Causes Of Colic: More Than Just Feed Changes

by | 07.12.2019 | 9:12am

Equine management changes can increase the risk of colic, and it's not just the changing of feed horse owners and caretakers need to be concerned with: changes in exercise, pasture, water or housing can also up a horse's risk of gastrointestinal distress. Also, a new study shows that the more caregivers a horse has, the higher the risk of colic.

Drs. Laila Curtis, John Burford, Gary England and Sarah Freeman of the University of Nottingham completed a study that identified, categorized and appraised the factors associated with an increased colic risk. they identified 3,756 publications on colic, with 58 that met final inclusion criteria. The publications showed that feeding a lot of concentrates, changing feed and changing housing increased the risk of a colic episode.

Each of these can be modified by the horse owner or caretaker, they note.

In total, 22 categories of risk were identified and grouped into three areas: horse-related, environment-related and management-related factors. Horse-related factors included gender, breed, age, foaling history, height, medical history, medication, behavior. Management factors included those involved with the care, housing, turnout, feed, water, exercise, medical care and transport of the horse. Environmental factors included location and season.

All changes that are able to be adjusted slowly, should be; abrupt changes that take place, as in the changing of housing, require additional monitoring of the equine.

The researchers note that there is a need for a consistent and transparent design study; the use of similar reference ranges and categories would also assist in quality evidence gathering for additional research and conclusions.

Read the full study here.

Read more at HorseTalk.

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