10 Tips in Preventing Colic

Preventing Equine 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:

  1. Establish a daily routine – including feeding and exercise schedules – and stick to it.
  2. Feed a high quality diet comprised primarily of roughage, such as grass hay.
  3. Avoid feeding excessive grain and energy-dense supplements.
  4. Set up a regular parasite control program with the help of your equine practitioner, including a fecal exam.
  5. Provide exercise and/or turnout on a daily basis. Make changes in the intensity or duration of exercise gradually.
  6. 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).
  7. Horses should have shelter from the heat in the summer and from the cold and wet of the winter.
  8. 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.
  9. Check hay, bedding, pasture, etc. for potentially toxic substances, such as blister beetles, noxious weeds, and other ingestible foreign matter.
  10. 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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