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EQUINE NUTRITION: Diet to follow after a colic

Autotranslator Activated from Spanish to English

For Coby Bolger

Overcome an episode of colic, there are doubts about the recommended diet to follow the horse. We then review the different options available depending on each type of colic.

When we talk about "colic" refers to an episode of abdominal pain. The symptoms of colic may include: restlessness in the box, the horse lies down again and again, look at his belly, stop eating, sweat and you can see other signs of pain. The pain can be mild or severe and in some cases, colic is resolved without treatment. At other times, however, can cause the horse's death if not surgically involved. So if we suspect that our horse has colic, you call the vet urgently and not allow the animal to eat or drink anything to confirm the diagnosis.

Once this episode, doubts arise about what may or may not eat the horse. The cause and type of colic affecting the diet protocol during recovery, hence there are divided opinions about diet recommended in these cases. Colic can arise either because of something you have eaten the specimen or because of how your gastrointestinal tract itself. It is important that, once overcome an episode of colic, prevent it from happening that could occur because other improper diet.

On the other hand, we must make it clear that the management of diet after colic is very different from simple procedures to follow when the horse has been operated.

The simple diet after colic

There are few studies about how to feed the horse after an episode of colic. For years, veterinarians have been developing diets using the experiences of their own cases and, later, with the arrival of different processes for handling raw materials, commercial products were introduced and specialized to provide proper nutrition to horses that had suffered such an episode.

Today, it is estimated that 80% of all cases of colic are of the "simple colic." But not always is the cause of this type of colic, so that routine treatment is applied to relieve pain and adjustment of diet is minimal. Thus, the horse does not receive any feed or water during the episode but when there is evidence in the intestinal tract motility and normal production of manure and fodder is reintroduced in the first place and, shortly afterwards, he returns to a normal diet . In some cases, however, can not be returned to supply feed grains and reduce the production of gases. The more severe the colic, the longer it must wait to reenter the normal diet.

If a horse starts to suffer from various cramps followed, it is very important to find out what causes it, as it may be related to other health problems such as ulcers or piroplasmosis. It is also possible that the horse in question will not tolerate their current diet and need to adjust it to reduce further the risk of colic.

The diet after colic impaction in the colon

On the other hand, between 8% and 10% of colic is caused by an impaction in the colon (a mass of grain / forage / straw / bed blocking the passage of manure). In these cases, the subject stops moving ingested, usually by lack of fluid, and the mass remains motionless in the colon. Spasms in the colon around the mass also tend to tighten further, worsening the situation. The horse with impaction should not receive any food until the vet can fix your situation.

In cases not requiring surgery, when the vet gives the okay to return the horse to eat, you must provide something fresh or ensiled grass horse (which is 40% water). If not available either of these two types of forage, it can get wet meadow hay for 20 minutes. When the transit time back to normal, you can add some grain feed or gradually.

The diet after colic surgery

Obviously a horse colic surgery is facing a serious situation. The use of anesthesia and antibiotics, usually in the operations of colic, directly impairs the motility of the digestive system and destroys the intestinal flora. In the most extreme cases, may even be necessary to cut a part of the digestive system. And depending on where and how much they have to cut, may be affected the absorption of certain nutrients in the animal.

Recovery from colic surgery is a complex process. The first step is to rehydrate the horse. You can hydrate by gavage or if there is intestinal motility, providing drinking water. Do not feed grain or bran, or the horse I recently operated due to lack of intestinal flora in order to minimize the risk of gas production.

The new horse colic surgery are also at high risk of laminitis or diarrhea. For this reason, it must be ½ kg of silage to horses every three hours and 24 hours have elapsed since the colic, you can leave the horse equine silage chop. Typically, the specimen will eat about 2% of their body weight in forage daily.

On the other hand, some commercial products formulated for use after surgery with high levels of fiber that increases the motility, provide anti-oxidants to combat stress suffered during surgery and probiotics to help the recovery of the intestinal flora. These may be added to the diet as instructed by the nutritionist.

You can also use small amounts of alfalfa branch to protect the horse's stomach against ulcers. Alfalfa acts as a pH correction and prevents the production of gases.

Finally, after one week of operation, you can gradually increase the proportion of high-fiber foods with antioxidants to combat stress after surgery.

Lower energy level

In any case, the energy level necessary for a horse recovering from colic is less than a normal horse, as a specimen that has suffered bowel colic is empty and not waste energy in the digestive process.

The digestive process consumes about 15% of the total energy requirement of the horse. Thus, after two or three days of surgery, the horse must return to eat at least half of its energy requirements. If the copy failed to ingest this amount, the veterinarian should help you with nutrients intravenously.

In some cases there has been a glucose intolerance in the first 24 to 48 hours after the operation, so sometimes it may be necessary to treat the horse with insulin. But often, it corrects itself.

Summary: No formal research has been done on what the best protocol for diets "post colic", but considering the large number of veterinarians who treat colic every day, there is much information on how to reintroduce the horse a normal diet. The first step is to ensure the motility of the digestive system and then must strengthen the intestinal flora.