By United Vet Equine, Oct 11, 2019
As temperatures drop, your horse’s risk of colic drastically increases. And because colic is difficult to prevent and usually unpredictable, the best kind of prevention is with good digestive health. As horse owners, it’s our job to be proactive in reducing the risk of colic by taking the right steps as the seasons change.
- Ensure Your Horse has Fresh, Clean Water
Be sure your horse always has access to fresh, clean water at all times, day and night. If you have automatic, heated waterers, check them regularly for free-flowing water. If possible, try to give your horse warmer water. Horses tend to drink more water in colder weather if the water is warm. You can also increase your horse’s water intake by providing 1 oz. of salt twice daily.
- Reduce Grain-Based Feed
Some horse owners might think that more grain intake is better when it gets colder. However, grain-based feeds can actually increase your horse’s risk of colic. So to make sure your horse is getting the nutrients it needs, we recommend increasing the roughage in his diet through grass or hay. And for horses that need added calories, you can use beet pulp to increase the calories.
If your horse does receive grain, consider giving two or three smaller portions throughout the day instead of a single feeding, which can overload the digestive tract.
- Forage Comes First
A horse’s digestive tract requires roughly 1.5-2% of their body weight in forage each day. Because horses are designed to graze, it’s recommended they get 24/7 access to forage. You can utilize slow-feed hay nets to create a grazing environment and length feeding time.
- Give Plenty of Turnout Time
If the weather allows for it, turn your horses out to pasture as much as possible. Less stall time and more unrestricted movement helps promote gut function.
- Consider Adding Digestive Support
Digestive supplements help promote beneficial bacteria growth and can improve digestive health.
United Vet Equine carries a variety of gastric support supplements for horses of all ages and disciplines. Gastro-Plex, one of our more popular digestive support supplements, provides two-way support with key ingredients that help support healthy stomach tissue lining. Ingredients include important antioxidants, probiotics, herbals, and Levucell® SC—a powerful yeast, which is clinically proven to help reduce the risk of colic by supporting hind gut function. You can order the gastroplex paste in Sharon's store on this site.