Horses: sand colic in au­tumn

Wangaratta Chronicle - North East Regional Extra - - News - by Tim Craig, vet­eri­nar­ian

COLIC, in­clud­ing sand colic in horses can oc­cur at any time of year, but au­tumn can be a par­tic­u­larly preva­lent time.

As the months get cooler and rain­fall starts to in­crease we see a flush of fresh green growth.

Pas­ture with short cov­er­age and poor root sup­ply in­creases the chances of sand be­ing pulled up and in­gested whilst horses are graz­ing.

As sand builds up in the gas­troin­testi­nal tract of the horse signs of colic will start to oc­cur.

Th­ese signs can be sub­tle such as a re­luc­tance to eat, tail swish­ing, look­ing at the flanks and kick­ing at the belly or more dra­matic such as ly­ing down, con­stantly get­ting up and down or rolling.

What should you do if you sus­pect sand colic?

If your horse is ac­tively col­icky .call a vet­eri­nar­ian! Med­i­cal at­ten­tion of th­ese cases is re­quired! be­gin a treat­ment regime of psylium husks in the diet. Psylium helps to col­lect up sand from the gut and ex­pel it in the fae­ces. In­clude one cup of psylium husks a day in a hard feed ra­tion for 7-10 days. Fol­low this with a dose once a week for 4-5 weeks. Check fae­ces for ev­i­dence of sand. Pick up some fae­ces in a long glove or plas­tic bag and mix it up with gen­er­ous amount of wa­ter to dis­perse the fae­ces evenly. Hang the glove/bag on a fence for 24hours. Any sand will be eas­ily vi­su­alised af­ter this time as it set­tles to the bot­tom of the glove or bag. How can you avoid the oc­cur­rence of sand colic: Dont feed out hay or grain di­rectly onto the ground. In­stead use buck­ets, feed­ers or hay nets. Avoid graz­ing pas­tures un­til there is a good root sup­ply of fresh growth, par­tic­u­larly if the soil is sandy. Im­ple­ment a main­te­nance regime with psylium husks treat­ment, for ex­am­ple a cup of psylium in feed once a fort­night dur­ing high risk pe­ri­ods.

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