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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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Pedunculated Lipomas

Dear Dr. Getty,

Last night we lost a beloved 18 yr old gelding to pedunculated lipomas. Despite quick respsonse and surgical efforts, he had lost too much intestine and was euthanized under anesthesia.

The only information I can find relating to the causes and prevention of lipomas are some vague suggestions that obesity may be a factor in developing lipomas. Our vets say there is no rhyme or reason to these growths, other than age.

Do you have any thoughts on diet relating to lipomas, or any ideas on prevention?

There is growing belief that magnesium supplementation can help in preventing & disolving fatty deposits in the neck crests of thyroid horses. I find myself wondering if it may help prevent fatty deposits elsewhere too??

I'd appreciate any thoughts you could share on this ailment, as we're having a hard time accepting that there is nothing we can try to prevent this.

Thanks so much.

Where are you from? IL

Re: Pedunculated Lipomas

Hello Monica,

I am so sorry to hear about your loss. This condition is, unfortunately, relatively common in older geldings. The research indicates that the average age is 17, where horses, predominantly geldings, develop lipomas that can strangle portions of the large and small intestine. The cause is unknown, as your vet indicated.

Magnesium is an important component in maintaining a healthy weight. However, it is not a good idea to supplement this mineral without taking into consideration calcium and phosphorus levels. A healthy diet will have a 2:1:1 ratio of calcium to phosphorus to magnesium.

I believe the best thing you can do to prevent this would be to keep your horses in good physical condition, with daily, or frequent exercise, and a diet that is low in carbohydrates (since increased starch intake generally leads to increased storage of fat in horses that have a tendency toward holding weight – e.g. “easy keepers.”) To keep the intestines sound, most of the diet should be from forages, not concentrates. So, free access to hay and/or pasture is critical to the health of the gastrointestinal tract.

So, while I cannot say with any certainty that this can be prevented, I can say that keeping your horse “young” on the inside is the best prevention of this and other disorders.

My best wishes to you,

Dr. Getty