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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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low carb diet for foundered horse

Hi Dr. Getty,

My 11 year old mare is recovering from a grass founder episode (caught early, thank goodness, and responding well to treatment). She's eating only orchard grass/timothy hay right now. After this, I don't want her to be on a grain diet, to avoid potential repeats.
I've read that you recommend beet pulp/alfalfa/stabilized rice bran mix. I can get the beet pulp and alfalfa pellets easily. Would it be possible to use these(with vit/mineral supplement) to make a suitable diet for this mare? What sort of proportions of these ingredients would be appropriate? Also, if she is bred would these ingredients be able to support gestation and nursing? (of course, with free access to good grass hay).
Thanks so much for your reply. This forum is great!

Where are you from? KY

How did you locate this forum? browsing

Re: low carb diet for foundered horse

Hi Joan,

You are very wise to avoid feeding her grain. And, yes – an alfalfa/beet pulp diet will be fine. I do like to add an additional protein and fatty acid source, however. So, you can consider either stabilized rice bran, or flaxseed meal.

As far as proportions go, you’ll want to prepare a meal that does not exceed three pounds. And, since beet pulp expands, I like to limit intake to no more than 1 cup (approximately ½ pound) at a meal. A nice proportion is 1 lb alfalfa pellets, ½ pound beet pulp, and ½ pound flaxseed meal. This is a generalization, please keep in mind, since I do not know your mare’s weight, health condition, or history.

This diet would support her during her pregnancy but would need to be increased as she gets into her last three months of pregnancy. And, very important -- as you will want to provide her with a good vitamin/mineral supplement designed for broodmares.

I hope this is helpful. Keep up the fine work!

Dr. Getty