Is Your Horse at Risk for Colic

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Colic is a major fear of any horse owner. Whether you’ve owned your horse for years or you’re looking at horses for sale with the plans of buying a new horse, it’s important to be familiar with colic risk factors. Familiarizing yourself with common risk factors for colic can help you prevent colic in your horse.

Your Horse Is Frequently In a High-Stress Environment

Major stresses, like those associated with travelling to large shows or moving to a new home, can increase your horse’s risk of colic. Take measures to minimize your horse’s stress, and monitor him closely during and after stressful events.

Your Horse’s Diet Consists of Large Amounts of Grain

Upon entering your horse’s stomach and absorbing the moisture found there, grain will swell and expand. This can potentially lead to impaction colic, especially if your horse is ingesting large amounts of grain in each feeding. To lessen this risk factor, either reduce the amount of grain that your horse is fed or break up the feedings into smaller feedings that occur more frequently throughout the day.

Your Horse Is On Limited Turnout

Horses are grazing animals; in the wild they would graze and roam for the majority of the day. When your horse spends most of his time in his stall and cannot continuously graze, his digestive system can become upset. Try to maximize your horse’s turnout time, and consider feeding him hay gradually throughout the day to mimic the all-day grazing he would normally experience.

Your Horse Hasn’t Been Regularly Dewormed

Large worm counts can increase a horse’s chance of colic, so it’s important to have your horse on a regular deworming program. Speak with your veterinarian to decide which deworming or parasite maintenance method is best for your horse.

Your Horse Drinks Irregularly or Is Reluctant To Drink

The better hydrated a horse is, the less his chance of incurring impaction colic becomes. Keeping your horse properly hydrated is vitally important. Be sure that your horse always has access to fresh, clean water. If your horse is a reluctant drinker, then consider adding a drinking aide to the water to encourage him to drink. You should also make sure that he has access to a salt block.

Colic is a serious equine medical emergency that no horse owner ever wants to face. If your horse has colicked regularly and you have followed the above steps, consult with your veterinarian to find out what additional measures you can take to reduce your horse’s risk of colic.

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