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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 

 



Forum: Ask the Nutritionist: Dr. Getty's Forum for Equine Nutrition
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Re: need to put weight on a six year old thoroughbred

Hello Cheryl,

Congratulations on your horse and thank you for taking such good care of him. He sounds like a dear fellow.

I am very pleased to hear that he will have access to pasture soon. That is the best thing you can do for him – let him be able to graze at will 24 hours a day. His cribbing will likely stop once his stress level subsides. Cribbing collars are cruel, in my opinion, and there are ways to treat this condition.

To help him gain weight, I suggest that you feed him stabilized rice bran (Miracle Glo makes a good product), instead of corn oil. Corn oil is not the best oil for horses – high in linoleic acid (omega 6) which stimulates the inflammatory response. You can add some flaxseed oil to his feed, which is high in omega 3 fatty acids.

I would also recommend that you supplement his diet with a good probiotic. This will help his bacterial flora produce more B vitamins as well as assist him in utilizing his nutrients better. You might also wish to consider adding a B complex preparation to his diet to increase his appetite and calm his nerves.

Thanks for writing.

All the best,

Dr. Getty

Re: need to put weight on a six year old thoroughbred

Dr. Doctor,

At the risk of sounding uninformed, could you please tell me what a probiotic is? I don't have a clue!

Also, what sort of treatments would you suggest for cribbing? I know there is a liquid that you can put on surfaces that tastes really bad, but what else might be available?

Thank you so much.

Cheryl

Where are you from? Jersey Shore, PA

How did you locate this forum? doing a search on the internet for nutrition for thoroughbreds

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Re: need to put weight on a six year old thoroughbred

Hi Cheryl,

A probiotic is a supplement that boosts the quality and quantity of the bacteria that live in the hind gut of the horse’s digestive system. For example, yogurt that you eat, contains live acidophilus cultures – that is a probiotic. There are many products that are designed to add live bacteria to the horse’s diet – MicroBalance and ProBios are popular choices. Also, there are some products that, instead of offering live bacteria, actually have substances that help the exisiting bacteria grow – Ration Plus is a good choice here and I would recommend this route for weight gain.

These bacterial flora are critical to the health of the horse. They produce B vitamins and are able to digest fibers from hay and other forages. If they are killed, such as in the case of overeating grain or even antibiotic therapy, the toxins that result can lead to laminitis.

So, that’s it in a nutshell! Probably a little more than you asked for!

About the cribbing – don’t use the products that you paint on – they smell terrible, are potentially toxic and can lead to respiratory problems. Plus, they don’t work! The best thing you can do for cribbing is to remove the opportunity by finding a way to let your horse out of the stall. Horse’s are not meant to be stalled for hours and hours, any more than we are. I know that this is often not within a person’s control, so whatever adjustments you can make, the better off your horse will be.

It’s a pleasure hearing from you.

All the best,

Dr. Getty

Re: need to put weight on a six year old thoroughbred

Dear Dr. Getty,

Thank you so much for the information. I just want to make certain that I get your suggestions correct.

It's okay to continue feeding the beet pulp and sweet feed the way I am, but to change the corn oil to stabilized rice bran, add some flaxseed oil and a probiotic.

Exactly how much of each should I give him and how often each day? Right now I would estimate his weight around 900 pounds. That's pretty thin for a horse that stands 15.3. How long do you think it will take to put enough weight on him to make him rideable? I'll also be moving him to total pasture in about a month, which I know will add weight as well.

I also wanted to ask what sorts of fruits and vegetables, other than carrots and apples, that I could give him. I would like to feed him as naturally as possible.

Thank you so much!

Cheryl

Where are you from? Jersey Shore, PA

How did you locate this forum? searching on the internet for equine nutrition

Email  
Re: need to put weight on a six year old thoroughbred

Hi Cheryl,

Yes, you’re on the right track. Sweet feed is not the best for horses, but as long as you limit it to no more than 2 lbs/day, it will be ok. If you’d rather not feed sweet feed, you can switch to a low starch feed such as Triple Crown Low Starch, or Nutrena SafeChoice.

Continue feeding the amount of beet pulp, but reduce the sweet feed. If your scoop is a one-quart scoop, that is equivalent to 2 to 2.5 pounds of sweet feed. Feeding that much, three times a day, is too much sugar and starch. So, you would be better off feeding the low starch feed. And, you want to limit the amount of feed to 3 lbs at each meal. Horse’s stomachs are not very large. So, that means, no more than 1 ½ scoops of any feed at one meal.

So, a possible scenario would be:
3 pounds (1 ½ quart scoop) of beet pulp/day divided between 3 meals
3 pounds (1 ½ quart scoop) low starch feed/day divided between 3 meals
1 ½ pounds rice bran (3/4 quart scoop)/day divided between 3 meals.

This is just a suggestion based on the information you’ve given me. You can try this to start and if we need to change this later, you may want to set up a more in-depth visit.

In addition to carrots and apples, horses love all kinds of fruits. They’re not too fond of most vegetables – they like carrots because they are sweet!

All the best,

Dr. Getty

Re: need to put weight on a six year old thoroughbred

Dr. Getty,

Thanks for the information.

What about the amount of probiotic per day (brewer's yeast or Ration Plus) and the amount of flaxseed or linseed oil per day?

Thanks. You have really been a big help.

Cheryl

Where are you from? Jersey Shore, PA

How did you locate this forum? doing a search on the internet for nutrition for thoroughbreds

Email  
Re: need to put weight on a six year old thoroughbred

I also wanted to ask what if there are only two feedings per day? I'm not always able to get to the barn every day at noon time, and since he is still in the rescue barn, volunteers are only there for two meals.

I also wanted to know if, once I move him to pasture 24/7, should I stay on the same feeding schedule as you outlined? Again, he might only get fed twice a day.

Thank you.

Cheryl

Where are you from? Jersey Shore, PA

How did you locate this forum? doing a search on the internet for nutrition for thoroughbreds

Email  
Re: need to put weight on a six year old thoroughbred

Hi Cheryl,

My first choice is Ration Plus since I have had a great deal of success using it. With the flaxseed oil, only add ¼ cup to a meal. Most horses do not like oily food, so you may have to reduce it further. Or, you can buy flaxseed meal instead and feed ¾ cup of that at each meal.

Two meals a day is fine as long as he has access to hay and/or pasture 24/7. In other words, he needs to have access to forage all of the time. And, while he’s in pasture, you can keep the same feeding schedule. But, until then, make sure he has hay in his stall or paddock at all times.

Dr. Getty

Re: need to put weight on a six year old thoroughbred

Dr. Getty,

I just spoke with my local feed mill and they asked for more information on the Triple Crown low starch feed. Do you happen to know which category it's in--senior, complete, etc.?

I'm trying to get everything together for my boy as soon as possible.

Thanks so much!
Cheryl

Where are you from? Jersey Shore, PA

How did you locate this forum? doing a search on the internet for nutrition for thoroughbreds

Email  
Re: need to put weight on a six year old thoroughbred

Hi Cheryl,

Triple Crown Low Starch is a new product and it really isn’t in any of these categories. Here is the website:

http://www.triplecrownfeed.com/lowstarch.php

Dr. Getty

Re: need to put weight on a six year old thoroughbred

Dr. Getty,

This feed sounds great. I'll give it a try.

I'll keep you posted on how he does.

Thank you soooo much!

Cheryl

Where are you from? Jersey Shore, PA

How did you locate this forum? doing a search on the internet for nutrition for thoroughbreds

Email