Reduce the Risk of Colic
Help your horse avoid this painful ailment.
October 1, 2008
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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