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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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insulin resistance

My vet just told me he thinks my 9 year old TWH is showing signs of insulin resistance and is in danger of founder with new spring grass coming on. My horse, a gelding, gained a lot over the winter because I stupidly kept feeding the same amount of pelleted feed even though he wasn't working. He's really fat and his neck is very cresty and he has fat around his sheath and tail head. Should I put him on some emergency diet? The vet told me to take him off ALL grain and give only a little of my grass/alfalfa hay. I don't want to throw him into stress by starving him. What should I do?

Where are you from? homer, IL

How did you locate this forum? web search

Re: insulin resistance

Hello Becky,

Yes, you definitely need to work on a weight loss plan for him. And, I agree with your vet – take him off of all grain. Since he is insulin resistant, you are asking for problems by feeding a high starch diet.

Give him plenty of grass/alfalfa hay and at “meal time” offer him alfalfa pellets mixed with some beet pulp.

You should also offer him a vitamin/mineral supplement, if you aren’t already doing so – one that is designed for high alfalfa diets (since alfalfa is high in calcium) – Select I is one that I recommend.
Keep in mind that weight loss takes time. So, be patient.

As far as the spring grasses go – let him graze in the morning hours, but take him off pasture in the afternoon when the fructans (sugars) in the grass are at their highest.

Let me know how he’s doing.

All the best,

Dr. Getty