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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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my underweight horse

Dear Dr. Getty,

my name is ashley and i have a 20 year old thoroughbred, i got him from my friends neighbor for free, they told me that he was fresh on all of his shots, he was trimmed and wormed recently, and it should be a breeze to load him up and take him to my house... well when i arrived at her house and down to the barn, he was very skinny, he was a mess. I got what she gave me, loaded him up and took him home, i talked to her later and aked why hes was so underweight she told me that they leightned up on his food because they didnt know what they were going to do with him. I checked his teeth they were fine and started him on allegra senior and beet pulp morn & evening and 2 flakes morn and eve, and he was on pasture most of the day and free choice of a salt lick. Within the month i noticed his ribs filling in a little and his withers not so bulky, now winters come im feeding 3 flake morning and evening and beet pulp and sweet 12 morn and evening, he gets exercise everyday, but for some reason hes almost looking just as bad as when i got him. what should i do? PLEASE help
Thank you, ~ashley

Where are you from? salem, oregon

How did you locate this forum? searching the web

Re: my underweight horse

Have you had him dewormed?? When he is stabled, do you give him as much hay etc. as he wants? Roughage is always the best thing to give to put on weight. You could also add some oil to his diet such as flaxseed or corn oil.

Re: my underweight horse

Hi Ashley,

Yes, as Christine suggested, it is important to make certain that his has been adequately wormed. Ask the former owner about this, because if he hasn't been wormed in a long time, you will want your vet to do it for you. If the worm population has built up to very high levels, you can induce severe colic if you worm him yourself.

Once you have the worming situation under control, give him Ration Plus -- at least a double dose, each day. This will boost the bacterial flora in his hind gut to help him get the calories he needs from the hay you're feeding. Yes, hay is very important, but if the bacteria are not healthy, he will not benefit from all that hay.

I would also give him alfalfa hay. If this is not available in your area, give him alfalfa pellets. I would also recommend offering him some flaxseed meal -- a least 1 cup each day. Nutra Flax is a product to consider.

Please keep me posted on his progress.

All the best,

Dr. Getty