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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. 

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All the best,

 Dr. Getty 


Ask the Nutritionist: Dr. Getty's Forum for Equine Nutrition
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Wobbler Syndrome

I have a 3yo ASB gelding that we suspected having wobbler syndrome. Vet has done complete blood work including EPM, all negative. Sam has grown INCREDIBLY over the last couple of months. He's been on stall rest for the past week. Three days ago he was clumsy. When he was taken out yesterday he could barely stay on his feet. We then took his set off (crupper), put him up for the night and prepared for the worst this morning. He was at least 50% improved this morning which leads me to believe this could be something he outgrows. I've never heard of wobbler syndrome reversing itself almost overnight. Also it appears relief occured when the tail was not raised by a crupper. I'm now suspecting a spinal injury or alignment problem. He's in a paddock now, bucking, snorting and flagging his tail. It's not pretty but he's staying on his feet and, progressively getting better. My question is what type of a diet and/or supplements should he be on? Presently we're taking it day by day and have requested an appointment with a chiropractic specialist but will have to wait at least two weeks for an appointment.

Where are you from? Virginia

How did you locate this forum? Google

Re: Wobbler Syndrome

Hi Cindy,

I'm so sorry to hear that you and your horse are going through this difficult time.

Regarding the diet, it is advisable to stop feeding starchy feeds that are grain-based (oats, corn, barley, etc.). High amounts of grain are implicated in osteopathic disorders in growing horses and while he is nearly full grown, he may have some more growing to do, so it is best to discontnue any starchy feeds (if you're are currently doing so). Consider a low starch feed such as Triple Crown Low Starch, or Blue Seal Trotter.

But, you will definitely need to add a supplement that meets all his needs and fills in any gaps. If you are feeding a commercial ration according to the directions, you may not need an additional vitamin/mineral supplement. But, flaxseed meal (I recommend Nutra Flax since it doesn't have any added grain), would be beneficial in reducing inflammation. And, additional vitamin E is very important. That's why you'll also want to get a plain vitamin E supplement -- I recommend E5000 -- that does not contain added selenium.

However, if you are not feeding it according to the suggested amounts, add Glanzen Complete to provide not only omega 3s, but also a full spectrum of vitamins and minerals, including extra vitamin E.

The tendency is to restrict feed intake, but this can backfire on you because of the nutritional needs. I would suggest that you give him enough hay to allow him to "graze" throughout the day. You can try placing it in a hay bag to slow down his eating.

I hope this is helpful. This situation is complex, but manageable. If you find that a private consultation would be more helpful, please let me know. This way I could go over his history, medical interventions, exercise, diet, and more to come up with a customized feeding plan.

All the best,

Dr. Getty

Where are you from? Bayfield, CO