Return to Website

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
This Forum is Locked
Health Issues

Dr. Getty thank you for the advice for my tb. It was very helpful and I may be contacting you for a nutrition plan for her. The question I have for you is about my 13 year old Tennesse Walker, gelding. I have had him since March.I have a couple of concerns. Ever since I have gotten him I've noticed how he coughs when I ride him or sometimes when he's eating. The end of September I noticed he had been putting his head over the fence and eating corn stalkes from the field. I don't know how long he had been doing this. I roped off that area as soon as I noticed. Well a few days after I caught him I noticed he was acting as if he didn't feel well. I called the vet out. He checked him. He gave me something for pain. I'm not sure why. He did not have a temperature and said he felt fine when he gave him a rectol exam. His belly was gurgeling which he said was a good sign. Well I'm still worried about him. He still doesn't act like he feels good. He has been slightly aggressive towards our goats and snipped at me one day which is not his personality at all. I'm not sure what to do. I'm worried he could be colic or maybe it's just his diet. He could afford to lose a few pounds. Since he was caught eating the corn I have not been giving him feed. When he does get feed it's from Tractor Supply which probably isn't the best quality. The vet said the coughing could be from allergies. Sometimes he spits out green stuff from his mouth which looks to be chewed up grass. I sure hope you can give me some advice. I'm worried something is wrong and he is not being treated for it. Any advice you can give will sure be appreciated. Thank You.

Where are you from? Ohio

How did you locate this forum? Internet

Re: Health Issues

Hi Suzy,

Yes, his respiratory reaction could be an allergic response or simply one to dust. And, the corn stalks are filled with lignin, a fibrous part of the plant that is not at all digestible -- even the bacteria living in the hind gut cannot touch it. So, too much can certainly be problematic and cause him intestinal discomfort. So, I'm pleased that you got him away from access to the corn.

Since you mentioned that he could lose some weight, I would recommend that you stop feeding a high starch diet, which the Tractor Supply feed is likely made from cereal grains and perhaps even has molasses.

Give him all the good quality grass hay he wants and throw in some alfalfa to complement the protein quality. And, add a good multiple vitamin/mineral supplement (such as Accel or Glanzen Complete) to a low starch meal (such as beet pulp or alfalfa pellets) along with some Quiessence, for his weight and his behavior.

Lots of water, and a plain white salt lick, is also a must.

These are some generalizations, but if this problem persists without any medical problem, I would suggest that we look over his situation in detail.

All the best,

Dr. Getty

Where are you from? Bayfield, CO