Skip to content

UT Animal Science Dept. Reports Diet and Management Associated With Colic In Horses



by Dr. Fredrick Harper
With summer picnics and family gathers, someone's likely to get a stomach ache after eating too much, the same thing occurs with horses. Horses are prone to colic, the general term used for a pain a horse has in its unique digestive tract. A study from Texas A & M University indicates that several dietary as well as management factors, tend to increase the risk of colic in horses. The researchers asked veterinarians to report on one colic case and one non-colic case to determine some of the most frequently observed causes of colic. There were 1,030 pairs of horses (2,060 horses) in the study.

Changes in the diet within the last two weeks were a major cause of colic. Changes might be the amount or type of grain fed or even feeding procedure. Feeding too much grain, changing to a different sweet feed or feeding sooner or later than normal may result in colic.

Changing the type of hay fed, and going from a poorer-quality to a higher-quality hay was also a specific dietary factor that resulted in colic. Poor quality hay is difficult to chew and less digestible, while higher quality hay could result in overeating. It wasn't possible to determine what actually was the reason for this problem.

There are many other factors that lead to colic such as weather changes, and horses that previously had colic problems were more likely to have colic again.

Internal parasites have been advocated as the major cause of colic. This study as well as others have not supported this theory.

Although there are many reasons why colic occurs, there are also many ways to help prevent it. Regular deworming, never keeping horses in stalls more than 12 hours daily, and also an adequate exercise routine at least once a week.

More Stories

  • Yoho announces retirement from Congress

    Rep. Ted Yoho (R-FL-3) announced he will not seek reelection and will retire from Congress in January 2021.  Yoho pledged to only serve four terms and that eight-year run will conclude at the end of this 116th Congress... Read More
  • KWHA honors all HIOs

    The Kentucky Walking Horse Association, KWHA, is a high point Association that puts on The Kentucky Celebration and a yearly awards banquet. Affiliation for KWHA will be sent out in early January to show managers... Read More
  • An Interesting Year

    The year 2019 has been an interesting one to say the least. For the past several years we have produced an issue dedicated to reviewing the news of the year that has shaped the industry or changed it in some significant way... Read More
  • TWHBEA elects first woman President

    A momentous and noteworthy occurrence in the history of the association’s storied existence – the first woman was elected President of the 84-year-old breed registry. Margo Urad, of Rockwall, TX, took the reins as the incoming top officer... Read More
  • Birth Announcement – Lane Cooper Price

    Lane Cooper Price was born Sunday, November 3, 2019, to Nice Price and Molli Hobgood of Fairmount, Georgia. He weighed 7 pounds 5 ounces and was 21 inches long. Proud grandparents are Alan and Cindy Price and Kerry and Penny Hobgood. Nick is trainer at Price Stables and Molli teaches 3rd grade in Fairmount, Georgia.  Read More
  • TWHBEA embraces change as new faces join the TWHBEA EC for 2020

    On the heels of Friday’s general membership meeting, the Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders’ & Exhibitors’ Association annual directors meeting mirrored yesterday’s meeting in tone and efficiency as about 70 of the group’s leaders gathered at 10 a.m. for a heavy load of business with the election serving as the pleasant shake-up of the day. Read More
  • Obituary – Claude Shiflet

    Claude Shiflet passed away today, December 7, with family at his side. The American Saddlebred Hall of Fame trainer was 87. He and his bride Alice had just celebrated their 67th anniversary the day before... Read More
  • Latest Issue 12 9 19

    Read More
  • Dr. Goldentyer to officially replace Juarez

    APHIS Administrator Kevin Shea sent the following letter to stakeholders announcing the selection of Dr. Betty Goldentyer as the permanent replacement for Bernadette Juarez. Initially Dr. Goldentyer had been named Acting Deputy Administrator but will not be permanent in the position... Read More
  • The new face of FAST: Fowler named Director of Advancement

    If her name sounds familiar it’s likely because she’s played a role in two important facets of the local community. A seasoned veteran in the media business with a heart for the horse, Sadie Fowler is now combining her unique skillset as the new face of FAST — the Foundation of Advancement and Support for the Tennessee Walking Show Horse. Read More