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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. 

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 Dr. Getty 


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

Our mare, who is in her ninth month of pregnancy has been reluctant to leave her stall and go out to the pasture the past two mornings. She is walking "toed out" and I suspect she is suffering from laminitis. We recently added alfalfa to her diet in lieu of coastal bermuda hay to give her some additional protein during these last three months of pregnancy. I suspect that this change as well as the lush pasture grass (as a result of the time of year) may be the cause. We have never had any health issues with her. She has had a crest, and has had one for abaout eight months. She receiveds 1/2 scoop of sweet feed and 1/2 scoop of oats. Should we cut out the sweet feed and alfalfa or does she need to be taken to the vet right away?

Where are you from? Bentonia, MS

How did you locate this forum? searching web

Re: Suspected laminitis

Hi Cindy,

Her tendency for laminitis is greatly increased by the additional body fat that she is carrying (e.g., crest) and I would suggest that you immediately discontinue feeding any grain (oats) or sweet feed. These two feeds likely contributed to her developing laminitis.

Instead, continue to feed her alfalfa is small amounts, and allow her to graze in the early part of the day. In the late afternoon, take her off pasture, if you can, and give her coastal hay. And, at meal time, switch her to a low starch feed. There are several available -- Nutrena Safe Choice is a good one, as well as Triple Crown Low Starch.

Also, ask your vet abouat giving her a probiotic. Laminitis results from endotoxins that are released into the bloodstream when the natural bacterial flora die. A probiotic will replace these bacteria.

I would suggest that you contact your farrier to have special shoes put on her feet for a month or so, to relieve some of the pressure.

Are you giving her a multiple vitamin/mineral supplement? She is now in her last three months of pregnancy and her nutritional needs are increasing, as you know. Vita-Key Mare and Foal supplement is one that I recommend.

Please keep me posted on how she is doing. You cannot give her a pain killer (aspirin, bute, or any herbal preparation) without your vet’s approval since she is pregnant.

All the best,

Dr. Getty