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8 Common Causes of Colic

Updated: Nov 5, 2023

  1. Stall confinement: Increased stabling (more than 12 hours per day) can contribute to colic.

  2. High grain/low forage diets: Horses’ digestive systems are better equipped to process forage than concentrates.

  3. Inadequate water intake: Not enough water can lead to impaction colic.

  4. Overfeeding or rapid food consumption: This can cause digestive issues leading to colic.

  5. Lack of movement: Horses evolved as hindgut fermenters, grazing for most of the day while constantly moving.

  6. Poorly chewed food due to dental problems: This can cause impaction colic.

  7. Severe worm infestation: Parasites can block the movement of food through the intestines and cecum.

  8. Stress or rapid diet changes: These can often lead to gas colic or cramping colic. When it comes to colic, prevention is better than the cure. All of the above are easy to avoid by providing adequate turnout, grass or hay based diets, monitoring water intake, annual dental checks, a holistic approach to parasite management and slow introduction of new feeds.

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