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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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There is a recent outbreak of strangles at 2 barns in my area. My horse (which I have owned for all of 4 weeks), began coughing last week, and had a yellow discharge from her nose on Saturday. I called the vet, who came and gave her a full workup, including a strangles test. I got the bad news today that she tested positive. I am petrified. We immediatly quarentined her and scrubbed out her stall and its surroundings with bleach. Her water and feed buckets have been thrown in the garbage. All of the other horses in the barn had the temps taken today. They are being vaccinated tomorrow, with the exception of one horse who has been couhing and running a fever. He will be tested tomorrow. (Don't ask why he was not tested sooner.) I have so many questions:

1.) Shouldn't we wait before vaccinating all of the horses? They have been exposed and might not show signs of infection yet. Couldn't vaccinating them too soon be dangerous?

2.) Just how good are these vaccines anyway?

3.) My horse is alone in quarentine. She is on another property by herself. I have read conflicting information on whether or not to put her on pennicillin. She does not present with classic symptoms. She coughed one day several times, and had yellow mucus only after exertion on a trail ride. I don't know how long she has had it, and what stage it might be, and what strain it might be. It could be at the beginning, we could be at the end. Who knows? What do we do now?

4.) How do we know how long to keep her away from the other horses? What are the gestation and incubation periods? Once she is allowed back into the fold, how long do we keep other horses away from the quarentine area?

5.) These horses all use a public trail riding system. Hundreds of horses ride on this system. How long can the bacteria stay alive on the trails?

6.) Is it advisable to put all the horses on an immune building supplement? What about infected horses? Can they be on an immune booster as well?

I am truly wrought with fear. Please help us.


Where are you from? NY

How did you locate this forum? good friend


Hello Emi,

I answered your email with the same info, but for the benefit of my readers, here was my response:

I am very sorry to hear about this outbreak of strangles in your area. My approach is from a nutritional perspective, so the actual treatment is best left to your veterinarian. Not every horse that is exposed to this bacteria will come down with strangles, so your question about the immune function is quite valid. There are two products that I recommend to keep the immune system working effectively. The first, and most important, is the addition of antioxidants to the diet. PreOx at a double dose, is excellent.

The second is a product called Immusyn which contains cellular Glutathione,which is also a potent antioxidant. There is too much to write about it here, so please take a look at the description at

About strangles itself -- even after symptoms are gone, a horse can remain a carrier for a month. And the vaccine is a good idea, though it does not provide full protection. I don't know if your vet has administered antibiotics, but their use depends on the stage of the disease and if the lymph nodes have become enlarged or abscessed, antibiotics can make things worse. I'm sure your vet will advise you about this.

The organism generally dies quickly in soils, so trails should not be a problem. Here is an article that you may find helpful:

All the best,

Dr. Getty

Where are you from? Bayfield, CO