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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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root vegetables

Hi Dr Getty'
Please could you advise if feeding root vegetables is a safe alternative to carrots or apples. I have read on various equine sites that turnips, swedes and potatoes can be fed to give more choice/variety in the stable.Can you please give me your view on this topic?

Txs Julie

Where are you from? South Africa

How did you locate this forum? web search

Re: root vegetables

Hello Julie,

Potatoes are mostly starch, and therefore are not a good replacement for carrots or apples. Starch is digested down to glucose (sugar). Turnips are lower in starch, and therefore, lower in sugar. Swedes (sugar beets) are similar to carrots in sugar content.

But, all of these are fine in small quantities, as long as your horse is not overweight or prone to laminitis or Cushings syndrome. If you do have a horse with these conditions, I recommend offering alfalfa cubes as a treat.

If you do offer potatoes, make certain that any green discoloration beneath the skin has been removed. This contains aflatoxins, which you’ll want to avoid feeding to your horse.

Thank you for writing.

All the best,

Dr. Getty

Re: root vegetables

I read your advise about treats for lamanitic horses. You advised giving alfalfa cubes instead of apples or carrots. I thought alfalfa was bad for these horses. If I want to exclude as much sugar/glucose from the diet, would apples be better for my horse than carrots?

Where are you from? Massachusetts

How did you locate this forum? search

Re: root vegetables

Hi Shelley,

Alfalfa is very nutritious and provides essential amino acids (building blocks of protein) to help the laminitic horse heal and build healthy tissue. The non-structural carbohydrate level is relatively low. Carrots and apples are high in sugar and significantly raise blood insulin levels (which is something you want to reduce with laminitis). So, I do not recommend feeding them as treats in this case. The peels of apples, however, are better, since they are mostly fiber.

All the best,

Dr. Getty

Where are you from? Bayfield, CO