Horses: sand colic in autumn
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.