Causes of colic in feeding horses

While wild horses forage for food that is in an untreated state, tamed horses today are given food that is chopped, ground, crushed, heated, and mixed with food additives. Our horses get high-protein, high-energy and denatured food in large volume (concentrate) and of inferior quality (roughage). This faulty feeding, along with other supervening factors, results in colic in the long run because the stomach and intestinal tract is chronically damaged. When the intestinal tract is chronically damaged, a change of weather, for example, is no longer tolerable and the horse responds with a colic. Excitement and stress can also be crucial factor to induce colic in horses. In many cases, the gastro-intestinal tract of affected horses is already damaged such that an additional factor did not occur in order to trigger colic, and the injury has already progressed so far that colic occurs without other causes.

Preventing colic in horses from feeding and housing

Preventing colic in horses can be accomplished through proper feeding and housing. Horses that are kept in appropriate conditions and nature-lined, are wormed regularly and and are kept effectively in a loving, fear-and stress-free environment with plenty of free movement to live, are quite resistant to colic. In such situations, one can further prevent colic in horses if they are not exposed to toxic factors, such as the inclusion of poisonous plants, drug intolerance / overdoses and other negative factors.

Causes of colic in horses

Causes of colic are primarily found in non-optimal feeding of horses, too little exercise, anxiety and stress factors, deprivation, and medication. Improving such condition can prove successful in preventing colic in horses.

Colic in horses is an absolute emergency and life-threatening

Colic can affect horses within seconds and is basically an absolute emergency in equine medicine. Colic in horses with sensitive and very complicated digestive system in conjunction with a highly sensitive autonomic nervous system is an absolute emergency situation, and is often fatal. Therefore, always be on: Red Alert.

If your horse is in a life-threatening situation, you must contact a vet immediately at the first signs of colic. Basically, the vet or a veterinary clinic should treat acute colic. Pet medication can be considered both for preventing colic in horses, as well as for after colic has been treated, but never in the case of acute colic. A rescue medication should be initiated only by veterinarians as they are animal practitioners who are trained in appropriate medication and other methods of investigation and diagnosis. A competent and equipped veterinary clinic with expertise in pet medicine may provide good service and further regulation of the after-care. A homeopathic treatment can be initiated to support the functioning of the stomach and intestine, which is promising as a rule.

Preventing colic in horses

The most important factor for preventing colic in horses in the long run to best meet the needs and the habitat of the horse is parked horse feeding. However, horse owners face a great deal of misinformation on feeding of horses due to lack of expertise of the manufacturer. It is advisable, therefore, to seek counseling on horse feeding from a person who understands her subject and has the appropriate training and expertise. Thus, paying an independent consultant which provides neutral advice and has the corresponding knowledge about the complicated subject of horse feed and makes recommendations is advisable, and will assist in the goal of preventing colic in horses.

Feeding and management should be designed as close to nature as possible to prevent colic in horses. However, also take into consideration each individual horse, its habitat, its constitution. This way you can receive sensible horse fee advice which can be applied to each individual case in order to be able to incorporate important factors, and therefore, provide many positive results for the affected horse.


Dr. Christine King: Preventing Colic in Horses, Paper Horse 1999.

David W. Ramey: Concise Guide to Colic In the Horse, Howell Book House 1996.