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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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PSSM horse and pasture

Hi Dr. Getty,
Can my PSSM horse ever go back to being on pasture? Before I bought him he was turned out on Wyoming prairie and lived fine. Last summer I put him out on a managed/irrigated pasture that I was told was mostly brome grass. He was also fed 1-2 flakes of alfalfa hay daily. Within a month he severely tied up and that's when I found out he had PSSM. Being fed grass hay, TC Low Starch and just recently adding Quiessence he is doing great. He is being boarded right now in a stall with a run. I know he needs to get more turnout but it’s not available unless I move him. I'd like to find a place with pasture but I'm afraid to turn him out. Is there a safe pasture grass that he can eat without the possibility of tying up? Or should I look for a dry lot and continue his current diet? My vet isn't very familiar with PSSM. Thank you.

Where are you from? Wyoming

Re: PSSM horse and pasture

Hi Lori,

Yes, you can very likely allow some grazing on pasture for him. However, there are a few precautions that you should take. First, only let him graze during the early morning hours before the sun gets high in the sky. This is when the fructans (sugars) are at their lowest, after a period of darkness. They are at their highest in the late afternoon after the grass has been exposed to sunlight.

Fructan levels are also higher after a frost, so if the night time temps are getting below 40 degrees, the grass is likely to have a higher sugar content during the day.

Ideally, you could have your pasture analyzed for its sugar content, but keep in mind that it does vary with the temperature and degree of sunlight exposure.

If you need some individual assistance with this disorder, please consider setting up a private consultation. That way I can go over your horse's situation in detail and give you much more specific advice.

All the best,

Dr. Getty

Where are you from? Bayfield, Colorado