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Colic and Horses

Colic and Horses

The development of equine colic is one of the most common problems with horse health. While there have been many advances in veterinary medicine that have helped horse owners learn how to prevent this condition, there are still approximately ten percent of the horse population that is afflicted with this extremely painful disease.

The strictest definition of “colic” refers to abdominal pain. Throughout the years the term has become an interchangeable one that refers to a variety of conditions that may cause a horse to appear to suffer from abdominal pain. This is one reason why you hear the term used to refer to many different conditions that may vary substantially in severity. Unlike most diseases colic is not just a single disease but is a variety of different ones. No matter what the condition may be colic produces pain and some forms can be extremely deadly.

Some people believe equine colic is solely because of the type of horse feed owners feed their animals and while this may be true in some instances, in most cases the cause is unknown. The presumption is the condition is related to muscle spasms or excessive gas in the intestine. In most cases the cause of colic is the distention in the bowel that results because of gas, fluid or food the horse ate. There are rare cases in which you will find the pain is caused by damage to the intestinal wall because of a reduced blood supply, inflammation or edema.

The causes of colic fall into several pathological categories that include strangulation, obstruction, peritonitis and colitis. Other sites may also be involved in the diagnosis of this disease such as the colon, small intestine and peritoneum.

When you are reviewing horse health understanding colic is one of the conditions in which you may wish to gain some expert knowledge. Some of the signs of equine colic include the following;

  • Sweating
  • Pawing at the ground
  • Reduced appetite
  • Stamping
  • Restlessness
  • Lying down

Treating Colic in Horses

There are so many different causes of colic in horses, and since the prognosis can be different, you will also find a different treatment with each diagnosis. There is no doubt, however, the quality horse health depends on depends largely on a veterinarian making an accurate diagnosis of the exact colic from which the horse is suffering as soon as possible.

The first step toward determining the cause of colic involves seeing a veterinarian for a rectal examination. Sometimes when a vet is aware of the contents in the horse’s intestine and where those contents are situated it helps determine where is intestinal motility and if so the location of the problem. If the problem is serious there may be a need for the vet to perform surgery.

Preventing Colic

Like other types of illnesses and diseases it is much easier to prevent colic from occurring than attempt to manage it after it happens. Adding beet pulp to your horse’s diet is an excellent way to prevent him from having any of the symptoms of colic; however, it’s important to include the beet pulp with plenty of water and other roughage. This product is a low-starch and low sugar alternative to using excessive horse grain, another product that can be quite beneficial to your horse’s digestive tract.

Beet pulp is good for horses that tend to develop impaction colic. This type of condition occurs when the food thickens and solidifies in the horse’s intestines. This ingredient has two benefits: it provides your horse with roughage and if you soak it first it will effectively provide water for your horse.

Sand accumulation also causes abdominal pain and other symptoms of colic. Ingesting it helps remove the sand from the horse’s digest tract and fills up the gut in order to allow to sand to move along the bottom of the intestines.

You will also find this dietary supplement helps eliminate ulcers in horses, a condition that occurs when the acid in a horse’s stomach finds its way to the upper half of the stomach. When you add this nutritional product it helps absorb any excess stomach acids. Since it takes longer to chew than horse grain it helps neutralizes the acid in the stomach.

When your horse has quality horse feed, water and exercise they will be in better control of saliva production in order to prevent the symptoms and development of colic and its life-threatening potential.