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

   Welcome to my forum. 

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 Dr. Getty 


Ask the Nutritionist: Dr. Getty's Forum for Equine Nutrition
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I recently bought a cute white pony. She foundered twice while. Once due to a respiratory illness, and once to switching her hay to alfalfa. Her front feet are the ones that bother her. Some days she can barely put pressure on them and other days she trots around. The last time she foundered was this last September. I was hoping that you would have a suggestion on what I should feed her. Are there any special supplements I could give her. I was hoping to use her this summer for some pony rides. Any advice for a speedy recovery would be greatly appreciated!!


Re: Founder

Hi Melissa,

Founder is a complex situation and has many causes. Infections can cause stress on the body and the antibiotics used to treat them kill the good bacteria in the hind gut, as well as the bad. So, this is a common cause of founder.

Alfalfa typically does not cause founder, however, when fed in conjunction with grain, it may push a horse’s digestive system “over the top.”

Since I do not know what you are feeding or the weight condition of your pony, I’ll make a few general recommendations. First, do not feed her any grain (oats, corn, barley, etc.) or any complete feeds that are made with grain or sweetened. Also, if she is overweight, do not give her any sweet treats such as carrots or apples.

If you like feeding a complete pelleted feed, there are two on the market that I recommend: Nutrena’s SafeChoice and Triple Crown Low Starch.

Since founder (laminitis) is often caused by problems with the bacteria that live in the hind gut, it is important to keep these bacteria thriving. Ration Plus is excellent for this. And, one of the best supplements for laminitis is LaminaSaver by Figuerola. It is expensive, but excellent, especially for chronic situations such as the one your pony is experiencing.

Please keep me posted on how she is doing.

All the best,

Dr. Getty