In the article titled “Equine Veterinarians: Expertise in Horse Nutrition and Common Issues with Feeding,” you will learn about the valuable expertise equine veterinarians have in horse nutrition and the various feeding issues they encounter. Dr. Kelly Vineyard, an equine nutrition expert from Purina, engages in a discussion with equine veterinarian Dr. Erica Lacher, where they highlight common mistakes in horse feeding and the importance of accurately assessing a horse’s body condition score. Additionally, they emphasize the significance of proper nutrition in managing weight and offer recommendations for addressing gastric health issues and soundness concerns. The focus is on the collaboration between horse owners and veterinarians for optimal horse health.

In the engaging introduction, the speaker warmly welcomes Dr. Erica Lacher, an experienced equine veterinarian and horse owner, to discuss common feeding mistakes and problems related to horses. The audience is encouraged to pay attention as Dr. Lacher shares her insights and advice on topics such as obesity in horses, the true cost of cheaper horse feeds, and the importance of involving a veterinarian for medical issues. With Dr. Lacher’s expertise and the informative discussion that follows, viewers are sure to gain valuable knowledge and be inspired to make better choices when it comes to horse nutrition and feeding practices.

Equine Veterinarians: Expertise in Horse Nutrition and Common Issues with Feeding

Equine Veterinarians’ Expertise in Horse Nutrition

Equine veterinarians play a crucial role in understanding and addressing the nutritional needs of horses. With their extensive knowledge and experience in horse health, they are well-equipped to provide accurate and personalized nutritional recommendations. From evaluating a horse’s body condition score to determining specific nutrient requirements, veterinarians are the go-to professionals when it comes to ensuring that horses receive a balanced and optimal diet.

Understanding of Equine Nutritional Needs

Equine veterinarians have a deep understanding of the nutritional needs of horses. They are well-versed in the unique digestive system of horses, which requires a constant supply of forage to maintain proper gut function. Veterinarians consider the horse’s age, breed, workload, and reproductive status when determining their nutritional requirements. They take into account the horse’s energy, protein, vitamin, and mineral needs to provide a diet that is tailored to meet their individual needs.

Experience with Various Horse Diets

Equine veterinarians have vast experience with various horse diets. They are familiar with different types of forage, such as hay and pasture, and understand the benefits and limitations of each. They also have knowledge of concentrated feeds, including grains, pelleted feeds, and supplements, to optimize the horse’s nutrient intake. Veterinarians consider the horse’s overall diet composition, ensuring a proper balance of carbohydrates, fats, protein, and fiber, to support the horse’s overall health and performance.

Role in Providing Nutritional Recommendations

Equine veterinarians have a vital role in providing nutritional recommendations for horses. They consider several factors to determine the best feeding program for each horse. One of the essential factors is the horse’s body condition score.

Factors Equine Veterinarians Evaluate in Horse Nutrition

Horse’s Body Condition Score

Equine veterinarians evaluate a horse’s body condition score to assess their overall health and nutritional status. Body condition scoring involves evaluating the amount of fat cover over specific areas of the horse’s body. By assessing the horse’s body condition, veterinarians can identify whether a horse is underweight, overweight, or at an ideal weight. This information helps veterinarians tailor a feeding program that supports the horse’s weight management goals and overall well-being.

Desired Weight Maintenance

Maintaining a horse’s ideal weight is essential for their overall health and performance. Equine veterinarians work closely with horse owners to determine the horse’s desired weight and develop a feeding plan to achieve it. Whether the horse needs to gain weight or lose weight, veterinarians consider the horse’s energy requirements and formulate a diet that provides adequate nutrition while promoting healthy weight management.

Specific Nutrient Requirements

Equine veterinarians take into account the horse’s specific nutrient requirements when developing a feeding program. Each horse has unique needs based on their age, athletic demands, and overall health status. Veterinarians carefully assess the horse’s need for energy, protein, vitamins, and minerals, and ensure that their diet meets these requirements. They may recommend supplements or specialized feeds to address any nutrient deficiencies or imbalances.

Provision of Balanced Diet

One of the key roles of equine veterinarians in horse nutrition is ensuring the provision of a balanced diet. A balanced diet includes the appropriate proportions and types of carbohydrates, fats, protein, and fiber. Veterinarians work with horse owners to create a feeding plan that incorporates forage, concentrates, and supplements in the right quantities. A balanced diet not only supports the horse’s overall health but also helps prevent nutritional-related issues and promotes optimal performance.

Common Mistakes in Horse Feeding

Despite horse owners’ best intentions, there are common mistakes that can occur with horse feeding. Equine veterinarians are well aware of these mishaps and can provide insights to avoid them.

Overfeeding or Underfeeding

One of the most common mistakes in horse feeding is overfeeding or underfeeding. Both scenarios can have detrimental effects on a horse’s health. Overfeeding can lead to obesity, which increases the risk of various health issues, including laminitis and joint problems. On the other hand, underfeeding can result in malnutrition, weight loss, and insufficient energy for daily activities. Equine veterinarians are skilled in calculating a horse’s energy requirements and can provide guidance on appropriate feeding quantities to avoid these extremes.

Dependence on Cheap and Low-Calorie Feeds

Another mistake in horse feeding is the dependence on cheap and low-calorie feeds. While affordability is a factor for many horse owners, it is essential to prioritize the nutritional value of the feed. Cheap feeds are often low in essential nutrients, which can lead to nutritional imbalances and deficiencies. Equine veterinarians can recommend high-quality feeds that provide the necessary nutrition without breaking the bank.

Missed Nutritional Balance

Achieving a proper nutritional balance is crucial for a horse’s overall health. However, it is easy to miss this balance if the horse’s diet is not carefully planned and monitored. For example, a diet high in carbohydrates and low in fiber can lead to digestive issues such as colic or gastric ulcers. Equine veterinarians understand the importance of achieving the right balance of nutrients and can assist horse owners in designing a diet that promotes optimal health and prevents potential medical issues.

The Importance of Accurate Assessment in Feeding

Accurately assessing a horse’s nutritional needs is vital for their well-being. Proper feeding practices can prevent various conditions and support the horse’s overall health and performance.

Prevention of Conditions like Laminitis

One of the critical roles of accurate assessment in feeding is the prevention of conditions like laminitis. Laminitis is a painful hoof condition that can occur due to several factors, including poor nutrition. Equine veterinarians can assess a horse’s diet to ensure that it is balanced and appropriate for their individual needs. By preventing nutritional imbalances and managing a horse’s weight, veterinarians can help reduce the risk of laminitis and other related conditions.

Managing Horse’s Weight

Accurate assessment in feeding is essential for managing a horse’s weight effectively. Maintaining a healthy weight is crucial for overall health and performance. Equine veterinarians can evaluate a horse’s body condition score and provide recommendations on adjusting the diet to support weight management goals. They can offer insights on caloric intake, exercise routines, and dietary modifications to ensure the horse maintains an ideal weight without compromising their health.

Accurate Calculation of Horse Feed Intake

Accurately calculating a horse’s feed intake is essential to meet their nutritional requirements. Equine veterinarians have the expertise to estimate the appropriate amount of feed based on a horse’s size, workload, and metabolic rate. They consider factors such as the energy density of different feeds, the horse’s nutrient needs, and any specific dietary restrictions. By accurately calculating feed intake, veterinarians can ensure that horses receive adequate nutrition and avoid overfeeding or underfeeding.

Equine Veterinarians: Expertise in Horse Nutrition and Common Issues with Feeding

Consequences of Poor Nutrition

Poor nutrition in horses can lead to a range of detrimental consequences. It is crucial to prioritize proper feeding to avoid these negative outcomes and promote the horse’s overall health and well-being.

Obesity in Horses

One of the consequences of poor nutrition is obesity in horses. Obesity significantly increases the risk of various health issues, including insulin resistance, laminitis, and joint problems. Overfeeding or feeding high-calorie, low-fiber diets can contribute to weight gain and obesity. Equine veterinarians can provide guidance on appropriate feeding practices to prevent obesity and maintain a healthy body condition in horses.

Development of Gastric Ulcers

Poor nutrition can also contribute to the development of gastric ulcers in horses. Diets that are low in fiber and high in concentrates can disrupt the normal digestive processes and lead to the erosion of the stomach lining. Equine veterinarians understand the importance of incorporating adequate amounts of forage in a horse’s diet to promote proper gut health and prevent gastric ulcers.

Occurrence of Allergies

Inadequate nutrition can increase the risk of allergies in horses. Poor-quality feeds or feeds that contain allergens can trigger allergic reactions, such as skin rashes or respiratory issues. Equine veterinarians can help identify any potential dietary triggers and recommend appropriate diet changes to manage and prevent allergies in horses.

Issues with Horse Soundness

Poor nutrition can also have detrimental effects on a horse’s soundness. Nutrient deficiencies or imbalances can weaken the horse’s bones, muscles, and joints, leading to issues such as lameness or poor performance. Equine veterinarians assess a horse’s nutritional status and recommend appropriate dietary modifications to support optimal soundness and prevent musculoskeletal problems.

Beyond Nutrition: Addressing Medical Issues

Equine veterinarians play a crucial role in not only addressing nutritional needs but also addressing medical issues that may affect a horse’s overall health and well-being.

Addressing Ulcers and Lameness

Equine veterinarians are well-equipped to address medical issues such as ulcers and lameness. They can diagnose and treat gastric ulcers, which can be caused or exacerbated by poor nutrition. Veterinarians may recommend dietary modifications, such as increasing the amount of forage and decreasing the intake of concentrates, to help alleviate ulcer symptoms. Additionally, they can provide appropriate management protocols and recommend any necessary medical interventions to address lameness issues and promote optimal soundness.

Medical Interventions for Allergies

When it comes to allergies, equine veterinarians can provide medical interventions to help manage the condition. They can perform allergy testing to identify specific allergens and develop an individualized treatment plan. This may include dietary modifications, such as eliminating potential allergens from the horse’s diet, as well as prescribing medications or immunotherapy to control allergic reactions. By addressing both the nutritional and medical aspects of allergies, veterinarians can help horses lead healthier lives.

When to Seek Veterinary Assistance

Equine veterinarians are available to provide assistance and guidance whenever there is a concern regarding a horse’s nutrition or health. Horse owners should not hesitate to seek veterinary assistance if they notice any changes in their horse’s appetite, weight, or overall well-being. Early intervention by a veterinarian can prevent potential complications and ensure that appropriate measures are taken to address any underlying issues.

Equine Veterinarians: Expertise in Horse Nutrition and Common Issues with Feeding

Nutritional Recommendations for Common Health Issues

Equine veterinarians can provide specific nutritional recommendations for common health issues that horses may experience. By tailoring the diet to address these concerns, veterinarians can support the horse’s overall health and well-being.

Nutrition for Gastric Health Concerns

For horses with gastric health concerns, equine veterinarians may recommend dietary modifications to optimize gastrointestinal function and reduce the risk of ulcers. Increasing the horse’s access to high-quality forage, providing multiple small meals throughout the day, and offering slow feeders or haynets can help mimic the horse’s natural grazing behavior and promote proper digestion. Veterinarians may also suggest incorporating supplements or feeds specifically formulated to support gastric health.

Feeding Practices for Soundness Issues

In cases where a horse is experiencing soundness issues, equine veterinarians can provide feeding practices to support musculoskeletal health. They may recommend diets rich in specific nutrients, such as omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants, to promote joint and muscle health. Additionally, veterinarians may advise the use of targeted supplements to support soundness and aid in the recovery and management of various musculoskeletal conditions.

Managing Allergies with Specific Diet Changes

Equine veterinarians can assist in managing allergies through specific diet changes. By identifying potential allergens and eliminating them from the horse’s diet, veterinarians can help reduce allergic reactions and alleviate symptoms. They may also recommend diets that focus on supporting the horse’s immune system and overall health, such as diets rich in omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants. Veterinarians can provide guidance tailored to each horse’s individual needs, helping them manage allergies and maintaining their overall well-being.

Influential Products in Equine Nutrition

Several products have made a significant impact in equine nutrition, offering innovative solutions to address specific dietary needs.

Introduction of Purina Enrich

Purina Enrich is a notable product that has gained recognition in the equine nutrition industry. It is a concentrated feed supplement designed to provide essential vitamins and minerals to support overall health and well-being. Equine veterinarians often recommend Purina Enrich to help balance diets, especially for horses on forage-based diets or those that require additional nutrient supplementation. This product has been influential in ensuring horses receive the necessary nutrients for optimal health, particularly in cases where specific dietary restrictions or imbalances are present.

Efficacy of Grazing Muzzles

Grazing muzzles have become influential tools in managing a horse’s diet and preventing overgrazing or overconsumption of pasture. These muzzles allow horses to have limited access to grass, restricting their intake while still enabling them to graze comfortably. Grazing muzzles have become a valuable resource in managing weight gain, preventing obesity, and reducing the risk of certain metabolic conditions. Equine veterinarians often advise horse owners to use grazing muzzles when appropriate, as part of an overall feeding and management strategy.

Benefits of Omega Match

Omega Match is a supplement that provides a balanced ratio of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, which are essential for overall health and well-being. Equine veterinarians recognize the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids in supporting immune function, reducing inflammation, and promoting a healthy coat and skin. Omega Match has gained popularity for its ability to improve the overall balance of fatty acids in a horse’s diet, particularly when their forage or concentrate intake may be lacking in these essential nutrients. Veterinarians may recommend Omega Match to ensure that horses receive adequate levels of omega-3 fatty acids, supporting their overall health and performance.

Equine Veterinarians: Expertise in Horse Nutrition and Common Issues with Feeding

Role of Veterinarians in Horse Healthcare Decisions

Equine veterinarians play a critical role in horse healthcare decisions, including those related to nutrition. Their expertise, knowledge, and experience make them valuable partners in ensuring the health and well-being of horses.

Importance of Seeking Veterinary Expertise

Seeking veterinary expertise is essential for all aspects of horse healthcare, including nutrition. Equine veterinarians have the training and knowledge to provide accurate and personalized recommendations. By involving veterinarians in the decision-making process, horse owners can ensure that their horses receive optimal dietary care that addresses their individual needs. Veterinary expertise is invaluable in preventing potential health issues and promoting overall health and performance.

Collaboration in Feeding Programs

Equine veterinarians often collaborate with horse owners and other equine professionals to develop and implement feeding programs. They work closely with nutritionists, trainers, and farriers to ensure that the horse’s dietary needs are met in conjunction with other aspects of their care. This collaborative approach allows for a comprehensive feeding program that takes into account all aspects of the horse’s health and well-being.

Consulting Veterinary Opinion during Crisis

During times of crisis or emergency situations, consulting veterinary opinion is crucial. When a horse’s health is compromised, equine veterinarians are the primary source of guidance and support. In cases of severe illness, injury, or sudden changes in health status, veterinarians can provide immediate interventions and adjust the horse’s diet accordingly. Their expertise and quick response can make a significant difference in the horse’s outcome and recovery.


Equine veterinarians’ expertise in horse nutrition plays a vital role in ensuring the health and well-being of horses. Their understanding of equine nutritional needs, experience with various horse diets, and role in providing nutritional recommendations are crucial in maintaining optimal health and performance. By evaluating factors such as body condition score, desired weight maintenance, specific nutrient requirements, and provision of a balanced diet, veterinarians can help prevent common feeding mistakes and address horse nutrition effectively. Accurate assessment in feeding is essential in preventing conditions like laminitis, managing a horse’s weight, and ensuring the accurate calculation of horse feed intake. Poor nutrition can lead to obesity, the development of gastric ulcers, allergies, and issues with horse soundness, emphasizing the importance of proper feeding practices. Equine veterinarians also play a role in addressing medical issues beyond nutrition, such as ulcers, lameness, and allergies, through medical interventions and specialized dietary recommendations. Influential products in equine nutrition, such as Purina Enrich, grazing muzzles, and Omega Match, have provided innovative solutions to meet horses’ specific dietary needs. The role of equine veterinarians in horse healthcare decisions is vital, highlighting the importance of seeking their expertise, collaboration in feeding programs, and consulting their opinion during crisis situations. In conclusion, equine veterinarians’ expertise in horse nutrition is paramount in promoting proper nutrition and its link to overall health in horses.

Equine veterinarians have extensive experience in horse nutrition and feeding programs. They are familiar with the common mistakes and issues that horse owners often encounter when it comes to feeding their horses. To help you prevent these problems, Kelly Vineyard, Ph.D., an equine nutrition expert from Team Purina, talks to equine veterinarian Dr. Erica Lacher, the owner of Springhill Equine Veterinary Clinic in Newberry, Florida.

Dr. Lacher, who co-hosts the popular podcast Straight from the Horse Doctor’s Mouth, shares valuable insights into the most common feeding problems she sees with horses and provides excellent advice on how to address them. Here are a few key points she emphasizes:

  1. Assess your horse’s body condition score: A fat horse is not a healthy horse. Dr. Lacher explains how to accurately evaluate your horse’s body condition and suggests making changes to your feeding program to prevent dangerous conditions like laminitis.

  2. Be cautious of cheaper horse feeds: While less expensive horse feeds may seem attractive, they are often lower in calories. This means you’ll need to feed your horse more pounds per day to maintain their desired weight. Dr. Lacher advises focusing on the recommended feeding rate and nutritional content rather than solely considering the bag price.

  3. Nutrition is not a remedy for everything: Although nutrition is vital for good health, there are instances where medical intervention is necessary. These include conditions such as lameness, allergies, and gastric ulcers. Dr. Lacher offers her nutritional recommendations to help you work with your veterinarian in treating gastric health issues and soundness concerns.

If you’re looking for the right solutions for your horses, consider Purina’s research-based horse feeds and supplements. For more information and to stay connected with Purina, you can visit their:





Equine Veterinarians: Expertise in Horse Nutrition and Common Issues with Feeding