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What would you feed a horse that colics chronically?

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  • What would you feed a horse that colics chronically?

    So it seems as if my mare may be becoming a little "high maintenance" if you know what I mean. She has coliced 4 times in the last 3 years. I am hoping to gain some input on what others are feeding their chronic colicers. Each time was due to an impaction, probably from dehydration. I have had the mare on a bran mash at different times in her life, and am planning on going back to that permanently. I was thinking of adding a probiotic and I would love to hear your thoughts on this. Perhaps, also, electrolytes?

    For now she is getting:

    All the orchard grass she wants
    1/4 lb. LMF showtime
    Horse Guard

    So it's currently a pretty simple diet, and she looks great! I will be adding wheat bran for fiber and to get some water in there. Please talk to me about your experiences with probiotics and any other ideas you may have.

    Thanks a lot!

  • #2
    Originally posted by Sonichorse View Post
    So it seems as if my mare may be becoming a little "high maintenance" if you know what I mean. She has coliced 4 times in the last 3 years. I am hoping to gain some input on what others are feeding their chronic colicers. Each time was due to an impaction, probably from dehydration. I have had the mare on a bran mash at different times in her life, and am planning on going back to that permanently. I was thinking of adding a probiotic and I would love to hear your thoughts on this. Perhaps, also, electrolytes?

    For now she is getting:

    All the orchard grass she wants
    1/4 lb. LMF showtime
    Horse Guard

    So it's currently a pretty simple diet, and she looks great! I will be adding wheat bran for fiber and to get some water in there. Please talk to me about your experiences with probiotics and any other ideas you may have.

    Thanks a lot!
    I would
    a) add 4 oz of whole flax seed to each meal, then wet it. The flax goes into a slimy, mucilaginous mess. Quite disgusting, the horses love it and it s really good GI tract lubricant.

    b) make her feeds into a mash with water. It means you will have constantly clean the manger but that is a lot easier to deal with than constant colics.

    c) add 2 oz of TractGard to each meal.

    d) Give her some chopped hay or Chaffhaye each day in between the meals or feed her wetted alfalfa cubes. The alfa cubes will absorb a lot of water so be generous when you wet them.
    Hope this helps
    YOurs
    MW
    Melyni (PhD) PAS, Dipl. ACAN.
    Sign up for the Equine nutrition enewsletter on www.foxdenequine.com
    New edition of book is out:
    Horse Nutrition Handbook.

    www.knabstruppers4usa.com

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    • #3
      I had an older guy that was prone to colics. Switched him to a Senior feed that gets water added all the time. Started a probiotic as well. Seems to work well.

      Comment


      • #4
        What is her deworming history?
        "Kindness is free" ~ Eurofoal
        ---
        The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances.

        Comment


        • #5
          Does she get any hay? If yes, - how much and what kind? Bermuda?

          Comment


          • #6
            Adding bran daily will throw the calcium phosphous ratio off. Can you buy some Timothy cubes and soak them in tons of water once a day?

            The wetter the meal the faster it gets digested and the easier it slides through, but bran mashes are not the best answer unless you feed Alfalfa to make up for the calcium.

            Comment


            • #7
              Wet beet pulp. Great fiber and wonderful to get extra water in.
              Grass. 24/7 goes a long way to prevent colic.

              Comment


              • #8
                My horse is a chronic colicker. He gets impaction and gas colics very easily. To help nearly eliminate them *knock on wood* he gets 1/2 scoop of Acculytes for breakfast, access to fresh water 24/7-he's never without a drop of water, and I put him on Strongid C2X.

                He also has ulcers so he gets Uguard for those along with Accel and some msm but none of that has any affect on his colics. Well, the U Guard might but the "tests" I have done don't seem to indicate that.

                For the most part the Strongid C2X and the Acculytes seem to be the key for my horse. I also never have his salt block holder empty. I figure the more access to things that make him want to drink the better. So far so good (we are talking 3 good years after 3 really really bad ones).
                Lord Stanely, Lord Stanley - come back to Pittsburgh!!!
                http://www.chronicleofmyhorse.com/profile/2_tbs
                *** I LOVE PUIKA FAN CLUB***

                Comment

                • Original Poster

                  #9
                  Thanks for all of the hints thus far! So, general consensus is that beet pulp would do better than wheat bran? I have fed her beet pulp before when I was beefing her up off the track. She does get orchard grass hay and generally does well with that, but I do think that this recent colic may have had to do with changing hays, even though I did it gradually. I had one vet in the past suggest that she coliced from the texture of the hay I was feeding being very fine and stringy so I've watched for that recently. I know it is also possible that the new hay had different types of bacteria in it and perhaps she is sensitive to that hence consideration of trying probiotics to keep her consistent if this is what is making her sensitive.

                  I did have a fecal done and she was negative for worms.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Beet Pulp. Duh! I feed it and I didn't even think of that Way better then bran and it sucks up more water. You can even cut back on some of the hay and replace it with soggy BP.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I don't think that hay has "different kinds of bacteria".

                      Our vets always say that horses on grass hays do tend to colic more.

                      We had one colic, a 20 year old in the winter, that didn't drink enough.
                      That was in many different horses, in the last ten years and all we feed is alfalfa.
                      How about trying that, only feeding her alfalfa and if she needs a little grain to feel that she is getting fed, a handful of senior feed?

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Strongid C2X!
                        She wasn't running away with me, I just couldn't stop her!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Bluey View Post
                          I don't think that hay has "different kinds of bacteria".
                          Sure it does. That's why they sometimes have to inoculate silage to get it to ferment better. Grass varies greatly in carbohydrate type and structure. Specific types of bacteria are associated with different kinds of grass based on the difference in the carb type.

                          Fermentation of fructans by epiphytic lactic acid bacteria
                          Marina Müller 2 , 3 Dorothee Lier 1

                          A total of 712 strains of lactic acid bacteria isolated from forage grasses were studied for their ability to ferment fructans of phlein- as well as inulin-type. Only 16 strains utilized phlein and eight of these also fermented inulin. They were identified as Lactobacillus paracasei subsp. paracasei, Lact. plantarum, Lact. brevis and Pediococcus pentosaceus. In the species Lact. paracasei subsp. paracasei, all strains gave positive results, whereas the other positive strains possessed unique properties within their own species. In all but two cases (strains of the species Lact. plantarum), the phlein was more intensively fermented than the inulin, as indicated by a lower pH and a higher lactic acid concentration. On the basis of the outcome of this study it seems worthwhile to inoculate grasses of low sugar content before ensiling with an active strain that can ferment fructans.
                          Are you feeding your horse like a cow? www.safergrass.org

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            So.. if her fecal was negative, that is one thing. What is her deworming schedule? Because I can tell you right now, if I had a horse who was a chronic colicer, I'd be feeding it a whole lot of DEWORMER. Vets who perform surgical colics say that a lot of them are related to encysted strongyles and worm damage.
                            "Kindness is free" ~ Eurofoal
                            ---
                            The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              My older guy is a chronic choker and here lately, a chronic colicer.

                              He gets 2.5 lbs of chopped alfalfa, 1/2 lb. stabilized rice bran, Omega Horseshine supplement (flax), and SmartVite Maintenace grass supplement (multi vit.). He gets this amount twice daily mixed with at least a gallon of water. Everything turns in to a green, slimy, slurpy mess which he LOVES!

                              For the choke, he was getting a senior feed mixed with water to make a gruel. About 4 months ago, he coliced 3 times in one month. I started the "back to basics" diet and all has been good (knock wood).
                              Animals are not disposable!!!
                              http://www.pawsnela.org

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                I can't believe no one has mentioned this. Has she been checked for ulcers?

                                We have a mare that was starting to become a chronic colicer (she ended up at the hospital twice within a year because of it. Thankfully, no surgery). She would impact because she wouldn't drink. Our vet got fed up, and the next time she colicked, while I was waiting for her she told me to give her banamine and a tube of GastroGuard. Damned if what was looking like another hospital bound colic didn't clear up in record time!

                                She then went on the 30 day GG treatment, and since then has drank VERY well, has yet to even think of acting colicky (touch wood), eats better than ever, and finally put the last remaining pounds on that we were desperate for. She has traveled and shown since then, so we do the 1/4 tube of UG a few days before and during those big things, and she is gets Tractguard daily. But she eats like a "normal" horse. 3 lbs of Strategy and basically free choice hay.

                                Imagine, she's an OTTB, too. Get that belly scoped if you haven't, or go ahead and do the treatment.
                                Amanda

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  PS- It has been well over a year since the last colic and the GG treatment. (touch wood again)
                                  Amanda

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by EqTrainer View Post
                                    So.. if her fecal was negative, that is one thing. What is her deworming schedule? Because I can tell you right now, if I had a horse who was a chronic colicer, I'd be feeding it a whole lot of DEWORMER. Vets who perform surgical colics say that a lot of them are related to encysted strongyles and worm damage.
                                    And tapeworms which rarely show up in fecals.

                                    I'd also have a horse like this scoped for ulcers. Chronic, low grade colics are among the cardinal symptoms.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Posters are right, don't trust the fecal count, it does not always pick up worms.
                                      Deworm.
                                      Check for ulcers and keep on an ulcer preventative. One cheap one for stomachs, after ulcers are cleared, is apple cider vinegar, I think a tablespoon a day mixed in a little feed.
                                      Beet pulp or beet shreds as posters have said, with lots of water.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        I agree with PP's- soup for meals! I'm guessing these are impaction colics, not gassy or twisty ones (if you know what I mean). The best way to prevent impaction colics is to keep the gut moving smoothly, I like an ounce of two of corn oil per meal (or flax seed) and warm water till the feed is the consistency of a slurry. I tend to feed these in deep soft rubber feed pans on the ground so I can easily scrub them out after each meal, especially in summer. You can throw in a peppermint for flavor, or apple-lytes etc.
                                        Do not take anything to heart. Do not hanker after signs of progress. Founder of the Riders with Fibromyalgia clique.

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