Sand colic in horses occurs when sand accumulates in the large colon. Occurring around the world, sand colic is often treated by a veterinarian, but preventative measures are available, including adding psyllium to the horse's feed. A bulk-forming laxative that absorbs water, psyllium can pass through the digestive system without being completely dissolved. Magnesium sulphate, commonly called Epsom salts, is also a laxative administered for sand colic.
To study the effects of psyllium and magnesium sulphate, researchers from the University of Helsinki used 40 horses that had been admitted to an equine hospital with at least 100 square centimeters of sand accumulation in their large colon. Scientists Kati Niinistö, Mirja Ruohoniemi, Francesca Freccero and Marja Raekallio used half of the horses as a control group and treated the other 20 horses with 1 gram per kilo of body weight each of psyllium and magnesium sulphate via nasogastric tube for four days.
No horses had access to soil during the study. Over the course of the study, 75 percent of the horses treated with psyllium and magnesium sulphate passed their sand accumulation. Of the control horses, 10 percent resolved the sand accumulation on their own.
It was determined that the horses treated with psyllium and magnesium sulphate were able to clear the sand in their large colon better than the horses that were not treated at all.
Read the full study here.
Read more at HorseTalk.
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