Thehorse.com - Full Article
by: Marie Rosenthal
September 14 2009, Article # 14907
If your horse is at risk for intestinal stones or enteroliths, consider replacing an alfalfa-based diet with grass hay, said Diana M. Hassel, DVM, PhD, of Colorado State University.
Hassel and colleagues evaluated two equine diets and water supplies to see their effect on minerals and the pH of the gut. The gastrointestinal tracts of horses with stones tend to be more alkaline and have higher mineral content. Half of the study horses had undergone surgery in the past to remove intestinal stones, and the other half had no history of stones.
An enterolith inside a horse's colon, which can cause colic
Enterolith after being removed form a horse's colon
An enterolith before and after surgical removal at Washington State University. This particular one weighed 3.6 kg and measured 20 cm around. The horse survived and recovered well.
"We found that horses fed alfalfa had a higher pH (more alkaline) in their gut than those fed grass hay," she said.