Return to Website

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
This Forum is Locked
17 year old in poor condition

Hi Dr. Getty,

My horse, Bubba has been in excellent health since i've owned him. He's 17 and i've had him for 7 years. I've noticed in the last 3 months or so he's been dropping his feed and losing weight. I got his teeth floated and the dentist said they looked great. He's still dropping food and not looking nearly as good as he usually does. He's on sweet oats mixed with Triple Crown Complete and corn oil with water added. Should I change feeds? If so, what is your suggestion?

Re: 17 year old in poor condition

Hello Diana,

As horses age, their teeth and gums also age and many horses have problems chewing. He may also be dropping his feed because of the additional oil – some horses do not care for oily food.

Having said that, there are some other considerations regarding his diet. A sweet feed that is grain-based is poorly handled by a horse’s digestive system. In addition, it puts a strain on the aging pancreas to produce extra insulin. The best way to feed is to offer a low starch option (one that does not contain grain or sugar). Triple Crown has a new feed available called Low Starch that I think would be a much better choice for him.

Instead of feeding corn oil, offer Bubba some flaxseed meal. Corn oil is high in omega 6 fatty acids, which cause inflammation. Flaxseed meal is high in omega 6 fatty acids, which will help his joints, skin, heart, and immune system. Nutra-Flax or Omega Horseshine are good flaxseed products.

And, finally, a horse his age and condition would benefit from a probiotic. The bacteria that live in the hind gut need to be healthy in order for nutrients to be better utilized. A probiotic will help him gain weight and get more benefit from his feed. Go with Ration Plus or Micro Balance.

I hope this is helpful. Please keep me posted on his condition.

All the best,

Dr. Getty