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Frosty grass: will consuming it give your horse colic?


  • Have you ever ever questioned whether or not turning out on frosty grass may very well be dangerous to your horse’s digestive system, and even trigger colic? With Britain dealing with one more interval of chilly and frosty climate this winter, waking as much as discover your fields lined with a layer of frost very first thing within the morning is a well-known sight.

    However must you be fearful about this inflicting colic in your horse? Not in keeping with vet Kieran O’Brien MRCVS of Penbode Equine in Devon.

    “Horses dwelling out in winter can fortunately eat frosted grass each morning for weeks on finish with out struggling any antagonistic impact,” he says. “Proof that frosted grass causes colic is simply circumstantial.

    “Frozen grass will probably be quickly warmed within the horse’s mouth throughout chewing and mixing with heat saliva, and it is going to be additional warmed because the grass travels down the oesophagus to the abdomen.

    “Moreover, there are unlikely to be any vital frost-induced chemical modifications in grass in winter such that colic would ensue. Whereas it’s straightforward to attribute an unexplained colic case to having lately eaten frosted grass, the proof that it is a actual issue is simply not there.”

    There are different components to contemplate when attempting to stop winter colic:

    1. On account of shorter days and moist floor turnout time sometimes decreases. Horses are stabled and motionless for longer and their grass consumption decreases, each growing the danger of colic.

    2. Horses don’t like ingesting chilly water. This, coupled with consuming much less grass — which is 80% water — will increase the colic danger as a result of water is crucial for a functioning digestive system.

    “Water maintains the fluidity of the contents [in the gut], making certain straightforward passage by means of the twists and turns within the digestive tract, particularly the colon,” explains Kieran.

    “Extreme dehydration of the intestinal contents in a water-deprived horse can sluggish the passage of digesta, risking on obstruction of the colon and inflicting impaction colic.”

    The next might assist encourage your horse to drink extra:

    • Heat up the water. In a single examine, horses drank extra when water was supplied very barely lukewarm.
    • Feed soaked sugarbeet (soaked in keeping with producer directions on the bag).
    • Feed haylage, which accommodates 20% extra water than hay.
    • Add flavouring to water, for instance apple juice or Ribena.

    Additionally contemplate turning off computerized drinkers – which can freeze throughout very chilly climate – and utilizing buckets as an alternative, in an effort to monitor water consumption.

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