Due to the constant changes in the current weather, the icy conditions and fluctuating temperatures, the Keyflow team have noticed a significant rise in the number of calls, messages and advice enquiries relating to horses suffering bouts of colic.
We have put together a series of colic prevention tips, to support you to keep your horses safe and well this winter. Signs of colic vary in severity from mild discomfort to extreme pain and distress. They can include, loss of appetite, restlessness, pawing the ground and rolling, looking to the abdomen, sweating, increased respiratory rate and a faster pulse rate.
IF YOU THINK YOUR HORSE IS EXPERIENCING AN EPISODE OF COLIC – PLEASE CONSULT YOUR VET!
Feeding fibre is vital, but it must be suitable for your horse or pony. Ensure your horse has access to plenty of fibre which could be grass, hay, haylage, short fibre such as chaff, or fibre that has already been ground down, in the form of high fibre cubes, or beet pulp, which is fed soaked.
Soaked fibre can help to keep your horse trickle feeding throughout the day/night. Horses who spend additional time stabled, may benefit from access to varied fibre sources, which can not only support a healthy, active gut, it can also provide mental stimulation and environmental enrichment.
We often ask when we speak about your horse, is his or her worming and dental checks up to date. Worms play an obvious role in the link to colic, and if your horses dental checks are due or perhaps have lapsed due to the current circumstance, it may mean they are not able to break down their forage mechanically, leading to longer fibre than usual entering the intestine, potentially causing an impaction related issue. Keep a close check on your horse’s droppings for the length of fibre within them, and any abnormal smells or colours!
When checking your horse’s droppings, you must assess if they are becoming hard and perhaps more ‘pellet’ like. This may be due to your horse becoming dehydrated as they are sometimes reluctant to drink during these freezing days. Topping up your horse’s water bucket with warm water, adding salt to their feed, placing some apples in the water trough and using a fibre mash, such as Keyflow Pink Mash to encourage your horse to drink may help.
Challenging weather conditions may have made it impossible to turn out or exercise our horses, try your best to keep your horse moving around, even if it is a potter around the barn.
Feeding your horse pre and probiotics can support gut health and function, especially when sudden changes are made to their routine as a result of such long periods spent inside. Using Pink Mash helps hydrate, provides highly digestible fibre and Protexin probiotics and prebiotics. Other feeds from the Keyflow range that include gut support are: Golden Oldies, Stay Cool and Maestro.
Get in touch with a member of the team if you are unsure which feed will be most suited to your horses current needs.