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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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25+ pony with no teeth left

Hi Dr Getty,

I am caring for an aged pony who was out of state being leased for the past few years. He came back looking MUCH older that when he left. Skinny, no muscle, sunken in and just old looking. He has been wormed, and the dentist just confirmed our suspicion of tooth difficulties, in fact she says he has almost no functioning teeth for chewing (that explains his condition). He should be about 600 lb, but looks significantly less. We have available for him in any combination Nutrena senior feed, alfalfa cubes soaked, beet pulp soaked, and some really soft yummy green 2nd cut hay that he gumms down, he can't eat the mature stemmy stuff usually reserved for the founder prone ponies. The problem is how to feed him up while being careful of founder as he is prone to this. Right now he is getting 1/4 lb senior feed 1 flake of 2nd cut hay, and a 2 lb scoop of soaked beet pulp, and a 1 lb scoop of wet alfalfa cubes am and pm. But we are worried about it being "too rich" for him, are we OK?, or should we back up to mainly just beet pulp, and supplements for his nutrition? This pony still works quite hard as a pony club eventer, and needs plenty of energy. He has the will and know how to raise another little kid. He is just in need of a little TLC. Thank you so much for your time, we all appreciate everything you do for us and our horses. I learn more from your forum than I do anywhere else.

Kim V.

Where are you from? Connecticut

How did you locate this forum? research on equine nutrition

Re: 25+ pony with no teeth left

Hi Kim,

I'm so sorry to hear that he's done so poorly while away. It sounds as though he was under much stress, both physical and mental, to have had such a toll taken on his condition.

The first step, of course, is to have his teeth taken care of. Then, I would discontinue feeding the Senior Feed, since it is grain-based and you mentioned that he is prone toward laminitis.

Instead, continue feeding the beet pulp and the alfalfa, along with grass hay. Soak the hay and drain the water, if at all possible, since you don't know what the sugar and starch level of the hay is. Having it tested is always ideal, to reduce his risk of laminitis.

To this meal, he should have a good multiple vitamin/mineral supplement. I would recommend Reitsport HA-100 for him. It is flaxseed meal based, which provides essential omega 3 fatty acids. This will also provide amino acids to help him build body tissues.

And, in addition, give him Ration Plus to help him efficiently utilize his forage intake and help him gain weight.

This is a start. If you find that he is still not doing well after a month on this regimen, let's plan on setting up a phone visit to go over his entire situation in detail.

All the best,

Dr. Getty

Where are you from? Bayfield, CO