10 Tips in Preventing Colic
While horses seem predisposed to colic due to the anatomy and function of their digestive tracts, management can play a key role in prevention. Although not every case is avoidable, the following guidelines can maximize horse health and reduce the risk of colic:
- Establish a daily routine – including feeding and exercise schedules – and stick to it.
- Feed a high quality diet comprised primarily of roughage, such as grass hay.
- Avoid feeding excessive grain and energy-dense supplements.
- Set up a regular parasite control program with the help of your equine practitioner, including a fecal exam.
- Provide exercise and/or turnout on a daily basis. Make changes in the intensity or duration of exercise gradually.
- Provide fresh, clean water at all times (If you choose to place an electrolyte in the water, make sure the horse has a second alternative that is electrolyte free).
- Horses should have shelter from the heat in the summer and from the cold and wet of the winter.
- Horses should be fed on shavings, stall mats, or in a container on the ground for proper dentition and to reduce the intake of sand and feces.
- Check hay, bedding, pasture, etc. for potentially toxic substances, such as blister beetles, noxious weeds, and other ingestible foreign matter.
- Reduce stress. Horses experiencing changes in environment, workload, feed, social group or horses that are being transported are at high risk of intestinal dysfunction that may cause colic.
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