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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. 

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All the best,

 Dr. Getty 


Ask the Nutritionist: Dr. Getty's Forum for Equine Nutrition
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Re: 24 yo QH gelding w/cushings

Greetings Joy,

Thank you for your patience.

Age, Cushing's, navicular, diarrhea, and stress are all conditions that your horse is going through and I would like to help you come up with an overall plan that addresses each of these areas. The best way I can do that is through a personal phone visit. That way, I can go over everything -- his history, medical treatments, medications, exercise, environment, diet, stress level, and more to customize a diet that will help him recover, prevent laminitis, and give him many more years of quality living. So please consider this.

In the meantime, Balance EQ, at a double dose, is a worthwhile change. In addition, discontinue feeding Safe Choice. Its %NSC is way too high. Instead, go with some lower in sugar and starch such as Purina Wellsolve L/S or Triple Crown Lite or Triple Crown Safe Starch.

His diarrhea can be due to any number of problems, so we'll take a closer look at that if we visit over the phone.

Finally, he needs vitamin C -- at his age, he no longer produces enough to protect his joints and bones. Pure C is a good choice.

So please let me know if I can assist you further.

All the best,

Dr. Getty [:]
Author of Feed Your Horse Like A Horse

Dr. Getty,

I have a 24 yo QH gelding which I raised. He was diagnosed w/navicular @ 14 and cushings @ 20. He is 15.2 hands and about 1100 lbs. He has been on 60 mg of cyproheptadine once per day. I feed him Probiotics, Clovite and Nutrena SafeChoice(2cups) and shredded beet pulp (4cups) twice per day. He is spoiled and likes to think he is getting a treat, hence the grain twice daily. He also gets about 1 cup powdered mineral and free choice mineral and salt blocks are also available. He is on free-choice grass hay and from now until July is not let out on pasture without his grazing muzzle. The first year I kept him shut in while the other horses went out, but he was depressed and needed the exercise. Now he is happy to put the muzzle on and comes in each night for hay.

I started the beet pulp about 3 months ago when he was having an episode of what I thought might be known as senior horse diarhea. This was normal stools with water released at the end of a bm. A couple of times (when it was very cold) his hind legs were all iced up with dark brown ice as a result. I have done a lot of research online for his cushings and then the diarhea to try and get him straightened out this winter and it does seem to be resolved. This may be because he is getting more exercise now as we have a had a pretty tough winter and the horses would hardly go out of the corral due to the icy condtitions.

We treat the navicular though his farrier and have had good results. While I don't ride him consistently, he does like to go for a ride and is a joy for me to ride. I previously did let children ride him, but have retired him from that as he did not enjoy those activities. I really try to watch his body condition and monitor his feet and gait for any signs of discomfort. I did not realize until we had problems, how quick to founder he would be with cushings, absolutely no grain, no green grass, no alfalfa and no moldy hay AT ALL! I clip his coat in May and July to keep him more comfortable and blanket him in the winter when needed.

I would like to switch him from the cyproheptadine to Balance EQ. I think this would be more natural, less expensive alternative and support more of the insulin resistance issues he is having. I previously had him on 60mg twice a day (which is the max my vet would prescribe) and dropped him back to 60 mg once per day due to the cost. Are there other changes I should make to his feed program, especially if there is something that I am doing wrong.

Thanks for your help and the great forum. It is loaded with information.


Where are you from? Bayfield, CO