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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: Horse with history of choking

Hi Ashley, I feel for you. Choke is scary. I am a licensed veterinary technician and I hope your vet has helped teach you how to stop choke if you happen to be there while it is happening. I have a 30 year old horse with worn down teeth and he was starting to get skinny and had choked (badly!) on his old feed. I switched to moistened LMF Prime Time feed and it worked awesome. It moistens up nicely and quickly, he put good weight on (not just belly weight) and has kept his weight just right. He loves it too. It is for seniors, but I don't know why you could not use it. It is not senior feed WITH forage, just feed. Ask the "boss".

Where are you from? Sedro-Woolley, WA

How did you locate this forum? newsletter

Re: Horse with history of choking

Hi Ashley,

I can certainly understand your fear. Choke is a terrifying event and can lead to esophageal scar tissue, that can cause obstructions, making swallowing even more difficult.

So, the key, as you know, is to feed mushy feed. As Cristine suggested, you can feed a commercially fortified feed with enough water added to make it soft and easy to swallow. And she suggested a senior feed, which is a good choice, since senior feeds are extruded, making them easy to dissolve in water. Look for a feed that has extra fat or you can add some fat to his diet in the form of flaxseed meal or even by adding some oil. Go with flaxseed oil, combined with rice bran oil or canola oil. Start slowly -- horses typically do not like oily feed and build up to 1/2 cup per meal.

Feed off the ground, as well -- this is a natural stance for horses and they are less likely to choke than if you feed at shoulder height (like most feeders are placed in barns).

Water should always be close by -- right next to the feed bucket. And encourage movement -- standing in one place for hours can be damaging to the digestive tract muscles (including the esophagus) making peristalsis (digestive tract movement) slowed.

Finally give him a pro/prebiotic, preferably along with digestive enzymes, to help him gain more calories from his feed and forages.

All the best,

Dr. Getty
Author of Feed Your Horse Like A Horse

I have just recently got a horse with a history of choking (badly)! He will be fine for about a couple of months and then start constantly choking on his food! After that he will not eat anything for a few days, and will not eat what he choked on for a couple of weeks! It is hard to keep the weight on him without having him choke on it (as he also has a high metabolism too)! I was just wondering if there was something that I can feed him (other than beet pulp and watered down alfalfa cubes (because he is already getting alot of those)), that would not choke on but will also help him in gaining and maintaining more weight? Without also making him hyper.

Where are you from? Bayfield, CO