Equine Colic Awareness Month0
Colic is every horse owner’s worst nightmare. In honour of June being Equine Colic Awareness Month, here are some tips on how to prevent it:
- Always ensure that your horse has access to enough fresh, clean water. When digested food is too dry, it is more likely to compact and cause a blockage in the intestines
- Increase the amount of forage in your horse’s diet. The bacteria living in the digestive system of the horse requires forage to enable them to keep the gut of the horse functioning properly.
- Feed high quality feed. Feed that is contaminated or mouldy presents a higher risk of colic. Also, low quality hay(ie. very stemmy) is difficult for the horse to digest which can lead to impaction.
- Maximize your horse’s time on turnout and minimize it’s time in a stall. Movement promotes good intestinal mobility and keeps the digestive system moving. Grazing is also good for the horse as it works well digestive system which prefers smaller, frequent meals.
- Having a prevention program in place to keep parasites in check is also helpful for reducing the risk of a colic episode. Parasites can cause lesions, blood clots and other disturbances in the intestines.
- Monitor your horse and know what is normal for them. Keep track of how much they eat, drink, poop and move around. If you notice anything out of the ordinary, you can act faster and get the vet involved sooner if need be.
Equine Guelph has a really neat tool to help you identify if you horse is at risk for colic. http://www.equineguelph.ca/Tools/colic.php
This video gives an excellent explanation of the horse’s intestinal system:
Remember, a little bit of prevention goes a long way. The little things you do now could save you a lot of money and heartache in the long run.