Thursday, June 26, 2008

How can you prevent colic?

There are no absolute guarantees that you can totally prevent colic but there are many ways to help try to prevent it. Many horse owners manage to successully avoid it. Sometimes, it just depends on the individual horse.

Here's what you can do to GREATLY LIMIT the chances that your horse will colic:
  1. Always make sure your feed and hay are fresh. Do the visual and sniff test and throw out any feed or hay that smells sour or moldy.
  2. Never overfeed.
  3. Keep poisons out of reach.
  4. Always lock up feeding bins or buildings where feed is stored. Horses will gorge themselves if given the chance. They will actually eat themselves to death.
  5. Don't allow the horse to graze on very rich green grass for extended periods of time. (Keep them away from grass clippings and never allow the horse to have freshly cut grass or someone dump the clippings from a lawn mower. This not only can cause colic, wet grass clippings can actually be fatal to a horse)
  6. Avoid an irregular feeding schedule. Two small feedings a day, morning and evening if possible, (about 10-12 hrs apart) are better than one large feeding.
  7. Don't ride immediately after feeding.
  8. Always keep fresh water available at all times, especially after feeding. Impaction colic is vey common and can often be prevented just by keeping water available.
  9. If you change feed, do it slowly, over 1 1/2 to 2 weeks. Quick changes in feeding can cause colic.
  10. Don't put hay or feed on the ground. Feed from a bowl, dish or other container. Put your horses hay in a hay rack or hay net. Dirt and sand buildup in the gut causes what's known as sand colic.
  11. Stay on a regular worming schedule. (At least every 3 months or every time the seasons change) Worm infestations can cause blockages and colic.
  12. Give your horse regular vet checkups.
  13. Be aware of plants that are poisonous to horses and get them out of the pasture or out of your horses reach.
  14. NEVER let a hot horse drink cool water. Always cool your horse first.
  15. GET RID OF SUGAR! Sugar not only can cause colic but is the leading cause of laminitis and founder! Be careful in the amounts of sweet treats you give your horse and please consider switching from a rich, sugar-loaded feed to a more natural hay substitute or quality whole grain. (For example, Hay pellets, hay cubes, whole oats, etc.)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I've had my horse for 15 years and every winter he would colic because he would not drink enough water. Last year I started wetting down all of his food (making it real sloppy with water) and hay plus giving him 2 scoops of electrolytes in his food morning and night through the winter. I changed his grass hay to a alfalfa/orchard mix. This is the first winter that he has gone through that he has not coliced. It has been a year and a half since his last colic. Hope this might help other people with cronic colicers.

Please feel free to email me your horse questions and I'll do my best to answer them or at least point you to someone or someplace that can. (Scroll down to the "About Me" section and click on "View my complete profile" to send me an email) I look forward to hearing from you! ~Melanie