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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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Weight fluctuation

Happy New Year Dr. Getty,
Since finding your forum I have followed your advice as closely as possible. I have 2 gaited mares. They have 24/7 access to hay and fresh water and receive 2x daily feedings of a grain/pellet mix with Glanzen, Ration Plus & a daily wormer. They also receive a flake of alfalfa once a day. They have both been doing very well.
My question is about my 5 yo TWH mare. Although she generally maintains a good weight I have noticed that the slightest thing will cause her to lose weight rapidly. Once she drops weight it takes a very long time to get her back to a satisfactory weight. She is not as narrow as a lot of TWH are. In fact her front chest and barrel are quite solid. Her back end is a little smaller than I'd like but when she is in good weight she looks okay. When her weight is down, her ribs will be covered but her back and hips will be more prominent than I'd like. Because she can lose weight so fast but gain so slow, I was wondering if I'm overlooking something?
Do you have any advice?
Thanks again for your site.

Where are you from? Texas

How did you locate this forum? Google search

Re: Weight fluctuation

Hello Angela,

Thank you for writing and I'm very pleased to hear that your horses are doing well. You have them on a good plan.

Regarding your mare and her weight, there are many causes of weight loss or difficulty in holding a normal weight. The most common cause is poor teeth. So, be sure to have her teeth floated at least every 12 months, and even more often, if necessary.

Disease can cause weight loss so have her blood tested for inflammation and liver function. If there are weeds in your pasture that she may be consuming, liver damage can often be a problem and this can very slowly lead to weight loss as a side effect.

Worm infestation can also be a problem. Once each year, it's a good idea to give your horses a 5 day dose of a Panacur PowerPak which is a double dose of fenbendazole. This will get rid of encysted larvae that most other wormers will not touch.

Finally, consider the possiblity of an ulcer. If she has a history of speed eventing, an ulcer is very likely.

Once you've ruled out health problems, consider adding more fat to her diet. If you're already giving her the full dose of Glanzen -- 3 scoops per day -- then add some stabilized rice bran (such as ADM Alliance Natural Glo).

I hope these ideas are helpful. Please keep me posted.

All the best,

Dr. Getty

Where are you from? Bayfield, CO