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

   Welcome to my forum. 

Here you will find more than 6 years of questions and my answers. It is searchable and offers a great deal of information. 

Currently, I am discontinuing new questions. This may change in the future, but in the meantime, please know that It has been a true pleasure serving you. 

Take a look at my Nutrition Library and Tips of the Month for a variety of answers on selected topics. Be sure to sign up for my monthly e-newsletter, Forage for Thought

I also have a growing number of recordings on "Teleseminars on Nutrition Topics that Concern You" as well as the new, Spotlight on Equine Nutrition Series -- printed versions of favorite teleseminars.

And finally, look for my articles in a variety of local publications and online newsletters, as well as the Horse Journal, where I am the Contributing Nutrition Editor.  


All the best,

 Dr. Getty 


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

Hi Dr. Getty,

I live in spain and have been advised to give my horse alfalfa pellets as well as half a bale of hay a day. She also has half a litre of oil every day.
She is underweight due to illness, but has previously had laminitas.

Am I doing the right thing in increasing her feed with alfalfa pellets?

She is in a stable yard, so is fed a mixed feed with the other horses but needs to gain weight which she has not been doing on what she is receiving.

Thank you,


Re: Alfalfa pellets

Hi Nathalie,

Yes, I am in favor of feeding alfalfa (pellets, cubes, or hay) in addition to grass hay. This boosts the protein quality and adds more vitamins (such as A and E) and minerals (such as Calcium, Magnesium, and Phosphorus).

I find the amount of oil you are giving her to be too high. I would not give more than .25 liters (approximately 1 cup) each day. What type of oil are you using? They are not all beneficial.

You mentioned that she is being fed a “mixed feed” – are you feeding a grain mixture? This should be avoided for laminitis cases. If you can give me an idea what caused her laminitis, I would be better able to help you with preventing a future case.

The fact that she is not gaining weight can be due to several issues including ulcers, worm infestation, and poor gut bacterial growth (a probiotic would help with this).

All the best,

Dr. Getty