something. She has no other signs....maybe she's just fat and lazy.

Thanks to all!

Cin
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Old 01-26-2005, 12:34 PM  
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My mare looked like she had a 'hay belly' when I bought her.. Partly why I didn't trust the broker when he said that she 'might be pregnant' and 'may be due in three months.' Overall, she was under weight, her muscle tone wasn't very good around her neck, shoulders, along her spine, and her hooks and pins were pretty obvious.
I took photos to ask the people I worked with what they thought and 50% said, 'oh it's just a hay belly/worms,' the others said 'Aw, she could be pregnant.' Well, after worming every thirty days (I asked my vet first!), and slowly getting her on a good mare/foal diet. She began to get a much better look to her muscle tone and it became obvious that hay and worms weren't the main cause for her belly.
Mares with a hay/grass belly (and I suppose geldings, etc...) just have the unpleasant bloated appearance, like a wormy belly. This can be confusing if you're visually tring to guess if she's pregnant.
Pregnant bellies, I have found, are asymmetrical, meaning lopsidedly heavier on on side of the horse than the other. Babies shift around too, so the swollen belly may look different from day to day.
The determining VISUAL factor for my mare was around a month and a half before 'she might be due,' we saw obvious foal movements around her belly button, and flanks. Baby was kicking (and it looked rough, poor mom!)
If the vet says 'no baby'-there's probably no baby. Hard to make that mistake , especially if she's as far as you say.
To fix the hay belly thing, if she's a pasture mare, then bring her up where you can control her intake of feed and hay. Slowly put her on good feed, and feed only the amount of hay she needs. Some graze in fields because its there. This should allow her to trim up, and gain a better tone. This is probably better, anyway, if you're wanting to rebreed.
Just my two cents.
Catherine
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Old 01-26-2005, 12:37 PM  
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If the vet says 'no baby'-there's probably no baby. Hard to make that mistake , especially if she's as far as you say.
To fix the hay belly thing, if she's a pasture mare, then bring her up where you can control her intake of feed and hay. Slowly put her on good feed, and feed only the amount of hay she needs. Some graze in fields because its there. This should allow her to trim up, and gain a better tone. This is probably better, anyway, if you're wanting to rebreed.
Did I just confuse yours with someone esle's post about a possibly bred mare who isn't, If so I apologize...I assumed and you know what that means...

I would still recommend limiting hay to how much she actually needs. 12% sweet isn't causing it. Other than bloating, it isn't a major health risk.
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Old 01-26-2005, 01:14 PM  
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When I got my palomino qh mare, she looked the same way, only thing was she was literally wild when I got her (she was given to me by a friend) so I couldnt have a vet check done on her to see whether or not she was indeed in foal. Well we put her in a stall where we could handle her easiest and limited her hay/feed intake to ONLY what she needed as MuttDuck said. We also wormed her as well on a daily wormer. She started trimming up and was looking quite nice. She calmed down enough for me to start her under saddle too! Well you'll never guess what happened lol. Here roles around April and suddenly theres a foal on the ground! Poor gal, we were working her to death lol.

Today she still gets that hay belly look if we dont watch what she eats carefully and make sure that she gets enough exercise.

You have to be careful that your horse doesnt have worms. Sometimes its worms, other times its just a hay belly. Or a combination of both. I also use SafeGuard on my horses to worm them (rotated every 3months between Equimax and SafeGuard) and it shouldnt hurt her to go ahead an continue worming her with that monthly if you arent sure whether or not she has worms. Or if you want to see if she has worms, I know this sounds gross, but go out and pick up a few fresh pieces of manure (from her) and put them in a jar tightly closed. Then let it sit and see if you start seeing any critters in there. It will most likely take anywhere from a day to three days for you to be sure about it.

As for your horse being fat? Well to tell if your horse is truely fat, look on her neck, is the crest raise higher than it should, and feels a bit hard? Or press along her stomach (where her ribs are) you shouldnt be able to see her ribs, but if you press, you should be able to feel them, if you can, she's a bit overweight. Another thing to look for is to see how far down her "thighs" rub together. For the most part, they shouldnt go more that about a half inch or so. Look by her dock as well, it should be rounded with good muscle. It shouldnt "sink" in or feel soft. It shouldnt be excessively layer with fat (instead of muscle) either. Be careful with an overweight horse. Horses that are overweight have a higher chance of foundering and the horse's joints are actually having to carry MORE weight that needed or intended. So her joints are getting a work out too! lol

Brittany
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Old 01-27-2005, 01:30 PM  
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A "hay belly" or "grass belly" is caused when there is a lack of gut flora in the stomach, either due to lack of worming or lack of rotation of worming. Because of the lack of gut flora, the horse is not absorbing the nutrition it needs from its feed, so eats more, and the excess stretches the belly, causing that bloated shape you see. What she needs is a good worming, and some probiotic supplement added to her feed. (You can get it at any feed store.) Also, I have been told that NOT feeding grass hay will help-- just straight alfalfa-- but the person who told me that was not someone whose opinion I particularly respected, lol, so take it with a grain of salt

Lily
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Old 01-27-2005, 01:49 PM  
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Great ideas! Thanks...I usually worm them every 3 months, and yesterday she stopped and pooped right next to me...thanks Karmyn....but I looked and didn't seen anything moving and stuff. It's gross, but you gotta do what you gotta do. My husband said what are you doing? I guess us girls have a natural "mothering" instinct and looking in poop for stuff isn't sick sometimes...when you are looking for nasties for an illness.

We were at a Playday a few months ago, and a breeder said that her "milk vein" was swollen, and she was in foal.....but the vet said no, just fat. Well, all that access weight can't be good on her hoofs and legs, like ya'll said. We have had her for about 9 months, and I know that she hasn't been exposed since then, so maybe one day soon I will say "we have a baby" but I doubt it. She was on a 100 acre ranch with beautiful registered paint studs, but who's not to say that she backed up to the fence? The seller said that she was not in foal....but sometimes they sneak! GOOBERS!

Thanks for all the advice. Ya'll are sooo smart and helpful. I will call the vet and see how much and etc. about worming. I love Karmyn, even though she's a meanie sometimes! She lets me pet her head now! Without any fight! YEAH-
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Old 01-27-2005, 06:11 PM  
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grass belly

Hey, Do you ever check the manure after worming? I do the next morning. Grose but the worms will be passed out after the wormer does it's thing. I always worm in the evening and stall the horses up for the night and then the dirty deed come morning. I have become a terrific poop inspector. HEEHEE! Pick the stuff up and pull it apart in your hands and you will see what passed thru. Sometimes too the horse may just have a big barrell. Can't fix that one. Good luck with the feed thing tho. Stormy
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Old 01-27-2005, 06:37 PM  
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Anyone heard this?
I was told that if you are bringing a new horse in, and it needs to be wormed, not to introduce it into a 'group' area until 48 hours after the worming to be safe. So, does that mean they could still be shedding parasites that long after?

Personally in FL, we rarely get killing frosts, so yucky parasites, inside and out, tend to run wild. We worm every 4-6 weeks and never longer than 8. I use three types to rotate between, because of the ridiculous resistance they have:
Equimax (ivermectin/praziquantel) (this one does tapeworms,too)
Strongid Paste (Pyrantel Pamoate)
Panacur Paste (fenbendazole)
This is what our vets are recommending for our warm climate.

(I know I'm gonna get razzed for for that Just remember, hurricanes are no fun at all! - Would you believe I actually was sweating today?!?!? Just once I wish I could shovel some 'partly cloudy' off my driveway, make a snowman, catch snowflakes on my tongue, make snowangels...I haven't seen snow in 22 years )
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Old 01-28-2005, 07:43 AM  
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My trainer was always teasing me about my horse being pregnant (he's a gelding). It's just the way he was shaped. He had this huge belly hanging down, but when you took the saddle off, you could plainly see all his ribs. He hust needed lots and lots of exercise-in correct frame. To pull the hind legs up under himself made him tighten his belly. Kinda like crunches for us!

I have another gelding who has a big belly. Same thing - he's very short backed, so there's no place for guts to go but down! He looks good when he's in condition, but he always has a large, round belly as opposed to the "slab sides" on most horses. It makes for a nice divit at the girth for your leg when riding him! He's extremely hard to keep conditioned, he gets absolutely no grain, only hay and in summer only pasture and we have to shut him off of it quite a bit. Little pig.

Then I have a pony mare who's just fat. She's been bred 3 or 4 times, but she never took. One year we thought she was actually pregnant. He belly was quite deceiving. She had that milk vein, dropped belly appearance too, but she never had no baby!

Then we have a broodmare who IS pregnant and has had 3 foals, but she doesn't look pregnant. She aborted twice on us, but this is her year to "take" but she still doesn't look pregnant. I tried someone's advice from this forum (can't remember who) and used the weight tape on girth and her flank. She is definately heavier in the flank, so let's hope that theory is correct!

So you just can't tell about equine pregnancy by eye!

Cindy
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Old 01-28-2005, 07:54 AM  
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Mares are all different. Some will show within a few months of breeding (they'll look el prego hehe) while others wont show for a long time. In my paint mare's case, she began to get a big belly at 5months in foal. Now she looks as if she is ready to pop! Thank goodness she is due in March lol.

When is your mare due?

Brittany
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Old 01-28-2005, 08:31 AM  
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In May.

So are our 2 other broodmares (April/May) and they are huge!!!!!


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Old 01-28-2005, 08:32 AM  
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In May.

So are our 2 other broodmares (April/May) and they are huge!!!!!


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Old 01-29-2005, 07:00 PM  
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grass belly

Yes Muttduck, Your horse can still pass thru worms after worming up to 48 hours after worming. Stormy
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Old 01-29-2005, 07:05 PM  
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I was pretty sure that the person who told me this was right on the money, she was an equine vet assistant for thirteen years. She's the one who made the calls not to stitch when I thought we should have. Very BRILLIANT person who I've learned a lot from, just working with her for a year!
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