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Feed for horse prone to colic?

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  • Feed for horse prone to colic?

    I have 5 horses in my barn - 2 of my own and 3 boarders. One of the boarders is prone to colic. Fourth time in less than a year and I pick him up from the clinic today. Vet is recommending a feed switch to a more colic-friendly feed. Nutrena Safe Choice was a suggestion but very inconvenient for me to get.

    Would appreciate input from others who may have experienced a colic decrease with feed switch. That horse has been on Purina Horse Chow 100 along with one of the other horses (no colic problems). My two mares are on Purina Ultium as one has PSSM and I treat the other as if she may. Last horse (20 yo TB) is on Purina Senior.

    The feed store 3 miles from me handles Purina and Triple Crown. Would be great to get one feed that all 4 of the younger horses could eat and be healthy on. Am I dreaming??

    Thanks,

    SD

  • #2
    TC Senior would be a good choice. Also, making sure the horse has forage in front of it at all times, adequate turnout so the gut can be moving around and active is important. Adding an electrolyte, to encourage drinking when the weather is being unpredictable can also be helpful.

    I wouldn't pick Safe Choice for a colicky horse anyways. It's rather high in NSC, comparatively.
    Tell a Gelding. Ask a Stallion. Discuss it with a Mare... Pray if it's a Pony!

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    • #3
      What kind of colic?

      Comment


      • #4
        I second TC Senior. Love the feed. High in fiber, low in NSC, which should be great for your colicky horse, and it is NOT just for seniors. Very young horses do extremely well on it too...just easy to digest which is why it is marketed to the senior crowd. Also TC products are higher quality than Purina.
        Caitlin
        *OMGiH I Loff my Mare* and *My Saddlebred Can Do Anything Your Horse Can Do*
        http://community.webshots.com/user/redmare01

        Comment


        • #5
          I've had my mare on Senior for 14 years ever seen she spent a week at New Bolton for colic (luckily, no surgery) and that's what they put her on. I've used both TC and Purina, and honestly don't think TC is vastly superior.

          Comment


          • #6
            If you can get Blue seal Feeds, try one of the Sentinel brands. I got a horse in my barn in October who colicked four times in two months before he was moved here and once four days after he arrived. He eats 7 pounds of Sentinel LS daily, in two feedings, and hasn't colicked since. I did see that you cna only get Purina and Triple Crown at the close feed store, but if Blue seal is available within driving distance, it might be worth making the trip once or twice a month. That said, the TC Senior formulation is quite similar to the Sentinel and it is a good alternative.

            We did also make some other changes though to the horse at my barn's diet, too. He gets as much 2nd cutting timothy hay as he will eat, along with soaked alfalfa pellets and soaked beet pulp. It's very important to a colic prone horse that you keep him as well hydrated as possible. Soaking the feed can help this. If it freezes where you are, pay close attention to his water intake. In a study at Cornell, horses who had heated buckets drank up to 35% more water than those who had cold water in the winter. I have heated buckets in my stalls for this reason, along with heated stock tanks outside. I figure the little increase in my electric bill over the winter is much cheaper than paying for colic surgery. You might also add some oil to his rations if he will eat it. In addition to keeping things moving, it'll add some calories and may allow you to decrease his concentrate.

            As far as feeding all the horses the same thing, a senior feed is an appropriate choice for nearly all horses. Many halter trainers now use senior feeds on all their horses. You get a lot of bang for your buck because you don't have to feed as much. Not feeding as much concentrate in general is also thought to aid in preventing colic, so that's an added benefit for all horses.

            ETA: The big difference between TC Senior and Purina is that TC has nearly twice the fat content.
            IF YOU THINK YOUR BRAIN IS NOT WORTH PROTECTING WITH A HELMET, YOU'RE PROBABLY RIGHT!

            Damrock Farm

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Damrock Farm View Post
              ETA: The big difference between TC Senior and Purina is that TC has nearly twice the fat content.
              Yes, of course. What I meant is that I hadn't noticed a vast difference in my horse. I would have preferred to keep her on the TC but it isn't an option where I've boarded the past three years.

              Comment


              • #8
                The issue I see with the Purina feeds and a colicky horse is that the Purina is not a fixed formula. So each batch may contain completely different ingredients...not so good for a horse prone to colic.
                Caitlin
                *OMGiH I Loff my Mare* and *My Saddlebred Can Do Anything Your Horse Can Do*
                http://community.webshots.com/user/redmare01

                Comment


                • #9
                  RedMare brings up a good point. TC does used fixed formulas. The downside to that is that the price is a lot more likely to fluctuate wildly. If you are only buying for one horse though, that would be less of an issue.
                  IF YOU THINK YOUR BRAIN IS NOT WORTH PROTECTING WITH A HELMET, YOU'RE PROBABLY RIGHT!

                  Damrock Farm

                  Comment

                  • Original Poster

                    #10
                    Thanks all! Have a call into the experts at Triple Crown to determine if there is one TC feed that could potentially be good for all five of the horses.

                    SD

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I would first and foremost ask what feeds would be best for the colic prone horse, THEN ask, out of those choices, which would work for the rest.
                      IF YOU THINK YOUR BRAIN IS NOT WORTH PROTECTING WITH A HELMET, YOU'RE PROBABLY RIGHT!

                      Damrock Farm

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I used to email Marty Adams @ SS and he'd give me a run down on the best to feed my one who ran into ulcers...
                        I use the Legends Perfomance Pro pellets.. and they are working great. Got the weight back on her finally.
                        Good luck with your search!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          As for Purina, Equine Senior or Strategy Healthy Edge would potentially be good options for all your horses (or even Ultium, just keep a watch that you don't overfeed and it wouldn't work that well for easy keepers). All three of these products are low in starch and high in fiber which is one thing to think about when feeding a colic prone horse.

                          In reference to the "fixed formula" comment. Purina does not swap in and out ingredients. They have set ingredients that can vary only SLIGHTLY based on the actual nutritional content of the ingredients used to make the feed. This is called Constant Nutrition Formulation which I could make a case is better then a fixed formula. Fixed formulas are made based on book value of ingredients. So if oats is an ingredient in the formula then the book value of oats for protein is 11.5%. However, just like hay, nutritional ingredients can vary from batch to batch and even in the same load EVEN IF the product is of high quality. You could have a high quality load of oats that test as low as 10.5% protein and as high as 13.5%. If you make no slight changes in your formula to account for this then they nutritional consistency of your product can vary. So I wouldn't let that be a determining factor in your decision.

                          I used to be an equine specialist for Purina in the field for 12 years and now I only do a little side consulting for them because I am a stay at home mom of three little boys. Anyway, I would be happy to answer any questions you might have about Purina products. Let me know if I can be of help.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Holly F View Post
                            As for Purina, Equine Senior or Strategy Healthy Edge would potentially be good options for all your horses (or even Ultium, just keep a watch that you don't overfeed and it wouldn't work that well for easy keepers). All three of these products are low in starch and high in fiber which is one thing to think about when feeding a colic prone horse.

                            In reference to the "fixed formula" comment. Purina does not swap in and out ingredients. They have set ingredients that can vary only SLIGHTLY based on the actual nutritional content of the ingredients used to make the feed. This is called Constant Nutrition Formulation which I could make a case is better then a fixed formula. Fixed formulas are made based on book value of ingredients. So if oats is an ingredient in the formula then the book value of oats for protein is 11.5%. However, just like hay, nutritional ingredients can vary from batch to batch and even in the same load EVEN IF the product is of high quality. You could have a high quality load of oats that test as low as 10.5% protein and as high as 13.5%. If you make no slight changes in your formula to account for this then they nutritional consistency of your product can vary. So I wouldn't let that be a determining factor in your decision.

                            I used to be an equine specialist for Purina in the field for 12 years and now I only do a little side consulting for them because I am a stay at home mom of three little boys. Anyway, I would be happy to answer any questions you might have about Purina products. Let me know if I can be of help.

                            I am sure they have a list they pull from, but sometimes there is corn, sometimes not, sometimes barely, etc with some of those fluctuating in the top 3 ingredients. If you are struggling with a horse that is having unexplained colic they could be sensitive to one of those ingredients and you think nothing is changing with the diet, but it is. Of course not all horses will have this problem, just something to think about when you are having a problem.
                            http://community.webshots.com/user/jenn52318

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I feed one like this. He is on straight alfalfa cubes now, fed via an Amazing Graze and beet pulp, flax and a multi vitamin/mineral supplement. Cubes because of the consistent quality.

                              The other thing he wants his water buckets kept immaculate or he won't drink. I use Equifit Clean buckets, that are impregnated with Ag Silver. It reduces bacterial growth and slime formation.

                              In the perfect world buckets should be scrubbed daily, but this helps if they are not. The buckets are a bit more spendy but worth it if it keeps a horse drinking.

                              Comment

                              • Original Poster

                                #16
                                Seal Harbor -

                                Thanks for the feedback. Water intake is definitely an issue with Splash, the colicky horse. His bucket is always clean and I've been experimenting with an additional bucket with additives. So far I've tried grape kool aid, powdered electrolytes and orange Gatoraid. So far, none of those have appealed to him. Once turned out he always goes to the big troughs in the pasture, but never wants to drink when in the stall.

                                My horses are turned out most of the time except when the weather is bad or if I'm riding one, the others stay in the barn for a few extra hours in the morning. As I mentioned above, Splash is willing to drink in the pasture, but not much, if any, in his stall. I'll do a search and look into those buckets. Assuming his owner wants to spring for one, I'm game to try anything.

                                Could you explain a bit more about the alfalfa cubes? Is that what you're referring to as Amazing Graze? Currently, he's off grass hay and just on alfalfa grass. Our local price for that is $21.75!

                                Thanks,

                                SD

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  I have owned several colic-prone horses in my life and in fact, the one I have now is 27 years old. I found that it's not so much what you feed that makes the difference, but how much you soak the feed. Now I do prefer a pelleted feed but then again, all my horses get a pelleted feed. I mix our feed with chopped alfalfa hay and soak it for 5 minutes in a very generous amount of hot water. I don't get too many colics anymore since I started the soaking/chopped alfalfa routine.
                                  Susan N.

                                  Don't get confused between my personality & my attitude. My personality is who I am, my attitude depends on who you are.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Thank you, Holly F, for a great explanation regarding "fixed formulas". I've used Purina for years. I switched at one time to Triple Crown, due to listening to all this stuff about how great their feeds were because they were "fixed". Well...........I had SO many problems with consistency from bag to bag! I went back to Purina, and have had the greatest results with it.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Ok, I just asked this on the other Purina feed thread, but I will ask it here as well: if fixed formula is so bad, how come the higher priced Purina feeds *are* fixed formula? You can't argue both sides.
                                      Topline Leather -- Bespoke, handwoven browbands & accessories customized with Swarovski crystals, gemstones, & glass seed beads. The original crystal braid & crystal spike browbands!

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Well, I cannot offer much advice- I have a horse that had two colic surgeries and was then retired (not sound after second surgery). He has had EVERYTHING under the sun that one could think of to prevent colic. When I asked the vet at Rood and Riddle (nationally know clinic in Lexington KY) what I could have done differently he said "if we knew what really was a risk factor for colic, I could retire a rich man".

                                        I have tried all of the above feeds and supplements, and more, spent $$$$$$$ and still wound up with a second surgery and retirement of a fabulous 13yr old dutch horse.

                                        Comment

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