Reduce the Risk of Colic

Help your horse avoid this painful ailment.

Management plays a key role in the prevention of colic.

The following tips can reduce the risk of colic in your horse:

    • Stick to a daily routine, including feeding and exercise schedules.
    • Feed a high-quality diet of free-choice roughage.
    • Avoid feeding excessive grain and energy-dense supplements.
    • Because horses were designed by nature to eat several small meals, divide the daily ration into two or three feedings.
    • Follow a regular deworming program with your vet's help.
    • Provide exercise daily. Change the intensity/duration of an exercise routine gradually.
    • Provide fresh, clean water. Exception: when a horse is excessively hot, give him small sips of lukewarm water until he has recovered.

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    • Avoid medications unless they are prescribed by your vet.
    • Check hay, bedding, pasture and environment for potentially toxic substances: blister beetles, noxious weeds, plastics, etc.
    • Avoid putting feed on the ground, especially in sandy soils.
    • Make dietary and other management changes gradually.
    • Reduce stress. Horses experiencing changes in environment or workloads are at high risk of intestinal dysfunction.
    • Pay special attention to animals when transporting them or changing their surroundings, such as at shows.
    • Observe foaling mares pre- and post-partum for any signs of colic. Watch any horses that have had a previous bout with colic. They may be at greater risk.
    • Maintain accurate records of management, feeding practices and health.

To learn more about colic, check out America's Horse TV.

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