Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Minimizing Winter Colic - Full Article

How to keep colic at bay during cold months.

When asked to describe the most common wintertime equine health problem in their areas, veterinarians and horse owners around the country respond with near unanimity: colic. Even in the Southwest, where frigid temperatures are extremely rare, cases of impaction and sand colic spike during the winter months.

Three cold-weather practices converge to increase the likelihood of intestinal blockages (impactions) this time of year:

* Horses tend to consume less water in colder weather, either because they don't get as thirsty as in the summer or because their water sources freeze over. In addition, the roughages common in winter rations contain less than 20 percent moisture compared to the 75 percent or more water content in spring and summer grass. With insufficient liquid in the digestive tract, the food being processed becomes too dry to be moved along by peristaltic action and blocks a portion of an intestine...

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