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Ask the Vet

Got a burning question about equine health? Dr. Lydia Gray is here to help.

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Lydia Gray, DVM
Dr. Lydia Gray is the Medical Director and Staff Veterinarian for SmartPak Equine in Plymouth, MA, where she directs the research and development of products and provides horse health and nutrition education to a wide variety of audiences. Dr. Gray’s work has appeared in more than a dozen general and trade publications and she speaks frequently around the country. She is the proud owner of a Trakehner gelding named "Newman” that she competes in dressage and combined driving, is president of her local driving club in Illinois and just graduated with distinction from the USDF "L" judges program. Heavily involved in organized veterinary medicine, she is a past president of the Illinois State Veterinary Medical Association and has served on numerous committees for both the AAEP and the AVMA.
For emergencies, you call your own vet, but what if you have a general health question or want an explanation on an equine medical mystery? Submit your questions here, and Lydia Gray, DVM will answer selected submissions. Send your questions to and use subject line "Ask the Vet."

Upcoming Topics Include:

  • Deworming
  • Hoof Health 
  • Fly Control
  • Skin Problems

Latest Question

What kind of exercise is best for managing my horse's weight?
I have a 15-year-old mare who is a very easy keeper. I manage her diet pretty carefully, but I’m wondering how much of a role exercise can play in managing her weight. I usually ride four days a week for about an hour at low to moderate intensity. Is that enough to make a difference? If I need to add more exercise, is it better to ride her more often at the same level I work her now, or increase the intensity of our rides?
Read Dr. Gray's Answer here >> 


Read More Ask the Vet Questions

Could my horse's restricted diet cause a vitamin deficiency?
My horse is a very easy keeper. He wears a grazing muzzle in the spring and summer which seems to keep him from getting too fat, but is he getting all the nutrition he needs? Is there any chance he could have a vitamin or mineral deficiency when all he eats is limited pasture?
Read Dr. Gray's Answer here >>

Filling out in the Hip
My 8-year-old Quarter Horse is on high-quality grain and a regular deworming program, but he's just not filling out in the hip area. He's at a good weight otherwise, possibly even a bit overweight. He's started regular training and is about to be broke to saddle. Is there anything I can do to get him to fill out?
Read Dr. Gray's Answer here >>

Ulcers and the Hard Keeper
I have a 15-year-old gelding that I acquired last year.  When I first brought him home he was very underweight. Someone told me that it may be stomach ulcers and try to cure them first and he will put weight on. Is that a possibility? Is there anything else that could be preventing him from gaining weight?
Read Dr. Gray's Answer here >>

Exercising Horses in Cold Weather
It has been 20 degrees Fahrenheit or colder here for weeks. Is it safe to work my horse in these temperatures, or is it bad for his lungs? Should I scale back or stop riding completely?
Read Dr. Gray's answer here >>

Leaving the Barn Open in Winter
My friend told me that it’s better to keep the windows open in the barn so fresh air circulates, even in the winter. Is that still true in the middle of a polar vortex? I hate to leave the barn open when the windchill is -40!
Read Dr. Gray's answer here >>

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