Starved horses can be a product of owner ignorance or economic hardship. Regardless of the reason, a horse may end up in a debilitated state. The goal for the new caretaker is to help the horse return to good health and appropriate body weight as quickly and safely as possible. For responsible caretakers of a starved horse, there are two immediate considerations:
The first step, and the most important one, is to have an equine veterinarian perform a complete physical exam.
Following the exam, lay out a plan to begin providing the horse with an appropriate diet to facilitate weight gain while avoiding the potential complications that can occur when reintroducing feed to a chronically starved horse.
Posted by: Kelly Vineyard, M.S., Ph.D. - Research Equine Nutritionist, Purina Animal Nutrition