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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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Almost Yearling

Dr. Getty:

We have a AQHA coming yearling February 2005. He's had base narrow stance with splay feet since about 3 mos. old. I've had the Vet out several times. She suggested we trim him off the inside to see if this would assist him every 4 weeks. I have been in contact with the vet a lot as I believed his rotation seemed higher than the knee and it is worse and not better on his left front. She finally had a surgeon come give her opinion. I didn't get a specific diagnois, she said it was not OCD, but in the family of. Basically she said to bring him along slowly (3yrs not 2yrs.)to start and he should have no problems with soundness and it should not hinder his abilities to perform. The surgeon also told us (my Vet had not) that we have high calcium water here. I feed him alfalfa twice a day, whole oats with sweet feed at night only, Grow Colt vitamins, a mineral salt block, and he's had all his immunizations all suggested by our Vet. I asked if he was over weight they said no he looks good. I'm worried my feeding could have caused this? He's a beautiful baby was born quite large and a bit over at the knee, but that self corrected.
Anything you could offer would be appreciated.
T. Digeno

Where are you from? Phoenix, AZ

How did you locate this forum? Web Search

Re: Almost Yearling

Hello Tana,

OCD belongs to the family of Development Orthopedic Diseases (DOD). Commonly held beliefs blamed mineral imbalances, but recent research findings indicate that even when the mineral status is improved, the condition in young horses did not go away.

It appears that the incidence of DOD increases when insulin levels are high. Insulin is released in response to feeds that are high in starch. So, it is best to feed forages and reduce (or even eliminate) grains from the diet. Since he is not underweight, this should not be a problem.

So, bottom line: continue feeding the alfalfa, but eliminate the whole oats. Instead, offer him a low carbohydrate feed such as SafeChoice (by Nutrena), or beet pulp, Omegatin, or a flaxseed meal feed.

Please keep me posted on his progress, since his nutritional needs will change as he gets older.

All the best,

Dr. Getty

Re: Almost Yearling

Thank you Dr. Getty for you response. I failed to mention the Surgeon also said perhaps a Phosphorus supplement would be helpful and changing him to grass/alfalfa mix? Grow Colt has some Phosphorus in it which he already gets. Will Phosphorus change anything for him since he's younger? I was wondering about alternative treatments as well. Is there anything we should try?

Where are you from? Phoenix

How did you locate this forum? Searching

Re: Almost Yearling

Hi Tana,

You do want to keep the calcium to phosphorus ratio in balance. And since your water is hard (high in calcium) and you are feeding alfalfa, you likely need to provide a phosphorus source. However, I would not recommend supplementing more than you are already offering. He is likely getting enough from the Grow Colt and from the hay that you are feeding. It is much better to have more calcium than phosphorus.

Yes, an alfalfa/grass mix will be fine and provide a good amino acid balance.

Keep me posted on how he’s doing.

Dr. Getty