Horse Health

Reduce the Risk of Colic

October 2, 2008

Help your horse avoid this painful ailment.

Avoid tummy trouble.

Management plays a key role in the prevention of colic.

The following tips can reduce the risk of colic in your horse:

  • Stick to a daily routine, including feeding and exercise schedules.
  • Feed a high-quality diet of free-choice roughage.
  • Avoid feeding excessive grain and energy-dense supplements.
  • Because horses were designed by nature to eat several small meals, divide the daily ration into two or three feedings.
  • Follow a regular deworming program with your vet’s help.
  • Provide exercise daily. Change the intensity/duration of an exercise routine gradually.
  • Provide fresh, clean water. Exception: when a horse is excessively hot, give him small sips of lukewarm water until he has recovered.

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  • Avoid medications unless they are prescribed by your vet.
  • Check hay, bedding, pasture and environment for potentially toxic substances: blister beetles, noxious weeds, plastics, etc.
  • Avoid putting feed on the ground, especially in sandy soils.
  • Make dietary and other management changes gradually.
  • Reduce stress. Horses experiencing changes in environment or workloads are at high risk of intestinal dysfunction.
  • Pay special attention to animals when transporting them or changing their surroundings, such as at shows.
  • Observe foaling mares pre- and post-partum for any signs of colic. Watch any horses that have had a previous bout with colic. They may be at greater risk.
  • Maintain accurate records of management, feeding practices and health.

To learn more about colic, check out America’s Horse TV.

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