If you and your horse are one of the unlucky ones, you’ve seen it before. The pacing and pawing at the ground. The restless up-and-down. The swinging of the head from side-to-side. The potentially fatal abdominal condition and #1 horse-killer around the world is sadly very common, and extremely painful. Here’s how you can spot and prevent colic through simple, good digestive health.
What Causes Colic
Horses are generally susceptible to infection thanks to sensitive digestive systems. The most common causes of colic are: bloodworms, roundworms, a sudden change in diet, dehydration, gulping their food, and the ingestion of sand or dirt.
Spotting Colic Types
Three type of colic result from a combination of symptoms: abdominal pain, intestinal displacement or gastrointestinal obstruction. The most common form is Gas Colic. Gas collects in your horse’s bowels, causing pain from a distended bowl as it passes through. Horses with this type tend to swing their heads from side-to-side, stomp their feet, pin back their ears, roll their eyes and have rumbly tummies.
If your horse exhibits lethargy, restlessness, pawing, excessive sweating and zero of their usual abdominal sounds, they be suffering from Obstructive Colic. This is caused by either when food parasites, or other foreign bodies amass in the bowels, or when pasture sand or soil accumulates in your horse’s gut.
A Twisted Gut is literally the physical twisting of your horse’s intestine. Look for excessive sweating, general signs of discomfort that won’t be relieved by pain medication, and progressive restlessness.
In any of the above cases or if in doubt, it’s always best to call your veterinarian immediately!
How To Help Prevent Colic in Your Horse Checklist
Promoting good digestive health is the number one way to prevent colic in your horse. Keep in mind that any changes should be gradual, as the sudden implementation of a new diet or daily routine can also cause colic.
1. A roughage-rich diet is important, as is its constant availability. Grass is your horse’s best friend, followed closely by hay. Grain should be kept to a minimum unless otherwise suggested by your veterinarian.
2. Maintaining a regular feeding schedule of two-to-three smaller portions of grain a day will prevent overloading your horse’s digestive tract.
3. Giving your horse access to regular, fresh, clean water 24/7 encourages drinking to keep things moving.
4. Keep worms at bay by regularly de-worming your horse. Ask your veterinarian for the best method to control internal parasites.
5. Daily exercise is an important part of good digestive health.
6. Feed pans and elevated wall feeders are a good way to keep feed away from contaminants such as pasture sand or soil. They also encourage natural, heads-down grazing posture.
7. Muck out stalls and till pastures frequently to keep manure–and parasites–to a minimum. Regular maintenance of stalls and pastures include weeding and removing indigestible materials from feeding and bedding areas. Consider perimeter sprays and traps to kill insects.
8. Regular oral maintenance including dental checkups with your vet is a good way to ensure proper chewing and improved digestion. Consider digestive supplements.
Before starting any new routine, it’s always a good idea to check with your veterinarian first!
If you are unlucky and have been unable to prevent colic developing in your horse, contact us today and see how the LegSaver can help today!