fat pot belly mare

Asked October 25, 2014, 6:06 PM EDT

Mare looks like going to foal any minute, has a huge belly year around. Gets cup of balanced food am & pm. Getting rode and worked in round pen so worked daily. Has been wormed vet said more exercise needed. She is well bred Quarter Horse. Any ideas what could be wrong & what tests should be run.

Madison County Alabama horses horse nutrition forages for horses

5 Responses

Hi- Worming would be my first inclination, but since you've done that--tell me about the exercise. How long, what are you doing? and is it possible for you to send a picture to my email ? deborah.lester@colostate.edu And has the vet palpated to make sure she isn't pregnant?? Have you done any blood work? Tell me what you've done with your Vet and what they are suggesting? How old is this mare? Breed? Thank you, Deb

She was worked 5 days a week for 1 hour in round pen trotted mostly. Now she is worked round pen 2 days a week and ridden 5 days a week. Round pen started early summer. The riding started late summer. Prior that she was pasture decoration. Not pregnant was with 1 1/2 year old stud colt he was gelded and then moved would have had foal Jan/Feb. Pasture has never been really lush. None of other horses this fat. Different vet came to barn and he is now reworming and then will do fecal. Then will see about blood tests. When she is ridden she is trotted 10 min before breathing hard then walked until back to normal then trotted again this continues until 1 hour trotting is done. She is warmed up and cooled down gets to breathing hard very quickly. Registered 8 year old Quarter Horse very sleek looks healthy except for pot belly. Trying to get someone do picture for me.

Poor quality hay will also cause this pot belly condition. It doesn't mean they are fat they just have excess fill from poor quality hay that is creating a "full gut" appearance with little else in the way of nutrition. Take a look at your hay, it should be full of leaves (not stems), small to no seed heads, and soft. This is a good place to start. If the hay is good quality and you are doing more exercise like the vet said you probably have a horse that just will always have that appearance. Horses that have had a foal before are more prone to this, they just look like they have a pot belly. We have a very tiny mare here on campus that is this same way, very well fed, with good quality hay but came to us with this appearance and in the last 10 years has always been that way.

Good luck and I hope this helps.

Thank you for your suggestions. Gave us some ideas to think about.

If the mare doesn't have fatty areas in other places, ie: tail head, along the neck, etc. I think she's either prone to this "pot belly" and I agree with Dr. Carey in the type of hay. Keep up the good exercise. Good luck!