Moon phases can affect both humans and animals on many levels, from fluctuations in hormones to fertility levels to immune responses. However, there has been no concrete evidence that the phases of the moon effect a horse's colic risk. Because of this, Lucile Vigouroux, Danielle Ferriola, Linda Ritchie and Dr. Jesslyn Bryk-Lucy, DVM, created a study to determine if colic could be linked to the phases of the moon, reports The Horse.
The researchers surveyed nearly 200 horse owners, veterinarians and trainers to see what these equine enthusiasts felt were the top causes of colic. The respondents said that they felt dehydration and weather (49 and 46 percent respectively) were responsible for colic; 42 percent felt that nutrition was a top cause of colic. They also felt that horses colicked most during a full moon.
The research team then used 100 of Centenary University's riding horses to track colic cases, barometric pressure, humidity, temperature, moon phase and atmospheric temperature in the 12 and 24 hours before each incidence of colic.
Though they found no significant association between colic and any of the weather metrics they tracked, there was a weak association between colic and moon phase: 60 percent of the recorded colic cases occurred during the waxing gibbous phase, which is the 3.5 days before a full moon, and during the full moon.
While this is not a definitive, the researchers suggest that equine caretakers take note of when the waxing gibbous and full moon occur and take extra steps to prevent colic during these moon phases.
Read more at The Horse.
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