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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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My horse has severe laminitis

Hi Dr Getty. I have taken on a horse in the last three months with severe laminitis to try and save him from being put down. He came to me in such a bad way that he could not hardly walk off the float and would be attacked and could not defend himself. He stood with his back legs near the middle of his belly up closer to his front legs. He was really poor and looked really old as his muscle is his legs had wasted. I have no previous experience with this so i need help. It is very obvious that his pedal bone has pushed through his sole as his sole is convex and is alot lower then his frog and he stands on that. When his hoof starts growing in grows upwards and curls over and will not grow down. I immediately called my farrier and he put a pair of shoes on his front but we are having trouble keeping them on as the shoe has to sit on the sole as there is minimal hoof in front of his white line and trying to get the nails in the small amount of hoof that is so much higher then his sole is difficult. In the three months he is hardly recognisable. I have been putting shoes on him every three to four weeks as that is all they last and he goes lame for a few days and sometimes up to a week but can move enough to eat. He has wacked on the weight and has a shiny coat and now looks loved and after the shoe is on for awhile he now canters around the paddock looking happy and can defend himself now and his stance is not longer that obvious. I gave him a vaccination, had to worm him three times and got the dentist out who told me for a twelve year old he has had a horrible life and had never seen teeth like his. I have only recently put him on biocare biotin and feed two spoons per day. Now he is looking great i have been told to keep him light so his weight does not hurt him so i have reduced his feed (i have twenty acres)every second day to - 2 scoops of lucerne/oaten chaff, one scoop of purastock maintenance extruded horse pellets, half scoop of wheat bran, half scoop of roasted barley, spoon of black sunflower seeds, spoon of dolomite, spoon of seaweed meal and it is hot here so i feed him spoon of salt sometimes for the loss of salt through sweating. When he is ridable, i have been trotting him to bring his muscles up and is seeing the difference. When you pick up his feet he can not stand for too long on the other front foot and falls down on to you. Dr Getty. I know this horse seems doomed but he is so worth saving. Please help with any nutrition advice if i am doing some thing wrong or any advice that you think would help. I had a look at your product laminex but it is expensive and with regularly shoeing, heaps of feed
and now biotin which is thirty dollars for 3 to four weeks i think my partner would shoot me if i bought it as i have another horse already. On that note just tell me what you think and i will take it all on board. It scares me that i will fail this beautiful gentle horse i have tried to save and i told him i would not give up on him until i have tried every thing. Please help. Thank you

Where are you from? Cairns. Australia

How did you locate this forum? Type in laminitis and went to side message of laminitis help

Re: My horse has severe laminitis

Greetings Stacey,

Thank you for your patience in my getting to your situation. I hope that your horse continues to improve.

The key in feeding for laminitis is to reduce sugar and starch levels as much as possible. This means, no molasses or cereal grains (oats, corn, barley, wheat, etc), or sugary treats such as carrots and apples. So, check the feed that you're using for these items and choose instead, one that does not contain cereal grains or sweetening agents.

Also, you are in the spring season, which means that the grasses may be rich in fructans. Take a look at this website: -- I think you'll find it very helpful.

It's important to feed as much forages (hay and/or pasture) as he wants. So, have your hay analyzed for sugar and starch levels to ensure that's it's safe to feed. If not, you should soak it to remove the excess sugars.

And finally, see if you can find a magnesium supplement. He should have 4,000 mg per 100 kg of body weight.

I hope this is helpful.

All the best,

Dr. Getty

Where are you from? Bayfield, CO