Colic in horses, water, salt and electrolytes

Last post 09-28-2009 12:29 PM by 48northfarm. 9 replies.
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  • 01-11-2009 8:23 PM

    Colic in horses, water, salt and electrolytes

    Here in Southern California, it seems everytime the weather takes a turn from hot to cold or cold to hot (which can be twice in the same week!), some horses seem to colic.  You come down to the stable some days and hear two or three horses suffered a bout of colic in the same evening/night.  Most of us have come to the conclusion it has something to do with water consumption.  My take is to offer your horse plenty of free choice salt and he or she will lick the salt, get thirsty and drink lots of water.  Another view is to feed electrolytes daily so the horse gets what they need and the amount is controlled.  I feel the electrolytes defeat the purpose of the free feeding of salt, to make the horse thirsty so they drink enough water.  What do you all think????  I'd love to hear what your experience has been.

    Just wondering,

     Bev and Bri

    ...and God took a handful of southerly wind, blew his breath over it and created the horse...

    ~ Bedouin Legend
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  • 01-12-2009 4:05 AM In reply to

    Re: Colic in horses, water, salt and electrolytes

     I would have to agree.  If you feed electrolytes, you SHOULD be feeding enough salt for them and they won't need free choice salt.  Each horse is different though, and I would recommend leave a free choice block even if you do end up feeding electrolytes.  If horses are not drinking enough water, or are working really hard every day, adding electrolytes will make sure they are getting enough, especially in a herd situation where a horse may not feel safe standing by the salt block for five minutes.  I used to teach at a riding camp, and I would put half a scoop in each horses bucket, morning and night, to be sure they were getting plenty of salt.  They also had two trace mineral (the red salt blocks) in their pasture.  The trick was to start adding the electrolytes slowly - most of the horses would go off their grain if you just dumped a scoop in.  In the end, I made a really nasty smelling, but apparently yummy, combination of beet pulp, garlic powder (helps with flies) and electrolytes.  They loved it!  Good luck with the colic, that must be scary to have happen so regularly.






    There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man. ~Winston Churchill
  • 01-12-2009 7:24 AM In reply to

    Re: Colic in horses, water, salt and electrolytes

    Briahna's Mom:
    Here in Southern California, it seems everytime the weather takes a turn from hot to cold or cold to hot (which can be twice in the same week!), some horses seem to colic.  You come down to the stable some days and hear two or three horses suffered a bout of colic in the same evening/night.  Most of us have come to the conclusion it has something to do with water consumption.

    Did the vet come out and say what type of colic it was?  If it was an impaction colic, then I would suspect water consumption; but I have one that colics everytime there is a huge change in barometric pressure (this was diagnosed by his vet, not me, going by his experience and Lariat's history), which often happens when there is a big temparature swing like you're describing, and his is more of a "tummy ache" colic episode than an impaction.  Unfortunately his vet didn't have any prevention suggestions other than to just keep an eye on him and the weather.  Thank God so far all his episodes have happend when I've been home (that I know of) and have been able to load him right up and get him to the vet.  As far as electrolytes go, if we're talking about a performace horse that is hauled frequently and does not always have access to "his" water from home, I think they're a good idea, otherwise; plain white salt blocks in my opinion.  A horse will eat/drink what it needs, and it's too easy to overdo anything by adding all kinds of stuff to their feed, and with their delicate digestive system, why take a chance?  To me free choice makes much more sense.
  • 01-12-2009 12:30 PM In reply to

    Re: Colic in horses, water, salt and electrolytes

    txspots:
    Did the vet come out and say what type of colic it was? 

    The one horse stabled closest to us was called "Gas Colic", a tummy ache.

    ...and God took a handful of southerly wind, blew his breath over it and created the horse...

    ~ Bedouin Legend
    Filed under:
  • 09-28-2009 12:14 AM In reply to

    Re: Colic in horses, water, salt and electrolytes

    Hey I'd like to get in on this, I'm desperate.  I have an 8 year old mare who has had two colic surgeries, they were almost exactly two years apart.  Happened in August when the weather was hot, took a dive in temp & poured rain, then got hot again in a few days.  My horse is in her 3rd month of healing now from her second surgery, and I'm frantic to find a way to prevent more problems.  I live in Central Washington and my vets have also blamed her colic to the severe temperature changes.  She is also incredibly upset at thunder & lightening shows, AND heavy wind & rain does it too.  Gets her really upset.  I've been very fortunate that she's quite demonstrative when she feels poorly, and obviously I've been able to get help to her in the nick of time.

    I'm seeking information from anyone else who has had this trouble, I feel the answer is somewhere out there, if I can only find the proper formula.  I have put her on probiotics to aid in her digestion, she is on a mostly grass, grass hay & some alfalfa hay in the winter diet - always seems to drink plenty of water.  She has free salt available in a selenium block-and I don't change her feed suddenly.  She drinks my well-water out of my house-its been tested, healthy for drinking.

     I'm constantly checking the weather reports now, and worrying myself half to death at the sound of a new wind coming through.  And right now, I don't have a clue what to do when I see another storm is coming. I have two other horses who have never done this before.  Anyone have a supplement that works, or do I have to find a support group for those constantly watching for the next sign of stomach ache that causes enough gas to flip a colon?  There is so much out there, I don't want to overdue it, or get her too far astray from her normal balance...how do I figure out what that is?

     Please help

     

  • 09-28-2009 5:03 AM In reply to

    Re: Colic in horses, water, salt and electrolytes

    We keep something around called DynaPro, from the company Dynamite, which has a lot of really great supplements. If you give it to them at the first signs of colic, it will usually get them up and eating and acting normal in half an hour or so, its saved us from having to call the vet many times, but in your case, it may just get her calm and her stomach working so she is in better shape when the vet does get there. Really its like a miracle, I wouldnt be at the barn without it, we have a colic prone arab gelding in his teens, and it has saved us being up all night on more than one occasion. But I would never advise anyone not to call a vet immediately when a colic looks severe, this is only if your horse is showing the very initial, milder symptoms, and if they improve quickly after administering it.

    We have very sandy soil here in Florida, so its usually impaction colic, where they get too much sand in their digestive systems, or sometimes they have some other physical issue that gives them a tummy ache. Our weather is extremely volatile, and I dont know what we'd do if they got sick every time the weather changed!

  • 09-28-2009 8:28 AM In reply to

    Re: Colic in horses, water, salt and electrolytes

    Jazzanme1:

    Hey I'd like to get in on this, I'm desperate.  I have an 8 year old mare who has had two colic surgeries, they were almost exactly two years apart.  Happened in August when the weather was hot, took a dive in temp & poured rain, then got hot again in a few days.  My horse is in her 3rd month of healing now from her second surgery, and I'm frantic to find a way to prevent more problems.  I live in Central Washington and my vets have also blamed her colic to the severe temperature changes.  She is also incredibly upset at thunder & lightening shows, AND heavy wind & rain does it too.  Gets her really upset.  I've been very fortunate that she's quite demonstrative when she feels poorly, and obviously I've been able to get help to her in the nick of time.

    I'm seeking information from anyone else who has had this trouble, I feel the answer is somewhere out there, if I can only find the proper formula.  I have put her on probiotics to aid in her digestion, she is on a mostly grass, grass hay & some alfalfa hay in the winter diet - always seems to drink plenty of water.  She has free salt available in a selenium block-and I don't change her feed suddenly.  She drinks my well-water out of my house-its been tested, healthy for drinking.

     I'm constantly checking the weather reports now, and worrying myself half to death at the sound of a new wind coming through.  And right now, I don't have a clue what to do when I see another storm is coming. I have two other horses who have never done this before.  Anyone have a supplement that works, or do I have to find a support group for those constantly watching for the next sign of stomach ache that causes enough gas to flip a colon?  There is so much out there, I don't want to overdue it, or get her too far astray from her normal balance...how do I figure out what that is?

     Please help

     

    Jazzanne see my post, it's about 2 or 3 before yours - sounds like we have the same horse.
  • 09-28-2009 11:53 AM In reply to

    Re: Colic in horses, water, salt and electrolytes

    Re: salt usage
    I have read that salt blocks do not give a horse enough salt--the blocks were made for cows--and the horse cannot lick the block enough to get what they really need. My mares get free choice salt in granulated form: plain old white table salt you can buy in 30 lb bags. My girls have Noble feed bins with two corners, where one corner holds their LMF Super Supplement and the other side holds loose salt. The middle of the bin allows them to eat their hay off the ground while still keeping it off the dirt and not strewn all over.
    Megan


    "The horse you get off is not the horse you got on. It is your job as a rider to ensure that as often as possible, the change is for the better."

    Anonymous




  • 09-28-2009 11:58 AM In reply to

    Re: Colic in horses, water, salt and electrolytes

    I've never added salt to a horse's diet in my life other than offering a free-choice plain white salt block.  Not to say that's all every horse in the world needs, it's just been my experience.  And I've only ever fed Electrolytes to performance horses or working horses in the summer.

  • 09-28-2009 12:29 PM In reply to

    Re: Colic in horses, water, salt and electrolytes

    I don't add it to my horse's diet, it's just available to them in loose form. And they do eat it like that, some more than others.
    Megan


    "The horse you get off is not the horse you got on. It is your job as a rider to ensure that as often as possible, the change is for the better."

    Anonymous





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