Colic Prevention Through Diet?

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Colic Prevention Through Diet?

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    12-15-2009, 05:25 PM
Colic Prevention Through Diet?

So, my new boy is colic prone. He has suffered from minor boughts of colic 1-2 times per year. His previous owner has been successful giving him a syringe of Pepto followed by 30 minutes of walking when this occurs. He's been on 3 lbs of Strategy, twice a day, with vegetable oil added to it. Apparently, he has sensitivity to any corn products, increasing his chance for colic. He also doesn't drink much in the winter and has been known to drop a few pounds in previous winters.

Are there any alternative feeds I should consider? What about supplements? Are there any other oils that have helped for people? What about some of the daily supplements, like SmartDigest Ultra? Does the type of hay he's on make a difference? The hay my barn has been getting is mainly grass hay, with a bit of alfalfa mixed in. I am a big time worrier, and I'd like to know I'm doing all I can to prevent future colicing as much as possible!
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    12-15-2009, 05:29 PM
My biggest worry would be the drinking less. That alone can cause colic because it makes food more difficult to digest. I would say that needs to be the first thing addressed. Is it because the water is cold? I have heard of people havingn to have a heater or the horse would not drink enough in the winter. I don't know too much about the rest. I hope you ge tthe help you need.
    12-15-2009, 05:33 PM
She told me that he likes fresh water all the time in the winter, and has no problem drinking in the summer. He's only been with us since Sunday night so we're still learning about him! I hadn't thought of the water being too cold...
    12-15-2009, 05:36 PM
Some horses are really weird about water temperature. I never thought of it until I had a friend with the problem.
    12-15-2009, 05:37 PM
Horses can get colic in winter just as easy in summer. I never knew this till I kept my horse with a vet tec. She always gave warm water to the horses for that reason. Maybe try and add water to his feed? Althought its messy. I would also have them monitor his water intake. It may also depend on the kind of colic he has as well.

I used to work for a farm which the owners horse coliced all the time. They had a scare usually once every other month to once a month. She used mineral oil in his feed and gave him bran mash in weird weather.
    12-15-2009, 05:41 PM
Yes, a good warm mash with plenty of water could help. My friend ended up adding some electrolyte cookies to her horse's diet as well. If she noticed he wasn't drinking enough she added more hot water to the trough and gave him electrolyte to encourage him to drink.
    12-15-2009, 06:07 PM
You really need to watch the NDF # on your hay! The ndf is the Neutral Detergient Fiber. The higher the number, the slower the hay ferments and moves through the hind gut of the horse. Depending on your horses needs, you may want a hay that is from 40-65 ndf. Anything over 65 is a big no - no for colic prone animals. I would reccomend you stay under 60.
Yes water is important - keep the dead rats out of the water bucket!
Feed is not as important unless you are feeding 15 lbs of grain and 5 lbs of hay, but for most of us, we are feeding a few lbs of grain and 20-30lbs of hay, thus the forage component is the most critical!
    12-15-2009, 06:36 PM
Green Broke
Canola oil works really well, just put some in his feed (until all his feed is covered in it but theres not a pool at the bottom) we alos gave my old horse complete feed, the vet said it wwould be good because its easier to digest or somethign like that...and oil makes their coat super shiny :P
    12-15-2009, 06:39 PM
I personally have never had a colic prone horse – maybe I am unintentionally managing colic through diet!

Is your horse on 24/7 turnout? Or is he stalled? For a colic prone horse, the best thing you can do is give him 24/7 turnout, ON GRASS. A horses gut was made to be continually digesting grass – In small amounts throughout the day, not in big feeds. For a colic prone horse, a big feed can overload the gut and cause impaction. If it isn’t possible to get him on 24/7 or increased turnout with grass, you need to keep hay in front of him at all times. Just a grass hay, so a mix of different pasture grasses – But he needs to be munching on hay nearly constantly, or as often as he likes. This will help keep his gut regular, and also helps maintain the correct levels of bacteria and microbes in the gut. It also avoids the spike in energy and sugars that occur after a bulk feed.

If he is known to drink less in winter, you can use soakable feeds like speedi-beet or copra to make him a nice, warm soup :] Speedi-beet soaks super fast in warm water – The type I use only takes about 5 minutes in warm water. You can add as much water as you like, so he will get a good amount of water through his feed.

Also, make sure he has constant access to salt – Loose salt is best, but a salt block is fine. The salt will encourage him to drink more, and will help with general health. All my horses have a salt block and a mineral block available 24/7.

Are there any alternative feeds I should consider? What about supplements? Are there any other oils that have helped for people? What about some of the daily supplements, like SmartDigest Ultra?

If you think he is having trouble digesting his feed, then maybe consider switching to a no-grain and no sweet feed diet. (I don’t know what is in safechoice, I don’t think we have it where I live, so if you have already then ignore this :]) Horses guts weren’t made to digest grain or the high levels of sugar and NSC’s present in sweet feed and grain. Grain and sweet feed can ferment in the hindgut, creating harmful gasses that can cause tying up and colic. Alternate feeds are things like Speedi-Beet (this is fantastic. It is suitable as a forage supplement – So great for the sensitive gut of a colic prone horse – Low in NSC’s and Starch, and soakable so you can get more water into him) Copra – A coconut meal that is low in NSC’s but high in Coconut oil, which means safe and cool energy and fat – Micronized Lupins – Again low in NSC’s and a good grain alternative – Flax seed meal – Rice Bran – And so on and so forth.

I also haven’t used any supplements – My horses just have a salt lick and a mineral block available free choice. Others will help you with that I’m sure :]

I think the MAIN thing is as much turnout with grass as you can manage. My horses are on 24/7 turnout, and I have only had 1 case of colic in 9 years and many horses – And it was because he drank too much cold water after a long ride.
    12-15-2009, 06:43 PM
* Forgot a few things - Copra is soakable also so is another good feed option for a horse who doesn't drink much.

Also, I will put in a plug for FeedXL - You can completely balance your horses diet to make sure he isn't deficient or being overly supplemented with anything. I did all my horses diets with FeedXL - And they now have completely balanced diets consisting of salt lick and mineral lick, hay, Speedi-Beet and Copra.

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