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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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sheath/bean problems in geldings

I had posted previously about a pony with possible ulcers. I am no longer thinking that is his problem. Last fall we discovered and removed a very large "bean" from him. It was the size of a large marble. I checked him again a few weeks ago and discovered he already had developed, in less than six months, a bean as big as the one last fall. His sheath is also very dirty. I do try to clean him with a sheath cleaner once or twice a year, but he won't drop, so I can't get him very clean. He doesn't kick, but stands and will tolerate it, but he won't drop. It is very difficult to reach way up in there to try to get the bean out and clean him. Since removing the bean I noticed a much improved attitude and he is drinking a lot more water. Does anyone have nutritional suggestions linked to bean formation and smegma buildup, or tips on how to encourage him to drop so I can get him cleaner and remove the beans before they get so big? When I run out of Omega Horseshine I will be switching to NutriFlax. He is also on a vitamin/mineral supplement and Quiessence. He is at a very good weight with no crestiness and his coat and skin appear much healthier this year.

Thank you!

Where are you from? Michigan

How did you locate this forum? online search for equine ulcer info

Re: sheath/bean problems in geldings

Hi Krista,

If there were a nutritional approach to this problem, I would certainly let you know. But, this is a concern for all owners of geldings (myself included). If he won't drop during washings, as mine won't, I rely on my yearly teeth floating visits when they are sedated, to clean their sheaths and remove the bean.

One thing you can do is make certain that he is getting enough water so he can naturally flush out smega that accumulates in the urethral passage. He should be drinking at least 12 gallons each day.

All the best,

Dr. Getty

P.S. For those of you who have mares, they, too, develop a smegma-like substance between their teats. This requires regular cleaning. Mares who accumulate too much of this waxy substance experience itching and will often rub their tailheads as an indication of a problem.

Where are you from? Bayfield, CO