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Ask the Nutritionist: Dr. Getty's Forum for Equine Nutrition

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Ask the Nutritionist: Dr. Getty's Forum for Equine Nutrition
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Laminitis and Potomoc Horse Fever


My horse had PHF in July. Unfortunately she foundered while ill with the disease and has had severe rotation. I have adjusted her diet to a low carb grain (Triple Crown lite) . Her weight is good, she may be a little thin, but I dont believe to think. She is a Morgan/TB mare , 8 years old.

I have her on Vitiamin C approx 7 - 8 grams per day, and Co Enz Q10, 800mg per day. I also give her the Farrier's Formula supplement to promote hoof growth, which she is getting.

I am fearful of a "reccurance" of the founder. If Alexis has another episode, I dont think either one of us can take it.

Any comments on the above diet and any suggestions for prevention?

Thank you.

Re: Laminitis and Potomoc Horse Fever

Hi Laurie,

As you know, Laminitis is a very common result of Potomoc Horse Fever since the gastrointestinal tract is markedly affected. There is a vaccination to prevent this highly contagious disease, and certainly anything you can do to prevent its recurrence would be wise.

Your low carb diet is a wise precaution, though it may not be completely necessary since the cause of her laminitis was not due to a carbohydrate overload. However, horses are really not capable of digesting large amounts of starch, so continue with the Triple Crown lite.

Continue with the vitamin C and CoQ 10. In addition, I recommend two things:

1. Vitamin E – add 2000 IU of natural vitamin E to her diet each day.

2. Omega 3 Fatty acids. You can provide these several ways – there are many supplements on the market that contain essential fatty acids. Or, you can purchase flaxseed meal. You can even make your own by buying whole flaxseeds and grinding them in a coffee grinder. It’s important to grind them, since they will not be digested if eaten whole.

She should have access to pasture and/or hay throughout the day. It is very important to keep her digestive tract in good running condition and horses are meant to have access to roughage most of the time. If long periods of time go by without roughage, many problems can result – most commonly colic, ulcers, and laminitis.

Please keep me posted on how she is progressing.

All the best,

Dr. Getty