6 Reasons a Horse Might Be Losing Weight

By | November 9, 2017

A horse can be an absolute powerhouse but requires good nutrition to maintain a healthy weight. Any major drop in weight or the appearance of a thin horse should be cause for concern. Below are six of the more common reasons your horse might be shedding pounds.

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Illness or Injury

Any time a horse is seriously underweight you should have them looked at by a veterinarian. It is helpful to incorporate their advice along with your own good sense and intuition that there might be a problem. The weight of a horse can fluctuate, but always be on the lookout for a serious drop in weight as a signal that there might be an illness or injury at play.


The gut system of a horse has to be regularly treated against a build-up of parasites. Without treatments, such as a quality dewormer, the parasites can steal needed nutrition away from the animal. This can lead to dangerous weight loss or illness.

Old Age

The metabolism and desire to eat can change as a horse ages. It can be increasingly difficult for a horse to keep weight on. There may be a need to switch them to a higher calorie food supplement to get them the boost in weight needed to stay healthy.


Stress can be as detrimental to a horse as it to human health. Stress can come from a variety of sources. Adding new members to a herd, losing members they are close to, extreme temperature changes, drastic changes in diet, the presence of predatory animals, and constant barking dogs can be all it takes at times to make them stress out and begin to lose weight. Try and keep consistency and a calm environment when possible.

Dental Problems

Horse teeth need to be floated or evened out every few years in order for the top and bottom jaw to align and make chewing possible. This procedure is not very involved but should be done by a professional. Poor results can lead to the horse being unable to eat.

Not Enough Calories

Not having enough calories in the food given can also be a cause for dramatic weight loss. Horses need to have higher calorie intake in the winter, during periods of increased activity, or suckling young. Simply increase the food intake or improve the quality if you notice any significant weight changes.

Contact horse insurance experts like Ark Agency for all of your horse medical insurance needs today!