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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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Glucosamine and Lamanitic Horses

Hi Dr. Getty In my quest to learn about laminitis I came upon a farrier's bulletin board. Some of the farriers had noticed an unusual increase in their repeat laminitis cases when the only change to diet had been the addition of glucosamine. Have you any insight or thoughts on this?

Where are you from? Columbia, SC

Re: Glucosamine and Lamanitic Horses

Hi Elyce,

It's interesting that you bring this up. Glucosamine is glucose (simple sugar) combined with a portion of an amino acid. And, people with diabetes need to monitor their blood glucose levels carefully when taking this supplement for their joints.

Having said that, it is very unlikely that the glucose in glucosamine would affect laminitis. Here's why...

Glucose gets absorbed into the horse's bloodstream directly from the small intestine. So, it doesn't reach the hind gut. Laminitis, due to high starch and or sugar diets, occurs when starch or undigestible sugars (like fructans from pasture) end up in the hind gut and are fermented by the bacterial population. This fermentation leads to excessive acid product, death of bacteria, and consequently, laminitis.

Now, if a horse is already insulin resistant, it is important to keep the blood glucose level at a reasonable level. Glucosamine could raise blood glucose levels, causing excessive circulating insulin, which can cause laminitis.

So, I do not believe that glucosamine would present any increased incidence of laminitis except in the already insulin resistant horse. And, if the diet is monitored in other ways (e.g., reduced starch, no grain, no sweet feeds, etc.) glucosamine can be well tolerated.

Great question!

Dr. Getty