Return to Website

Ask the Nutritionist: Dr. Getty's Forum for Equine Nutrition

   Welcome to my forum. 

Here you will find more than 6 years of questions and my answers. It is searchable and offers a great deal of information. 

Currently, I am discontinuing new questions. This may change in the future, but in the meantime, please know that It has been a true pleasure serving you. 

Take a look at my Nutrition Library and Tips of the Month for a variety of answers on selected topics. Be sure to sign up for my monthly e-newsletter, Forage for Thought

I also have a growing number of recordings on "Teleseminars on Nutrition Topics that Concern You" as well as the new, Spotlight on Equine Nutrition Series -- printed versions of favorite teleseminars.

And finally, look for my articles in a variety of local publications and online newsletters, as well as the Horse Journal, where I am the Contributing Nutrition Editor.  

 

All the best,

 Dr. Getty 

 



Forum: Ask the Nutritionist: Dr. Getty's Forum for Equine Nutrition
This forum is locked and posting is not allowed
Author
Comment
Weather-related colic

I have a 20 year old TB mare (sound and in good weight) that has mild, weather-related gas colic, and I was wondering if there is any way to prevent or reduce the likelihood of them occurring. They started, or became apparent, when I moved her home in 2008. They may have occurred before when she was boarded and no one noticed because they are short-lived. But I am growing more concerned as she gets older because the one she had last January ended up not being a simple gas colic and instead turned into endotoxemia (of course it could be coincidence that I think it turned into something else when it was something else to begin with altogether).

Tonight, as I expected, because a weather front had moved in today, after dinner, she showed signs of gas colic. Within about 20 minutes, they passed and she was her normal self. But after what happened in January, I now worry and wonder if there's any way to prevent or reduce weather related gas colic.

Years ago, when she did this, I used to call the vet right away. Then, I stopped and started just walking and trotting her to jig the gas out. I also let her lay down because she doesn't roll. She lays quietly (the vet thinks she lays on the spot of the gas pocket and gets it to move). And within 20 minutes, she's up like nothing happened, no distress. But after the endotoxemia event, now I wonder how to move ahead with the next colic. Though today's passed within the usual short time and she showed no distress at all, not even an urge to lay down. She just stopped eating her grain and went to the back of her stall but remained quiet. After hand walking and trotting and some quiet time, she snapped out of it and was back to herself.

She gets alfalfa pellets mixed with Triple Crown Senior and her feed is always soaked. Additional Purina Amplify keeps her weight on nicely.
She also gets Daily Start probiotic once a day since the endotoxemia event as she was on major antibiotics to pull through.
Additional supplements: Nutra Flax, Recovery EQ extra strength, BL pellets once a day when we're working,

Hay is soaked and hung in nets because her paddock mate is IR. She is dry lotted and not on pasture. No access to alfalfa hay because of IR paddock mate who can't eat alfalfa, thus she gets alfalfa pellets instead.

She doesn't always colic when there's a storm front or weather change, but when she has had a gas colic it has ONLY been when there was a storm front or weather change. And the times that the vet came, except for the endotoxemia time (I didn't think to ask because all I cared about is whether she was going to live), when it was gas colic, the vet noted that there were several in the area because of the weather.

Where are you from? Long Island, NY

How did you locate this forum? Reading book, on teleconferences

Email  
Re: Weather-related colic

Hello Kristine,

What comes to mind is stress. Stress of not getting enough hay to eat to keep forage in her digestive tract at all times. And stress of hay nets that may be causing her frustration. Stress causes the intestinal motility to slow down and this can lead to colic.

Also, she needs high quality protein. Alfalfa pellets are fine -- be sure to moisten them. Crazy that her IR paddock mate can't have alfalfa -- it is lower in sugar and starch than most grass hays.

And stress of being confined to a dry lot is also a major contributor.

Finally, check the quality of her hay and make sure she gets enough to where she is able to eat all she wants. If the hay has a high indigestible fiber content, it can lead to excessive gas formation. Have it tested and see if the Neutral detergent fiber (NDF) level is suitable -- not over 60%.

I have a teleseminar on colic that you may find helpful. To register, go to http://gettyequinenutrition.biz/teleseminars/registration.htm and scroll down to the previously recorded teleseminars until you see the one on Colic.

I hope you'll be able to make these important changes for your horse's sake and well being.

All the best,

Dr. Getty
Author of Feed Your Horse Like A Horse


Quote: Kristine
I have a 20 year old TB mare (sound and in good weight) that has mild, weather-related gas colic, and I was wondering if there is any way to prevent or reduce the likelihood of them occurring. They started, or became apparent, when I moved her home in 2008. They may have occurred before when she was boarded and no one noticed because they are short-lived. But I am growing more concerned as she gets older because the one she had last January ended up not being a simple gas colic and instead turned into endotoxemia (of course it could be coincidence that I think it turned into something else when it was something else to begin with altogether).

Tonight, as I expected, because a weather front had moved in today, after dinner, she showed signs of gas colic. Within about 20 minutes, they passed and she was her normal self. But after what happened in January, I now worry and wonder if there's any way to prevent or reduce weather related gas colic.

Years ago, when she did this, I used to call the vet right away. Then, I stopped and started just walking and trotting her to jig the gas out. I also let her lay down because she doesn't roll. She lays quietly (the vet thinks she lays on the spot of the gas pocket and gets it to move). And within 20 minutes, she's up like nothing happened, no distress. But after the endotoxemia event, now I wonder how to move ahead with the next colic. Though today's passed within the usual short time and she showed no distress at all, not even an urge to lay down. She just stopped eating her grain and went to the back of her stall but remained quiet. After hand walking and trotting and some quiet time, she snapped out of it and was back to herself.

She gets alfalfa pellets mixed with Triple Crown Senior and her feed is always soaked. Additional Purina Amplify keeps her weight on nicely.
She also gets Daily Start probiotic once a day since the endotoxemia event as she was on major antibiotics to pull through.
Additional supplements: Nutra Flax, Recovery EQ extra strength, BL pellets once a day when we're working,

Hay is soaked and hung in nets because her paddock mate is IR. She is dry lotted and not on pasture. No access to alfalfa hay because of IR paddock mate who can't eat alfalfa, thus she gets alfalfa pellets instead.

She doesn't always colic when there's a storm front or weather change, but when she has had a gas colic it has ONLY been when there was a storm front or weather change. And the times that the vet came, except for the endotoxemia time (I didn't think to ask because all I cared about is whether she was going to live), when it was gas colic, the vet noted that there were several in the area because of the weather.

Where are you from? Waverly, Ohio

Email  
Re: Weather-related colic

Dr. Getty,

Thank you for your response. I just wanted to say that my IR horse does wonderfully with the suggestions that you offer for handling their issues.

With their hay, they get as close to free choice as possible so that hay is always left over. I've been doing that since your teleconference on feeding the easy keeper/IR horse. It has certainly helped the weight issue on the IR horse and the personalities of both. They are both quite relaxed and easy going and neither rush for food when I go out to feed. I did introduce the hay net concept slowly and I keep extra hay in their run in sheds loose as well so that they can come and go and nibble that if they choose so that they are also walking around for other hay. When weather is bad, the hay nets aren't used because I can only hang them outside and I don't want them forced out in bad weather.

I know the alfalfa issue for the IR horse is odd, and it was annoying because the hay that actually caused her the worst laminitis issues was actually very low sugar and starch but had significant alfalfa and was high protein. When we removed all alfalfa-based products from her diet, she finally was no longer foot sore...same went for soy-based products. She is on straight forage-based diet with Ontario Dehy Timothy Balance cubes and since then no laminitis. She is one of THOSE horses with sensitivities, I guess, but has not had laminitis (knock on wood) since that first bout over a year ago and since the diet change.

Both horses get their food soaked, which includes the alfalfa pellets for the TB. I only give her a pound with each feed. Perhaps she should get more to be more beneficial?

The hay has been an issue. It changes with each ton I get and even within the ton there's different types of hay. Some has been quite stemmy. My most recent hay delivery finally looks like a nice soft hay, but it has been several months since we had hay that looked like that. I always ask for first cut to avoid getting too many legumes so the IR horse is better protected from more than incidental alfalfa, but maybe the first cut is too weedy and stemmy for the TB? Does NDF get affected by first or second cut at all? I will test my hay and see what I have.

I keep them on pre/pro biotics to help with the fact that the hay deliveries always seem to have different types of hay coming even though it's the same hay guy. I hope it helps them because there's really nothing we can do about that. It's the way it is around here.

Thanks so much!

Kris

Where are you from? Long Island, NY

How did you locate this forum? Reading book, on teleconferences

Email  
Re: Weather-related colic

Hi Kristine,

Thank you for the wonderful feedback about your IR horse and how free choice feeding has made a significant difference.

Most horses do fine with alfalfa but you're right -- there are some that seem to have a problem. The reason is not clear, but I suspect it may have something to do with the high phytoestrogen content of alfalfa (and soy).

For additional protein, you might try, instead, whey or split peas. I'm planning on doing a teleseminar on protein soon, so perhaps this will of interest to you.

The cutting of hay does not influence NDF nearly as much as the maturity level of the grass when it is cut. The more mature, the more lignin it will contain, which drives the NDF level up.

Keep up the fine work -- you are doing a very good job!

All the best,

Dr. Getty
Author of Feed Your Horse Like A Horse

Quote: Kristine
Dr. Getty,

Thank you for your response. I just wanted to say that my IR horse does wonderfully with the suggestions that you offer for handling their issues.

With their hay, they get as close to free choice as possible so that hay is always left over. I've been doing that since your teleconference on feeding the easy keeper/IR horse. It has certainly helped the weight issue on the IR horse and the personalities of both. They are both quite relaxed and easy going and neither rush for food when I go out to feed. I did introduce the hay net concept slowly and I keep extra hay in their run in sheds loose as well so that they can come and go and nibble that if they choose so that they are also walking around for other hay. When weather is bad, the hay nets aren't used because I can only hang them outside and I don't want them forced out in bad weather.

I know the alfalfa issue for the IR horse is odd, and it was annoying because the hay that actually caused her the worst laminitis issues was actually very low sugar and starch but had significant alfalfa and was high protein. When we removed all alfalfa-based products from her diet, she finally was no longer foot sore...same went for soy-based products. She is on straight forage-based diet with Ontario Dehy Timothy Balance cubes and since then no laminitis. She is one of THOSE horses with sensitivities, I guess, but has not had laminitis (knock on wood) since that first bout over a year ago and since the diet change.

Both horses get their food soaked, which includes the alfalfa pellets for the TB. I only give her a pound with each feed. Perhaps she should get more to be more beneficial?

The hay has been an issue. It changes with each ton I get and even within the ton there's different types of hay. Some has been quite stemmy. My most recent hay delivery finally looks like a nice soft hay, but it has been several months since we had hay that looked like that. I always ask for first cut to avoid getting too many legumes so the IR horse is better protected from more than incidental alfalfa, but maybe the first cut is too weedy and stemmy for the TB? Does NDF get affected by first or second cut at all? I will test my hay and see what I have.

I keep them on pre/pro biotics to help with the fact that the hay deliveries always seem to have different types of hay coming even though it's the same hay guy. I hope it helps them because there's really nothing we can do about that. It's the way it is around here.

Thanks so much!

Kris

Where are you from? Waverly, Ohio

Email