Help Sick Horses Heal with Nutrition

Nutritional choices can either help or hinder a horse’s health problems, diseases, or ailments.
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The No. 1 goal when feeding a sick or hospitalized horse is to keep the horse eating to maintain body condition. Thus, it might be necessary to feed horses a less than desirable food choice in moderation if the animal will not consume anything else, such as alfalfa hay rather than grass hay. | Photo: Erica Larson/The Horse

When a horse is sick or recovering from illness, feeding choices can either help him on the road to recovery or send him further down the path of distress. Therefore, it’s important to know what feeds and forages are better for sick horses and which ones aren’t recommended.

Bryan Waldridge, DVM, MS, Dipl. ABVP, ACVIM, presented a lecture on feeding sick and hospitalized horses at the 2012 KER Conference, held May 17-18 in Lexington, Ky.

He first discussed several reasons horses could cause a horse to stop eating before reviewing a few specific disorders and illnesses that can greatly benefit from careful nutritional management

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Erica Larson, former news editor for The Horse, holds a degree in journalism with an external specialty in equine science from Michigan State University in East Lansing. A Massachusetts native, she grew up in the saddle and has dabbled in a variety of disciplines including foxhunting, saddle seat, and mounted games. Currently, Erica competes in eventing with her OTTB, Dorado.

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