Psyllium as impaction preventative? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 3 Old 01-23-2010, 12:20 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Arizona
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Psyllium as impaction preventative?

Hi all,

Unfortunately, I lost my very first horse, a 26yr old Arabian gelding, to colic this past summer. He wasn't a surgical candidate due to finances and his age, so we don't know for sure what caused it, but as he stopped pooping all together, my vet was treating him for impaction with mineral oil and water by stomach tube and banamine to control the pain. Anyway, he never recovered and we had him put to sleep after trying to save him for a week (there were a few days that he seemed like he was getting better before he got worse again).

My question is this. My vet suggested I give my older horses psyllium twice a week as a preventative for impaction colic. I think it sounds like a good idea, so I am doing it. The horses also have a tank de-icer in the winter, and warm mashes once a day when the weather is cold (sometimes wheat bran, sometimes alfalfa pellets or cubes soaked). I buy the best quality hay I can find and am very anal about what hay I feed!

I wasn't sure what a good psyllium dose would be, so I am using what the container suggests for sand, about 4 ounces a dose, but instead of the sand colic regime, I am just giving it twice a week with their feed, every week.

Does anyone else do this or have heard of doing this? Do you think it will help prevent impactions?

My Arab was treated so long for impaction and never pooped, so I have a feeling it could have been more than a simple impaction, like a twisted gut or something. But I want to do all I can to prevent loosing another horse that way. It was one of the worst experiences of my life.

My current horses are ages 16, 17 and 30, and I am giving them all the twice a week dose of psyllium. Any thoughts on psyllium or other colic preventatives?

By the way, the vet believes sand was not the issue because we have clay soil which he says will go right through them. I have no reason to believe my Arabian was eating any quantity of it either. So I dunno, I guess I just want to feel like I am doing something to prevent another tragedy if I can.
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post #2 of 3 Old 01-24-2010, 01:25 AM
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Australia
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My mum and I give psyillium husks on our horses once a year, we think of it as a sort of detox, gently cleaning out their digestive system.
We give 2 thirds of a cup in their dinner for 2 days in a row.
I'm not sure if this will help with what you are doing, I just thought I'd tell you what I do.
My sympathy goes out to you and your dear horse. The closest thing I've had is the neighbour's filly dieing, and that was bad enough.

Eventing, the sport where you strap your medical information to your arm.
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post #3 of 3 Old 01-24-2010, 12:49 PM
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Trail Horse Rider,
I also lost a best friend to colic, which was surgical, probably other than impaction, and not treatable for several reasons. I have come to learn that horses in the wild rarely get colic. The have access to grass forage and water, and walk many miles per day.

Provide 24/7 access to grass hay, in small quantities. Use a small mesh hay net or or slow feeder. See this site for many ideas of what you can buy or build:
Slow Feeders - Paddock Paradise Wiki

If your temps get below freezing, try using water warmed above 60^, not just thawed. Having access to WARM water has made a huge difference in my geriatric gelding. It may be that the cold water causes tooth pain in the older horses. I carry two half buckets of the hottest tap water out to the barn. It is easier to balance over frozen ground, and less weight. I top them off with cold water available at the barn. The horses wait for me to bring out the hot water, and drink the warm water immediately. I take hot water out twice per day, and they have access to cold water all the time.

Movement is also important to keep the digestive tract going. Even if the horses are in a small paddock, you can create some movement by placing hay, water, and toys/treats/rubbing post in different areas.

Providing 24/7 hay, warm water, and movement will do far more to prevent impaction colic than any psyllium supplement ever can. Try to find the book "Paddock Paradise" by Jaime Jackson. You may not implement all of the suggestions, but understanding the concepts will help you and your horses.
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