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Discuss Sand Colic Prevention: Psyllium vs. Flax Seed at the Horse Health forum - Horse Forums.

Over the past week, we have had 4!! yes, 4! extremely complicated colic situations with ...
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    Question Sand Colic Prevention: Psyllium vs. Flax Seed

    Over the past week, we have had 4!! yes, 4! extremely complicated colic situations with horses at my stables. All 4 of them are in paddocks next to each other, so the dirt composition is the same......dirt mixed with alot of sand . Apparently, one horse likes to eat dirt by the mouthful....eww. )

    1 case was not entirely sand colic related; his intestine/ colon?? flipped over and got squished inside his abdomen, causing impaction. He had to be rushed off to the vet for some immediate treatment. At this time, he is doing better.

    The other 3 have sand colic, 1 has approx 8 inches of sand ( could that be right????) and all are on treatments as prescribed by the vet.

    The sad part is, is that the 2 severe cases belonged to the same family! Imagine both of your horses colicing at the same time! They even did monthly/ bimonthly Metamucil/ Psyllium treatments. Neverless, their vet bill has added up to approx 4 K. (Not exactly pocket change for some of us )

    So, As for my boys, they are not showing any signs, 1 is out in a large dirt pasture, 1 shares a medium sized paddock with another horse. Now, I have not treated either boys with monthly Metamucil/ or any other Psyllium powder and so far so good. However, they do get approx 3/4 to 1 cup of a ground flax seed/ supplement mixture (Horse Health Product Horseshine Omega 3 Flax Feed Supplement by Omega Fields) daily. (Or at least 5 days per week).

    So my questions are as follows:
    1) Can flax seed be just as beneficial as psyllium for moving sand out of the gut?

    2)What are everyone's maintainence schedule or how do you prevent sand colic (esp those in sandy terrain)? How much do you give for how many days per week?

    3) What products do you prefer?

    4) Is the generic Metamucil or (Walmart/ Target) brand just as good as the horse brand named products?

    Please share your knowledge, insight, personal stories, and any additional info or comments that you may have!!!!

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    The best prevention for sand colic is to supply adequate hay or forage as this has been proven to be the best at moving sand through the GI tract. Having forage in front of them also decreases the likelihood that they will just sit there and eat sand. However, the owner of the horse that is a big sand eater should discuss the possibility of gastric ulcers with the the vet as eating odd things is a common sign and dry lotting and meal feeding are risk factors for developing ulcers.
    Cindy D.
    Licensed Veterinary Technician, TX
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    As Ryle said, free choice forage is the best prevention. But, it isn't necessarily all that's needed. Adequate minerals in the diet is also necessary. And yes, ulcers can cause a horse to eat sand.
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    Unfortunately, free choice is not an option.....

    The horses at my stable are fed twice per day ( fairly good quality hay via visual inspection...I have yet to taste it myself!) but it is thrown on the ground. Thanks for the ulcer heads up....I will foreard the info on to the owners! Why do horses develop ulcers? Are they stress related as they are in humans? How fast do they develop and how significant are they before they start eating oddities to feel better?

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    I forgot to add that I would be really examining all the management practices at this facility because 4 colics in a short time is a really high incidence. When this sort of incidence is seen it is generally related to management practices which increase the risk of colic.
    Cindy D.
    Licensed Veterinary Technician, TX
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    Quote Originally Posted by IheartDuke View Post
    Unfortunately, free choice is not an option.....

    The horses at my stable are fed twice per day ( fairly good quality hay via visual inspection...I have yet to taste it myself!)
    Then how about simply MORE hay?

    but it is thrown on the ground.
    Get a couple of mats for the hay to be thrown on.

    Thanks for the ulcer heads up....I will foreard the info on to the owners! Why do horses develop ulcers? Are they stress related as they are in humans? How fast do they develop and how significant are they before they start eating oddities to feel better?
    Yes, they can be stress related. Your boarding situation is stress for a horse, a beast who is programmed to move move move and forage for food. Bute and banamine and other NSAIDS cause "mechanical" ulcers as well.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ryle View Post
    I forgot to add that I would be really examining all the management practices at this facility because 4 colics in a short time is a really high incidence. When this sort of incidence is seen it is generally related to management practices which increase the risk of colic.

    I completely agree! As I mentioned, all 4 are in close vicinity for their paddocks. 2 were inside an inclosed arena (large wooden siding..it looks like a large above ground swimming pool from the outside ) with sandy dirt on the inside that obviously cannot blow away. They have no visual of other horses, and were put here as one is a wild mustang and less stimulation was thought to be best.

    The other 2 are in a large paddock that surrounds the "swimming pool looking " thing..kinda a half circle around the enclosed arena. So obviously, it is the same kind of terrain (what is the technical term to describe ground type/ density/ follage...composition??)

    Also, all the horses eat their hay off off the ground no matter what type of ground covering is there.....(mgt issues??)

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    JBand, All horses are fed 2 times per day....more hay? That may not be so easy to suggest to the BO as we think, as all horses would have to get more food. I myself, try to feed a third time, which is where I give them their supplements and extras for nutrition ( rice bran, flax mixture, soaked beet pulp, BOSS).

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    Also, let me clarify....2 that coliced were the only 2 in the large "swimming pool type arena" and the other 2 were in the surrounding paddock.

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    Can you get fence style hay feeders? That would help...
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