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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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emaciated, pregnancy, and foundered

Hello Dr. Getty,

I am a farrier, specializing in founder rehabilitation. I was called to a new case yesterday that has me worried. It is almost identical to a past case in which we saved the mare, but lost the foal, and I would appreciate any help you can offer on diet.

This mare is chronically foundered, malnourished, and 7 months pregnant. Mechanically I can handle the hooves, but what do you feed in such a case?
The attending vet has reccomended free choice timothy/orchard grass mix ONLY, and I added salt and mineral blocks. Is there anything else we can add to help the condition of her and her foal without throwing her back into acute laminitis?

Any help would be greatly appreciated,


Re: emaciated, pregnancy, and foundered

Hello Pete,

A pleasure to make your acquaintance.

There are several serious issues occurring here – one, being emaciated; two, being so far along in her pregnancy; and three, having severe metabolic problems leading to her laminitis.

The question I would want to ask are “Do you know anything about her background? Is she a rescue horse? Has she been in poor health for years, or is this something recent?”

Here are several feeding suggestions, without knowing her medical history:

1. In addition to the grass hay, offer her 2 to 3 flakes of horse-quality alfalfa hay. If this is not available, give her alfalfa pellets or cubes.

2. Provide her with a probiotic and B vitamins. A product I recommend is “Ration Plus “ available at

3. She should have a good multiple vitamin/mineral supplement designed for pregnant mares – such as Mare Plus

4. She needs additional calories – and starting in her eighth month, she will be gaining weight rapidly due to the growing foal. I would suggest that she be fed 2 to 3 pounds of a high fat top dressing such as Omegatin or Natural Glo nuggets (available at most feedstores)

5. Her worming schedule needs to be up to date. This is critical.

The goal is to keep her away from grains (oats, barley, complete grain-based feeds) and instead, offer her high quality protein (from the alfalfa), high quality fat (from the top dressing), vitamins and minerals (from the Mare Plus), digestive bacteria (from the Ration Plus), and the proper proportion of calcium, phosphorus and magnesium, to promote a healthy foal (from the alfalfa and supplements).

I believe this regimen will be helpful. However, I would be happy to visit with your client at length about his/her mare. Please have your client consider contacting me since the health of the mare and her foal is most precarious.

All the best,

Dr. Getty