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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
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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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.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
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...
 

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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.
 

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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.
 

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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!
 

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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
 

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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.
 

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* 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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Discussion Starter #11
Well, he decided not to eat his breakfast this morning! The Barn Manager called me at 6:15 am to say that he was acting totally normal, but wasn't interested in his grain. She tried giving it to him dry, and with the oil, no interest. By the time I got there, the BO was out too, and he was still acting completely fine, but didn't want his grain. He had drank about half of each of his two buckets the night before, and finished all his hay. We tried giving him half a scoop of sr feed that we had in the barn, and he gobbled it right up. Walked around for a while, still no change. Is it possible that he just lost interest in strategy (he's been on it for two years). His owner told me that he is a complete drama queen if he is slightly uncomfortable and there is NO WAY we'd not know if he was starting to colic. Not so fun morning, but he seems to be ok! The BO is keeping an eye on him today while I'm at work and will call if anything changes...
 

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Maybe that particular bag of strategy was stale or something.. who knows. Keep him on that senior for awhile if he's eating it well, plus most seniors are complete with forage to help keep things moving.

Good luck
 

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Discussion Starter #13
The sr food has corn listed as the 5th ingredient. I know his owner said that anything with corn irritates his digestive tract, so we didn't want to give him too much of it. I'll be researching some concentrated pelleted feed today!
 

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Some horses go off their feed at new places. Is he a picky eater that you know of?

My little guy ate a mix of pellet and sweet at his old him when I got him he refused to eat anything but grass. I was pretty worried at first, but I got him a bag of senior and mixed that with his pellets and after a week he switched over.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
ALL of my animals are high maintenance and prissy so this shouldn't come as a big surprise if he's a picky eater!! He's done pretty well on the Strategy for the last two years, but she didn't mention if he ever decides to turn his nose up at it or not. Maybe he doesn't like the brand of veggie oil I bought?! Perhaps I should try some gourmet, organic oil. I'm sure he'll be happy with whatever costs the most!! LOL! If he still won't eat the strategy tonight, we'll try mixing it half and half with the sr feed and see how that works... The vet is coming out on Friday for a pre-purchase exam and to do a dental. I'll talk to her about it then. There was also talk of possible ulcers, but his owner was never able to afford to have it checked out. So, maybe we can get to the cause of the problem and try to manage it a bit better. As long as he continues to eat his hay, drink water, and at least eats the sr feed, I'll be happy for now.
 

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my vet and trainer always advised to feed water soaked beet pulp with the feed and i do that every feeding, gives them more water to digest and the beet pulp helps push out anything in their tummy that has gotten stuck. it you could also try putting electrolytes in his feed, it will encourage him to drink more due to the salt or just give him a mineral block to lick. ever since ive done none of my horses have ever colicked including my friends colic proned Trakehner that had had 3 colic surgeries and never once colicked again after we started feeding her the beet pulp.
 

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^^ I always feed my baby beet pulp. Its the only think that keeps his stool hard. My biggest fear was he wouldnt eat it (i got the kind w/o added molasses). I had to soak it with his normal grain at first but he eventually got used to it and he loves it now. It also adds some weight to thinner horses.
 

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Wild Spot hit alot of the points I wanted to make.
A horse with a history of colic and seems to be sensitive to corn-based feeds would point towards possible gastric ulcers. Even the drinking less in the winter can be because of discomfort caused by cold water when ulcers are present. You should really discuss this possibility with your vet. If GI ulcers are present, then you need to treat them.

But even before your vet checks or treats for ulcers you should make some feeding changes. Strategy is a grain based feed (corn is a grain and one of the highest in starch) and grains (high starch feedstuffs) tend to trigger painful episodes in a horse with GI ulcers. Grains also increase the risk of GI ulcers. It would be best to remove grains from his diet altogether. Since purina feeds are available, I would recommend going with either Enrich 12 or Enrich 32 which are both forage based and designed to balance the nutrition that a horse receives from hay. The provide free-choice hay or pasture. Also provide water that is tepid rather than cold or warm.

All of these recommendations are actually applicable to any horse to help prevent colic.

Here are some good articles for you:
http://www.thehorse.com/ViewArticle.aspx?ID=12957
http://www.thehorse.com/ViewArticle.aspx?ID=5337
http://www.thehorse.com/ViewArticle.aspx?ID=10133
http://www.thehorse.com/ViewArticle.aspx?ID=10551
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Thanks guys! I'm reviewing all the info here with my BO and will talk to the vet about this on Friday. I hope to determine the best course of action since I'd rather treat the underlying cause than just the symptoms. Definately looking into Enrich 32. His owner said that she gave this to him as a supplement (just a handful as a dressing) since it seemed to make his feet healthier. I don't know if it could have been helping his tummy as well, and they just didn't realize it. She was pretty insistent that he stays in at night, but the horses at my barn are typically out 24/7 when the weather permits. He's been staying in at night since he's been with us. Maybe we could start increasing his turnout time, but keep him in while he eats since he's not one to stand up for himself and protect his food. I always tend to think that more turnout time is better than standing around in a stall when you're sensitive to colicing.
 

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I tried Enrich 32 with advice from someone at the feed store. I think it suposed to be fed as/like a ration balancer. I liked it but some people feed it like a grain, when you only really need a little of it. (It was also more expensive then a bag of grain, but it should last longer) I used the recomemded dose and my horses stool was pretty loose, but Im sure results will vary per horse.
 
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