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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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Help for Lady

Dr. Getty's, I am acquiring a malnutritioned 19yr old mare. She is thin enough that you can see her ribs and has lost muscle mass in her hind quarters. Her current diet consists of 2 quarts of sweet feed twice a day, and 3-4 flakes of Coastal twice a day. She has been wormed, and takes garlic daily for flies? I am not sure what or how often to feed her, I do know that she needs her teeth floated, and needs improvement in her diet. Spiritly she is great!

She has severe cribbing issues. Previously, 3 months ago, the lady I am getting her from acquired her as a rescue due to extream malnutrition. I did not see her at that point, owner says she has made progress.

I have owned horses in the past but have never seen such a thin horse. Please advise as what and how much to feed to improve her health.
Thanks Georgana

Where are you from? Greenville, NC

How did you locate this forum? searching

Re: Help for Lady

Hi Georgana,

First, let me thank you for taking care of this sweet mare. You are doing a wonderful thing.

OK, about her diet. Two quarts of feed amounts to approximately 5 lbs, which is too much to offer her at one time. Since a horse’s stomach is quite small, it is best to limit a meal size to 3 lbs. So, to give this much feed, you would need to spread the meals out to 3 to 4 a day.

Second, sweet feed will not put on weight very fast, plus it is not the best thing for a horse’s digestive system. So, I would recommend two things. One, give her a high protein, high fat, low starch feed such as Nutrena SafeChoice, or Triple Crown Low Starch. To that I would add a stabilized rice bran product, such as Natural Glo.

The next thing would be to give her a good multiple vitamin/mineral supplement that contains a probiotic (microbials) and the ability to boost the immune function, since hers is likely depressed due to malnutrition. Accel Lifetime (Vita Flex) is a very good choice for this situation.

I would suggest stopping the garlic, since it may lead to anemia, and you don’t need any more situations to deal with than you already have!

Her teeth, as you mentioned, are important to have floated. And, I’m pleased that you have her on a good worming program.

And finally, let her have as much has as she wants. She needs to be able to graze on pasture and/or hay 24/7.

I hope this is helpful. Please let me know how she progresses.

All the best,

Dr. Getty