I have a horse that had a previous Body Condition Score (BCS) of 5. I have had the equine dentist out to examine him and perform a routine checkup. I also had the veterinarian take a blood sample, which everything was within normal limits. However, my horse does not bit well and still drops his food while eating. His BCS now is at 4. What can I do to improve this? Leonardo
Was your horse dropping food and not bitting well when he had the ideal body condition score (BCS) of 5? Or are these new problems that occurred simultaneously with his weight loss? If so, then I would get a second opinion on the health of his mouth, because the first dentist might have missed something. Dropping food while eating is not normal and tells me there could still be an issue with his teeth or oral cavity. A physical examination by a veterinarian and bloodwork was a good idea. Did you happen to discuss parasites or have fecal tests performed also? They can be a reason for weight loss too.
Of course, you want to make sure that your horse is receiving at least 50% of his diet (1% of his body weight) in good-quality forage and the rest of his required vitamins, minerals, protein from either the full amount of fortified grain as recommended on the bag, a ration balancer, or a multi-vitamin/mineral supplement. In your horse’s case, as long as he doesn’t have any metabolic issues, I would probably stick to grain since it will provide calories that these other products don’t.
Alfalfa hay, beet pulp and fat supplements are additional ways to add calories but first make sure your horse doesn’t have medical issues. The list of possible causes of weight loss in horses is long, and without knowing his age, workload, environment and other factors, it’s hard to give any other specific recommendations except continue to work with your veterinarian and dentist to make sure he’s healthy.