Keeping colic away! - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 6 Old 04-24-2014, 06:17 PM Thread Starter
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Keeping colic away!

We recently had a neighbor move in from Colorado who owned horses out there and he's bringing his Morgan mare here..anyway..he seems like a knowledgable horseman and he told us about how he gets bran for his horses and how they never got colic. I've heard about "bran" before some..but I just wanted you other horsemen & women to tell me if it significantly helps? He said they'll never colic with bran..helps their digestive tract which makes sense.
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post #2 of 6 Old 04-24-2014, 07:20 PM
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There are many types of colic caused by many different reasons, but just having forage and water available 24x7 should be as good as anything else to keep the digestive system going.

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post #3 of 6 Old 04-24-2014, 07:23 PM
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Roughage is what's needed to keep a horse's gut healthy and motile. Wetted down bran has a laxative effect, but as far as preventing colic, there are so many types of colic that nobody can say with certainty that one particular thing will prevent all types. It's much more complex than that.

Your best bet is to provide sufficient roughage and plenty of clean, fresh water.
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post #4 of 6 Old 04-24-2014, 09:59 PM
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Three things prevent most common colics. Plenty of water, and plenty of roughage, and plenty of movement. To insure plenty of water, you of course must provide it, and then you encourage them to drink it. One, by keeping it fresh and clean, and 2, by providing enough salt. Those hard salt blocks just don't do it well enough. It's better to provide loose salt free choice, or put a good tablespoon (a horse's average daily requirement) in the grain feeding once a day, wetted so it will stick. Roughage is good grass hay or good pasture. Movement means not stuck in a stall more than they are out. I have followed these rules for the past 20 years, with 16-24 horses at a time, and had 2 colics in that time. One, a mare that had just shipped in, and the other a new mare with a hefty load of entroliths in the gut. Lost that second one.
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post #5 of 6 Old 04-25-2014, 07:26 AM
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Colic seems to be one of those things that there are lots of theories about. Other than the ideas stated above, I've also known people to use psyllium, and some who use sunflower oil, at regular intervals to shift sand in the gut. I've seen both give results but I'm not sure which is better either
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post #6 of 6 Old 04-25-2014, 09:40 AM
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As other have said already, colic is a sympom that can be caused by many things. There is no one magic preventative for colic, but there are a lot of things you can do to prevent many different types of colic.

The most important thing is clean water and quality forage. Hay that is moldy, weedy or otherwise unappetizing may cause colic itself or discourage your horses from eating it. Horses should have free access to forage. Feed it out of a slow feeder if your horse eats too fast, or use a grazing muzle if your horse is at risk for founder or needs to lose weight.

Water that is dirty could do the same. Horses should have access to clean water at all times. You may want to provide more than one water source so there is still water available should one water source get dirty, spilled or if a dominant horse bullies a more submissive one away from the water. If you live in an area that freezes, make sure to break ice or use heaters so the horses can access the water. Keeping their digestive tract hydrated can prevent impaction colic.

Keeping your horse's overall health maintained can also prevent colic. Horses can develop ulcers or colic if their teeth are in poor condition and they are unable to properly chew their food.

Large parasite loads have the potential to cause colic. Monitor infection with fecal exams and deworm based on your veterinarian's recommendations. Picking the poo out of pastures and stalls on a regular basis can help keep horses from reinfecting themselves or infecting other horses with parasites. Doing this, you can also monitor any changes in stool and call the vet before certain digestive problems progress to emergency status.

Walking promotes healthy circulation and digestion so keeping a horse cooped up in a stall 24/7 could make them more prone to colic. Turnout is important to many other aspects of your horse's health so horses should be allowed enough space to move around and socialize with other horses.

Do not make any changes in your horse's diet without a gradual transition period. Avoid feeding large amounts of feed all at once. If your horse needs grain, divide the ration into at least 2 smaller feedings per day.

Those are really just basic management practices that go a long way in preventing colic.

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