Let’s talk about the ‘C’ word!

Horse gut health needs to be taken seriously… What is it about Colic that strikes fear into any horse owners’ heart? Perfect normality one day and then… Bam! An emotional rollercoaster like no other ensues as we gather our wits and begin to pick up the pieces; often clutching at straws as we do everything in our power to ensure we all make it to the other end unscathed. Life grinds to a halt as we take on these battles, more often than not, with the odds firmly stacked against us.

Despite the size of our horses, their digestive system is extremely delicate by design. Rumbling round in their tummies is a whole finely balanced mini ecosystem and to cause an upset here can have disastrous consequences. The type and number of bacteria in the horse’s gut can cleverly adapt and adjust gradually depending on what our horses eat. Horse gut health can be affected by sudden changes, such as a significant increase in the number of hours turned out at grass can whip our little fermenting friends into quite a frenzy.

To avoid digestive upset, any alteration to a horse’s diet (even the number of hours turned out at grass) should be made gradually over a period of seven days. Over recent years horses diagnosed with serious metabolic conditions seem to have risen dramatically, partially due to modern feeding and husbandry.

We all either own or know of a horse or pony who suffers with repeated bouts of colic, stomach ulcers or laminitis. The common triggers for each of these are food and stress!

Calming Those Colicky Cramps

Catching signs of abdominal discomfort early can be a critical component in determining the outcome. Almost all horses will suffer at least one bout of colic in their lifetime and, although the vast majority of cases recover fairly quickly, early intervention is key. The good news is that there are little things we can do when we spot signs of colic which can make a big difference. It makes sound sense to add Colikare to your equine medical cabinet.

When used the moment you notice abdominal discomfort or signs of a distended tummy, Colikare can bring rapid relief by absorbing intestinal gas. The highly palatable and soothing combination of peppermint, fennel and marjoram helps to relax stomach muscles. Colikare is not only suited to one-off treatments of grass related discomfort, it is also ideal as a daily supplement for horses who exhibit discomfort caused by stress-related behaviours such as wind-sucking and crib-biting or for horses and ponies with a penchant for bedding.

Spring is underway and the grass growth spurt has begun, now may be a good time to introduce Colikare as a daily supplement. One bottle is likely to see your horse through until the Summer months.



Follow Your Gut

We’ve all seen the early warning signs: tail twitching, irritability, pawing the ground, looking at their tummy, loss of appetite, excessive gas or fewer than usual droppings.

Our instincts are usually right, if you are in any doubt or your horse shows signs of abdominal discomfort, whether it be a case of grassy stomach, change of diet or a stress induced episode, time is of the essence.

Looking after our horse’s gut health should be as much a priority as tending to their feet or teeth.

Like it or not, modern horse management methods can be partly responsible and factors such as high protein levels in feeds can have a detrimental effect on delicate tummies.

horse gut health

Horse Gut Health

Feeding horses to ensure they have the most nutritious diet can be a bit of a mine field. Many of us feed concentrates of some description on a daily basis, one of the things we need to bear in mind is that these feeds take their toll on the digestive system. The Ph of concentrates remains higher in the stomachs for longer than any forage we feed our horses.

This in turn means considerable fermentation occurs affecting the acidity levels in the stomach. Higher than usual acidity can lead to pain and discomfort particularly if your horse has a compromised intestinal tract. Damage to the delicate lining of the stomach or intestinal tract can occur as part and parcel of the ageing process, underlying gastric ulcers or as a result of worms and other intestinal parasites. These vulnerable areas will become irritated easily by higher than usual levels of acidity.

There are a range of supplements available to maintain Ph balance and support the digestive system. We recommend Hilton Herbs GastriX as a natural and soothing supplement specially designed to help gut conditions remain optimal. Although we can never predict when we will battle the next bout of colic, we can ease our minds in the knowledge that we have done all we can to strengthen our horse’s digestive system and offer optimum protection.

horse gut health gastriX

Hilton Herbs GastriX