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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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Re: Older Gelding Weight Loss

Hello Lori,

The first thing that comes to mind is the possibility of an ulcer. You mentioned that he is on pasture 24/7, but since there is not enough healthy grass for him to eat, he truly needs a steady, consistent supply of grass hay. His stomach produces acid continuously, even when empty, and if there isn't enough to chew, the acid will not be neutralized (saliva is a natural antacid, produced by chewing).

So the first step is to give him grass hay -- he should always have it and never run out.

Alfalfa is also very helpful, not only to boost protein quality but also to serve as a buffer. So continue giving him alfalfa and you can increase it to 30% of his hay ration.

Nutritional gaps are also likely, though not likely the cause of weight loss. Nevertheless, a good multiple vitamin/mineral supplement is worth adding since you are not feeding enough senior feed to meet all his nutritional needs. And one that is flaxseed meal based with add the omega 3s you're after. Go with Glanzen Complete as a highly comprehensive supplement. Or you can choose Nutra Flax along with High Point.

The hindgut microbial population is very important in maintaining the horse's health. Synbiotic EQ is an excellent choice -- continue using it at a double dose.

Finally, he needs vitamin C since he no longer produces enough of it. Start with 4,000 to 5,000 mg per day (built up over a week's time).

I have several recorded teleseminars available that you may find helpful - in particular, the one on aging horses and the one on preventing ulcers. Scroll down to the bottom of this page to review the available recordings:

Keep me posted!

Thank you for writing and happy New Year!

Dr. Getty
Author of Feed Your Horse Like A Horse

Hi Dr. Getty,
I have a 25 year old gelding, Buck, that I've owned since birth. He is in a pasture 24x7 that has some grass (minimal due to our drought this summer). He gets fed twice daily, flake alfalfa and 1 1/3 scoop Sr Equine. He is supplemented with Horseshoers Secret & SynBiotic EQ. The latter was introduced into his diet to address multiple colics, which have ceased (the only time in his life he colic'd was during the 5 years we lived in Wichita Falls; we are now "back home" in Ft Worth. I have his teeth done (just done mid November) and he gets wormed twice/year. No one believes he is 25, he looks (& acts) like a 5 year old. I ride him lightly for pleasure, arena & trails. He has ALWAYS been an easy keeper, usually have to worry about him being too fat. However, he has been dropping weight the last few months. Nothing significant but I can definitely tell with the back cinch tightness. He started dropping in September and I actually moved him to a new facility in Oct. He seems happy and acclimated to his new environment but has continued to drop weight. I'd like to add Omega 3 oil to his diet and there are so many products to choose from, I'd like your opinion. It'd be great if there was a product that had the flax with biotin so I could perhaps stop with the Horseshoers Secret and substitute the new supplement. I'd like to continue with the Synbiotic EQ as he hasn't had any colic episodes since he's been on it. I've looked at Flaxin3, Proweight, Reitsport, NutraFlax .... would really appreciate your thoughts and input. Thank you for providing this forum.
Sincerely, Lori

Where are you from? Bayfield, CO