Safely Putting on the Pounds TEST 3BB TITRE


Dr. Juliette M. Getty takes a closer look at why horses may be losing weight or staying thin. She discusses safe ways to put pounds on underweight horses. Learn more:
360Petsupplies | Blog | Safely Putting On The Pounds Test 3Bb Titre

Thin horse grazing in the field. Adobe Stock/satit

By Juliet M. Getty, Ph.D.

When it comes to weight problems, we are more likely to be concerned about the overweight horse. But the underweight horse can be just as troubling. To solve the problem, the common approach is to add more calories. But hold your horses! (Pun intended.)  We must first determine the reason your horse is underweight in the first place.

Start with the teeth

Dental problems can be easy to miss. Watch to see if your horse is chewing with his mouth open or dropping partially chewed food. He may also not finish his meals or salivate excessively. Or he may begin tossing his head.

All horses should have a dental exam every year to check for points or infection. Older horses may have loose teeth or excess molar wear making it difficult to chew their hay. For these horses, I recommend wetting their feed and offering a chopped forage (preferably one without molasses) that is available ‘round the clock.

Next, make sure your horse’s liver is functioning well

The liver plays a key role in digestive health, metabolism, and cleansing the blood from toxins. Any disruption in its function could cause your horse’s appetite to decline and contribute to weight loss.

This vital organ contributes to health in a variety of ways:

  • Production of bile. The horse relies on bile to start fat digestion. Bile also aids in detoxification.
  • Fat metabolism. Fat is processed in the liver to make is useful to the body’s tissues.
  • Synthesis of blood proteins. These are necessary for water balance, as well as for transporting minerals to tissues.
  • Storage of nutrients. These include the fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K) as well as B vitamins, minerals, and glycogen (storage form of glucose).

Test your horse’s blood yearly to see how he’s doing on the inside.

Your veterinarian is the best resource for interpreting the blood test results, but some tests include

Juliet M. Getty, Ph.D. is an independent equine nutritionist with a wide U.S. and international following. Her research-based approach optimizes equine health by aligning physiology and instincts with correct feeding and nutrition practices. Dr. Getty’s goal is to empower the horseperson with the confidence and knowledge to provide the best nutrition for his or her horse’s needs.

Dr. Getty’s fundamental resource book, Feed Your Horse Like a Horse, is available in paperback and Kindle versions. The paperback version is available at — buy the book there and have it inscribed by the author. Print and Kindle versions are also available at Amazon; find print versions at other online retail bookstores. The seven individual volumes in Dr. Getty’s topic-centered “Spotlight on Equine Nutrition” series are available with special package pricing at her website, and also at Amazon in print and Kindle versions. Dr. Getty’s books make ideal gifts for equestrians!

Find a world of useful information for the horseperson at Sign up for Dr. Getty’s informative, free e-newsletter, Forage for Thought; browse her resource library of articles and tips; listen to recorded interviews; and purchase recordings of her educational teleseminars and webinars. 

Find a variety of quality supplements and whole foods at her online Free Supplement Store at Reach Dr. Getty directly at