Colic is a scary and an all too often deadly occurrence in horses. Luckily, there are precautionary measures you, the serious horse owner, can take towards colic prevention in your horse. RSB Animal Health and Joanie Johnston, founder and product creator of Nose-It! Pet, Nose-It! Equine and Nose-It! Zoo, shared with us 6 tips to preventing a colic tragedy in your barn.
“Nearly all colic prevention research focuses on ensuring consistency in feeding programs that take an animal’s natural instinct to forage for food into consideration; thereby reducing stress, whether it be better management of their external environment to being aware of internal health implications,” explains Johnston. “In my opinion, the easiest of all the prevention tips include those that are most beneficial to any equine management process, such as the following:”
Here are 6 simple colic prevention tips for your horse:
#1 – Maintain a regular feeding schedule. And remember, consistent access is key here. You will want to provide your horse(s) with a high-quality fiber and roughage-rich diet that mimics natural grazing. This is best done with constant access as the smaller portions consumed regularly aid in digestion.
#2 – When feeding–whether it be fiber-dense or limited grains–decrease sand ingestion by keeping food off the ground. When doing so, remember to allow for your horse to still be able to graze in a natural, head down state as they would in a pasture.
#3 – Super important: You must be sure to offer your horse(s) clean, fresh water at all times throughout the day and night.
#4 – You will want to maintain a consistent and exercise schedule for your horse. Also, offer frequent, if not continual, pasture turnout or paddock turnout with access to hay.
#5 – When implementing changes to their diet or activity levels, do so slowly as not to disrupt their delicate digestion.
#6 – Incorporate slow-feeders into your equine management process. By doing so, this will lead to happier and healthier horses.