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Horse Colic

What causes Horse Colic? Equine Colic can be caused by many things. Here are some common causes:

Sand Colic:

When horses ingest dirt and/or sand. Horses that are fed on the ground or have access to it may eat dirt and sand. Pasture grasses and hays may contain both. Over time, the dirt and sand will build up in the intestines and eventually cause discomfort. The horse may be carrying 30-80 pounds before showing signs of colic.

Over feeding:

If a horse breaks into the feed area and gorges itself colic could result.


Worm infestations disrupt circulation in the intestines, or blood clots and dead worms may cause blockages resulting in symptoms of colic in horses.

Irregular Feed Schedule:

This may cause a horse to ingest feed too quickly if he gets really hungry. Feeding right after work or if horse is still hot also can cause horse to come down with colic.

Sudden Changes in Feed:

When you change feeds, or introduce new feed, be sure you do so slowly!

Bad Feed:

Moldy or rotten feed can cause colic in horses.

Ingestion of Non-feed materials:

Stones, sticks, twine, and wood splinters are examples. Cribbers or horses that chew wood have a risk of swallowing bits and getting colic.

Fine Grain:

Sometimes it will pack together and cause blockages in the intestine.

Toxins or poisons:

Some toxins may cause colic. Moldy feed may contain toxins causing mold poisoning and colic.

Twisted Intestines:

Very severe and life-threatening. There are different types of twists in different areas, and they each have names. Here are a few:

  • Strangulation: When parts of intestine become entangled in tears in the supportive membrane.
  • Incarceration: Intestine is caught in inguinal ring of male horses, and blood supply is cut off by twisting.
  • Intussusception: One part of the intestine falls into the other. More common in foals than older horses.

The accumulation of sand, dirt and harmful bacteria in the horse’s gut presents the risk of becoming trapped, creating serious health problems including colic in horses.

psyilium plant

Psyllium is widely used for the health benefits to humans and horses

Research has shown that large quantities of psyllium husk, fed in the proper dosage, will achieve the desired result of helping to avoid colic in horses.