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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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Oat bran for high strung horse with ulcer

Dear Dr. Getty,

I have a 17yr. old Tennessee Walker who has had two ulcers in the last 7 years. She is a rather nervous horse. She currently gets a wheat bran mash bucket every evening with grass hay. I was thinking about switching her to oat bran. What are your thoughts?

Thank You,

Karen Hayes

Re: Oat bran for high strung horse with ulcer

Hello Karen,

Thank you for writing about your mare. Oat bran, like bran from all grains, is high in phosphorus. So, the first concern I have relates to the amount of calcium she is getting. It’s important to keep the calcium to phosphorus ratio in balance and not have more phosphorus than calcium. Also, too much phosphorus can upset the magnesium balance and magnesium plays a role in nervous system activity, resulting in behavioral changes.

You mentioned that she has had ulcers and is on the nervous side. Her nervous nature could be due to discomfort from the ulcers, rather than a behavioral issue. One of the most important thing you can do for a horse with ulcers is to allow her to graze on pasture or hay 24/7. If she goes a few hours without being able to chew, the stomach acid that she produces will continue to aggravate the ulcer. Horses, unlike humans, produce stomach acid at all times. Chewing stimulates the production of saliva, which neutralizes acid. In addition, providing forage (pasture or hay) soaks up the acid.

Oat bran is higher in fat than wheat bran, so in that regard, it is a better energy source. Rice bran is more favorable than either of these because it contains essential fatty acids and gamma oryzanol, a fatty substance that protects the joints and muscle mass, especially in aging horses or those who perform.

So, I’ve probably given you more information than you needed, but I wanted to expand the picture a bit.

All the best,

Dr. Getty