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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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Feeding a foundered horse

Hi Dr. Getty's,
I hope you can help me with this problem, because I'm very confused. I'm a new horse owner and don't know much about horse nutrition. I rescued a 9yo Arab that foundered about 6 months ago, and is going through the recovery period. My problem is that I don't know if I'm feeding her appropriately. I've heard so many suggestions and they are all different, so that's where I'm confused. I've talked to the vet and she couldn't give me a straight answer either. Right now she is being fed the following twice a day:
5-8lbs of Bermuda
1 cup of senior complete feed
1.5lbs of Alfalfa-Bermuda Pellets

But, when my trainer came over she noticed that my mare had lost some weight, which was good because when I got her she was overweight, and now she is at the perfect weight. She told me to be careful that she doesn't lose anymore weight specially during the winter. So now I don't know where to increase her diet to maintain the weight she has without causing her to founder again.

Where are you from? California

How did you locate this forum? Website Search

Re: Feeding a foundered horse

Hello Ana,

You have done a wonderful thing by adopting this mare and she is very, very lucky to have you!!!

I have a few of suggestions for you to help her stay healthy and to help her keep her weight. First, let her have as much hay as she wants. In other words, she should have hay available to her 24/7 so she can nibble as she pleases. This will help her get the calories she needs, plus is will keep her happy (stress can increase the likelihood of another attack of laminitis).

Second, instead of Senior Feed, go with something that is not grain-based. Senior feed contains oats and grain is not a good idea for a horse that has foundered. So, instead, just increase the amount of alfalfa/bermuda pellets to 2 lbs each meal.

And, lastly, you'll want to give her a good multiple vitamin/mineral supplement to fill in the gaps. Even with the complete ration (which you'll be discontinuing), you were only giving one cup per meal, which is not enough to get the benefit of the added vitamins and minerals.

Since she has had one experience with laminitis, I would suggest that you give her a product that has omega 3 fatty acids and is high in antioxidants, to keep the inflammation in her feet from returning. PreOx is one that I highly recommend -- at a maintenance dosage of one ounce per day.

I hope this is helpful. Keep up the fine work!

All the best,

Dr. Getty

Where are you from? Bayfield, CO