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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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Old gelding with possible Cushing's Syndrome-what to feed and supplements

My husband has a 22 year-old gelding who has always been on the heavy side. He has arthritis and moonblindness. Starting last summer, he did not shed out like he normally has. He lost his pasture buddy about that time when we had to euthanize him. We have had his thyroid tested, and it came back normal. My husband and vet decided against doing DST testing for Cushing's on him in case it might bring on laminitis. The vet also did not feel that he wanted to prescribe Pergolide without testing and really didn't feel that it would appreciably increase his quality of life since he is retired and isn't a working horse. We live on 150 acres and have taken him off the spring grass. Normally, he is on 150 acres 24/7. I used to have him on Grand Complete by Grand Meadows, but the vet suggested that I take him off of it because of the high amount of gloucosamine in it. We feed him Nutrena Equine Senior Lite, horse quality coastal hay that we grow ourselves, and a salt block. I am wondering what is the best supplement to give him to make sure that he is getting all of the fatty acids and trace minerals that he needs and perhaps some help with his arthritis. I had considered switching him to Triple Crown Lite feed, but the vet said that unless he was totally on a dry lot, it wouldn't make any difference. We do not want him to live the rest of his life on a dry lot. When the grass has dried up, we will put him back out on the land. We also don't want to use a grazing muzzle on him. I would really appreciate suggestions for supplements. Thanks so much.

Where are you from? Texas

How did you locate this forum? a friend

Re: Old gelding with possible Cushing's Syndrome-what to feed and supplements

Hello Kris,

Thank you for writing about your horse. I am in agreement with you about putting him in a dry lot or using a grazing muzzle. Both of these things are stressful and therefore, increase the secretion of the stress hormone, cortisol. Cortisol is already high in a Cushings horse, so adding stress to his life only exacerbates the problem.

I have a couple of suggestions for you. First is a double dose of Cush Alleve. This will help control his Cushings symptoms and many of my cliets find that they do not need to put their horses on pergolide while using this supplement.

The second suggestion is Flex IR, since this joint supplement does not have glucosamine. The "jury is not out" quite yet on how much an effect glucoseamine has on the Cushings (hence, insulin resistant) horse, but this product may be helpful to try.

I prefer Triple Crown Lite or Low Starch to the equine senior feed that you're offering since these TC feeds are lower in sugar and starch. Also, avoid sweet treats such as carrots and apples. Instead, give him broken-up alfalfa cubes for a treat, or for more fun, try Skodes Treats.
I hope this is helpful.

All the best,

Dr. Getty

Where are you from? Bayfield, CO