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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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Wood chewing

I have heard that wood chewing is a sign of a missing nutrient.

This is not from boredom, he is out on nice pasture 24/7. He is an older TB gelding, 27, and gets ridden or ground worked 5 days a week.

Can you advise on what mineral or vitamin he might be missing. He has a salt block in his stall.

He gets a 12% feed, along with beet pulp and alfafa/fescue cubes for dinner and fescue hay to eat. (He gets ALOT to eat, being older, harder to keep weight on).

He is very healthy.

What is missing??

Where are you from? Rock Hill, South Carolina

How did you locate this forum? Friend

Re: Wood chewing

Hi Jeanna!

Chewing wood may be a sign of teeth problems, because when in nature is normal that horses chew on tree wood to teeth maintenance.
I just talked about thid with my vet this Monday when she came to have my horse´s teeth checked!

Re: Wood chewing

Hi Jeanna and Ana,

Chewing wood or tree branches can be a problem with teeth, so it is best to rule that out and have your horse's teeth floated at least once each year.

However, it can also be a borderline nutrient deficiency. There are two things that I would recommend:

First, since you mentioned that he has trouble maintaining a healthy weight, it tells me that he may not be digesting his food properly. He is definitely a candidate for Ration Plus. This will boost the health of the bacterial flora, making digestion more efficient and he will gain weight. But, also, these health bacteria will produce much-needed B vitamins, which may be deficient in his case.

The second nutrient is magnesium, which most horses do not get enough of, so I would suggest an ounce of Quiessence each day. This will also help him maintain a healthy weight.

Please keep me posted on his progress.

All the best,

Dr. Getty