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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. 

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 Dr. Getty 


Ask the Nutritionist: Dr. Getty's Forum for Equine Nutrition
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Nutritional problems in 15 year old Quarter horse

Recently moved my horse across the country. The trip took him 4 days and was approx 3800km. He was agisted on a property for three weeks prior to this. When he arrived he was severely dehydrated and had lost alot of weight. he was very unstable on his legs and very lethargic. I commenced feeding good quality lucerne at 2 biscuits per day, also three times a day with 1/2L measure of bran, 2L measure of Oaten chaff, an electrolyte and 1Tablespoon of Vit C (Sodium Ascorbate)I then introduced on the following day 1 teaspoon of Kelp powder and 1 tablet of Vit E. I changed his feed on the 6th day to include a 1/3L measure of Mitavite Gumnuts. This was going quite well and he had regained his shine and vitality back still a little dehydrated though (skin does not snap back when pinched) however on day 8 his offside hind fetlock began to swell by that afternoon it had increased in size substantially and his nearside hind fetlock had began to swell. the swelling remained and after 24 hours was quite pronounced. Ceased feeding everything but Oaten Chaff and bran and it went away. After 24 hours resummed feeding with less Kelp and it has not returned. I was wondering whether anyone else has seen this sort of reaction with kelp. What are the Nutritional requirements for a 15yr Q-horse gelding in light work (approximately 7km of road work 4 times a week and 45 mins of circle work once a week) On poor quality pasture. With a history of sensitive skin (has had queensland itch/ canadian itch for 18 straight months with it only subsiding in the last 3 months. At this point in time I am desperate to get this horse back to where he was with a real need to get him to optimum health and vitality.
Thankyou any information will be greatly appreciated.
In anitcipation
Ariane Dessert

Where are you from? Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia

How did you locate this forum? Google Search

Re: Nutritional problems in 15 year old Quarter horse

Hello Ariane,

That was quite a long trip for your poor fellow!

From what you describe, he is getting too much sodium in relation to his water intake. Kelp is very high in sodium, so I suggest you discontinue using it. He needs to be drinking at least 23 liters of water each day. The reason for the swelling is that the blood is so concentrated with salt, that water is leaving the cells to enter the intercellular spaces, resulting in edema (swelling). So, if he is not drinking enough water, try flavoring it with something sweet. The water in his new environment may not taste very good to him. By drinking more water, the sodium concentration of his blood will lessen.

The Vitamin E and C is a good idea. He ought to have at least 3000 IU of vitamin E each day and until he recovers, give him 10 grams of vitamin C each day.

He would likely benefit from an overall vitamin/mineral feed balancer that contains all of the B vitamins (for his skin, nervous system, and digestion).

Provide him with as much grass hay as he wants, and continue with the lucerne. And, then give him some type of concentrate such as oats -- no more than 1.5 kg per day, divided between meals. You can also feed him sugar beet to round out his energy needs. Just keep in mind that his meal (grain and sugar beet pulp) should not exceed 1.6 kg in weight due to a horse's small stomach size.

I hope this is helpful. If his swelling does not go down, he may require veterinary assistance.

Keep me posted.

All the best,

Dr. Getty