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Preventing Colic In Horses

May 16, 2023

Few things can strike fear into the heart of an equestrian the way the word ‘colic’ does. Colic, as you may know, is one of the leading causes of death in horses. There are many different kinds of colic, with the main three ones being gas colic, spasmodic colic, and impaction colic. While there’s no way to completely guarantee that your horse will never get colic, there are things you can do to lower the odds. You’ll read some key ones in this article from Hassayampa Veterinary Services, your veterinarian in Wickenburg, AZ, and the surrounding communities.

Feeding Practices

Sandy ground is definitely not uncommon in these parts, and it can cause or contribute to colic. Use hay racks to feed your equine friend. You may also want to put rubber mats below the racks, so your horse can nibble up dropped scraps without ingesting as much sand. Make dietary changes slowly, and check with your vet before offering rich or sweet feed.


Spending too much time indoors isn’t any better for Silver than it is for us. Horses are naturally always on the move, whether they are grazing, moving away from danger, or just running around. Make sure your horse is getting suitable exercise and turnout time.

Dental Care

Horses’ teeth often get uneven over time. If this isn’t addressed, it will lead to trouble chewing, which will in turn lead to trouble digesting. Have Silver’s teeth examined regularly, and floated as needed.

Soaking Hay

This can help prevent episodes in horses that are prone to developing impaction colic. Soaking hay can help in two ways: it increases water intake, and also softens the hay for easier chewing. That said, it may not be the right option for every horse. Ask your vet for specific advice.


Gut health can play a role in colic, so it stands to reason that improving gut health can reduce the risk of colic. However, it’s best to check with your vet before offering probiotics, or any other supplement.


Keep a close eye on Silver! This won’t prevent colic, but may help you catch it early, which can make a huge difference. Red flags include sweating, nipping at flanks, restlessness, isolation, and unusual behavior.

Please contact Hassayampa Veterinary Services, your veterinarian in Wickenburg, AZ, and the surrounding communities, for questions about horse care. We’re here to help!

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