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

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Ask the Nutritionist: Dr. Getty's Forum for Equine Nutrition
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Magnesium deficiency in horses


A friends 2 yo gelding showed illness with a high fever, 104.9, reluctance to move and general malaise. We got him in the barn, and first thing we both thought of was laminitis. We put both front feet in cold buckets of water,that lasted 5 minutes when he said ENOUGH.

Gave him 2gr on paste bute and called her vet. He came out, didn't think it was laminitis, took blood,gave banamine and an antibiotic shots, said to give him 4 more grams bute in 5 hours.

All thru this the little guy was eating his grass hay. His appetite was not effected.

He did show signs of perking up before we left, within 2 hours. Now, three days later, he is still running the low grade fever.

Vet said blood work showed deficiency in Magnesium.

My question, since obviously I don't believe him, is:
would that defiency present with these sypmtoms??

Thank you for your reply, oh and the vet gave no advice on how to get the deficiency up., except to say, put salt licks in stall and turnout area. They are already there, have been for over 2 years, the horses all lick them.

Where are you from? Oh

How did you locate this forum? links

Re: Magnesium deficiency in horses

Hello Peggie,

OK – first of all, a magnesium deficiency would not likely cause a fever. If he is on antibiotics and does not improve within another day or two, I would definitely have the vet take another look at him.

A magnesium deficiency can cause muscle pain and spasms but your fella is likely experiencing an infection of some type. Nevertheless, since his blood levels are low, you should supplement magnesium to his diet. There is a supplement known as Quiessence (made by Foxden) that I suggest you try.

A salt lick – if it is a plain salt lick – does not contain magnesium. A mineralized salt lick will contain a very small amount of magnesium – not enough to reverse low blood levels. So, continue to provide a plain, iodized salt lick and supplement magnesium separately.

Keep me posted on how he is doing.

All the best,

Dr. Getty