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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. 

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All the best,

 Dr. Getty 


Ask the Nutritionist: Dr. Getty's Forum for Equine Nutrition
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31 year old mare

Hello Dr. Getty,

My 31 year old mare has lost a lot of condition. I worry about what feed would be the best for her. I feed her Happy Hoof, High Fiber cubes, with a sprinkling of sugar beet. She has carrots and apples included in her feed now and again.She has developed an itch. I have deloused her, but it continues. She has Devils Claw every day. I am worried that I am going wrong somewhere.

Kind Regards, Chris.

Re: 31 year old mare

Hi Chris,

Thanks for writing. Your mare has several special needs at this age. If she is able to adequately chew the high fiber cubes, this is an excellent source of roughage for her.

The herbal treatments that you are giving her may or may not be of help and in some cases, may cause problems over the long term. Herbs are diluted forms of drugs and need to be used to treat specific disorders. Long term usage can have side effects just like any drug can, so I would question the use of Happy Hoof and Devils Claw over the long term.

The Happy Hoof, if I am correct in the formula you are using, is designed to improve ciruculation in the legs. The Devils Claw is an anti-inflammatory, with an action similar to bute. Is she is pain and experiencing joint problems?

Here are a few guidelines that you may find helpful:
1. Provide her vitamin C. Horses dramatically lose their ability to produce vitamin C by this age. I recommend that you feed her 15 to 20 grams of vitamin C each day. This will boost her immune system and allow her joints to produce collagen, natural connective tissue.

2. If she is having joint problems, you may also wish to give her a Glucosamine supplement.

3. She needs more energy than the fiber cubes can provide. A high fat top dressing such as Flaxseed Meal is very helpful since it contains omega 3 fatty acids. This will also improve her joints, as well as help repair her tissues. Her coat will shine, as well!

4. A probiotic such as ProBios will help her digestive tract work properly so she can absorb the nutrients from her feed.

Plenty of sunshine, clean water, and an occasional massage will be much appreciated, I’m sure!

Sounds like you have a lovely old gal. Please let me know how she’s doing.

All the best,

Dr. Getty