Call (970)690-4921
9am - 5pm MST Mon.-Fri.

Horse Colic

What is Horse Colic?

Colic in horses is defined as abdominal pain, but it is a clinical sign rather than a diagnosis. The term colic can encompass all forms of gastrointestinal conditions which cause pain as well as other causes of abdominal pain not involving the gastrointestinal tract. The most common forms of colic are gastrointestinal in nature and are most often related to colonic disturbance. There are a variety of different causes of equine colic, some of which can prove fatal without surgical intervention. Colic surgery is usually an expensive procedure as it is major abdominal surgery, often with intensive aftercare. Among domesticated horses, colic is a major cause of premature death. The incidence of equine colic in the general horse population has been estimated between 10 and 11 percent on an annual basis. It is important that any person who owns or works with horses be able to recognize the signs of colic in horses and determine whether or not a veterinarian should be called.

Colic is a pain in the horse’s abdominal cavity that may be related to sand and impaction caused by feed, stress, or fresh grass. All of these colic reactions have specific relationships with where the horse is situated while feeding, the environment he is in, the work he undertakes, the condition of the digestive system, his level of boredom, and the condition of his teeth, just to name a few.

When vets diagnoses sand colic in horses, people often say, “but my horse is in pasture, not on sand.” Your lawn has soil under the leaves of the grasses—so does the pasture. Hay comes from an industrial garden situation. Some horses pick up more sand than others as they graze; and some horses’ digestive systems have more motility than others.

The age of the horse doesn't appear to have any impact on the problem, as horses of all ages suffer from sand colic. From foals and yearlings, who typically have a high incidence of having horse colic and prefer to eat sand in many cases, to old horses who cannot chew their food, age doesn't appear to be a factor.

The usual way of treating sand colic in horses is to flush the system with oil—this will generally pass across the top of the impaction, possibly opening a channel for the future ingested material. Others will attempt to drench the horse with an administration of psyllium husk in a form which, unfortunately, lets little product arrive in the correct position in the digestive system, and clogs up the nasal tube as it gels.

Administering ColiClenz™ Plus provides the correct dose of psyllium husk to your horse. By introducing it into the intestinal area in accurate doses and intervals it provides impact where the horse needs it most and is able to achieve the results you desire.

By introducing ColiClenz™ Plus into the horse’s diet every 10 weeks, you reduce the risk of high levels of sand retention and the build-up of feed refuse and other indigestible materials, which could accumulate in time, causing impaction, thus reducing the risk of sand colic.

The diagram below illustrates the extent of the horse’s digestive system—nearly 72 feet in length from the Stomach (A) to the Small Intestine (B), to the Caecum (C) and then onto the Large Colon (D). By observing the twists and bends in the digestive tract, you can see how easy it is for foreign material to become caught, or become an obstruction in the system, causing food, stones, sand, or gravel to be lodged, and eventually cause a blockage. The obstruction then promotes bacteria and the accumulation of toxins, which make the horse sick. If this happens, it may require expensive surgery.


GI tract of horse

In the present environment of stables, stalls, and paddocks, very few horse owners have not experienced a horse showing signs of abdominal distress—by pawing at their bellies, lying down frequently, rolling and biting at their bellies—all common clinical signs of sand colic in horses in its early stages. These signs are indicative of all mild regular horse colic.

Then we go through the procedure:

  • Has the horse a temperature?
  • Is he a little depressed?
  • Any interest in what is going on around him or his feed bin?
  • Is he yawning excessively?
  • Is he trying to urinate and either fails or just passes a trickle?
  • Does he want to stand in the urinating posture?
  • Is he increasingly trying to lie down, pawing and thrashing from side to side?

It’s a guessing game with potentially deadly consequences.

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.

psyillium plant for help with colic

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.