Ways to prevent colic
My horse recently had a colic episode and had to get surgery. He had a bunch of parasites (he was recently bought and the old owner had supposedly dewormed him) and was diagnosed with low motility (low digestive function). He had a large colon displacement. It was really scary and I was wondering if anyone had ways to prevent colic. I have heard of:
-not feeding grain
-feeding forage several times a day
-routine dental care
Does anyone know of any good digestive health supplements either? Do they help with colic prevention?
Hi there, welcome to the forum - and I want to say, how horribly sorry I am for what you and your beloved are going through. I wish you both the absolute best.
My Best Friend went though a horrible colic episode as well, where I almost lost him. I wouldn't of put him through the surgery *because he was 21 at the time and too old to be a candidate* so it was almost time to say goodbye - that's how close he came.
His colic was in his ceacum *sp?* - and thankfully, after 7 hours of trying very hard to get him to release, he saved himself. The Vet was prepping to do a tummy tap, and he was so exhausted, that he collapsed in his stall, and due to his body weight putting pressure down on his belly - out that gas came. Twice.
After that happened, my Vet and I had a good long discussion about what steps I needed to take, to ensure his health, happiness, longevity, and to keep this from happening again.
I instantly put him on 2 products through SmartPak. The first was SmartDigest Ultra, and TractGard. I did a full treatment of GastroGuard on Nelson, and also put him on SmartGut Pellets. These really did help. The reason why my fellow coliced, was because of ulcers. For your horse, I would suggest 2 products...
I had to change his lifestyle completely - which meant no more stall time. My Vet told the BO at the time when we were at that facility, that he could not spend another moment in a stall. He must be out 24/7, infront of a round bale.
Horses are meant to have roughage in their stomaches as much as possible. They are grazers, that is who they are, that is how they are created, their digestive systems require that - when you don't offer that, you are going to have issues that will start to show up slowly.
Of course, hydration is important as well - that's where the TractGard comes into play, this will help.
My fellow is out 24/7 - he is very, very happy being able to be out, to be a horse. If he were to be in a stall, that would mean hours of time without having any access to roughage - being out 24/7, means he has full access to a round bale, where he can stuff his face as much as possible, which helps that digestive system do its natural job.
He also gets fed 3 times a day, he gets brought into the barn, in his own little stall, where he can eat on his own, stress free, to get his grain and supplements.
The barn we are now at, are doing all they can, to accomodate my horses needs and daily schedule to ensure his health. We moved from the previous barn *where he coliced* because they could not do this for him, and I feared for his health. We couldn't be more happier.
Here is an article written by SmartPak that I think will help you:
Like MIEventer, we also use the SmartDigest (just not the Ultra). ....but for a different reason than colic. We use it because our OTTB was seriously skinny when we bought him with a shocking body score of 2. Despite the increase in hay, daily dewormer and grain, he didn't gain. So we started him on the SmartDigest. It is a probiotic supplement that keeps the digestive system healthy and helps the horse get FULL nutrient absorbtion from their food. He fattened up quite well.....:-)
It is also important, in my own opinion, to feed all horses probiotics, not just to help them digest their food for maximum absorbtion, but to keep the hind gut healthy. Sure, it won't PREVENT colic, but a healthy digestive system lessens the risk for certain types of colic.
I also want to add: All horse owners should ask their vet about the prevelance of tapeworms in their area. It varies from region to region. MOST of the common wormers will NOT kill tapeworms, and they are not found in fecal matter, so fecal tests won't find them. They attach to the horse's insides and can grow to disgusting lengths. They are also a COMMON CAUSE OF COLIC....one of many causes, but still a common one.
Only wormers with praziquantel in them will kill the tapeworms....we use Zimecterin Gold twice a year. Once in the spring, once in the fall.
Thanks for the advice! I was considering SmartDigest Ultra and I saw all of the great reviews it had. I will probably try it out on him because of his low motility, and hopefully he doesn't have another episode like this
I would not count out TractGard :)
In addition to what you know already & what you've been told, I'd also treat him for ulcers, in case that is part of the problem. High protein diets can also be hard for older horses or those that have digestive probs. I'd probably get onto an equine nutritionist. Also feeding roughage several times a day is good, but free choice may be better, and also consider that small amounts, rather than a 'meal' is better, so if your horse tends to gorge on his hay, putting it in a doubled hay net or some other method of 'slow feeder' would be good. Cuts down on waste too. Free movement & low stress environs are also helpful, so I agree with 24/7 turn out too.
Ulcers were ruled out in all of the tests done on my horse. I want to get one of those haynets with the really small holes so that it takes him forever to eat it, but my trainer was concerned it would be "unnatural" for him to eat like that. Would that be a problem?
He does a good job of keeping himself hydrated, thats not really an issue with my horse
I think that I'm going to get the SmartDigest Ultra. He has been healing fine so far, but has been rolling a lot which is a little concerning... He is doing a Panacur treatment to get rid of ALL of his worms (he had 1,550 eggs per mg, a lot) because my trainer said he didn't need to be wormed because his previous owner wormed him. Sometimes I don't get her logic... Well hopefully this new supplement will keep him colic free, and we definitly have our eye on him. If you have any more suggestions feel free to share!
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