Equine GutFlush
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About Colic

Colic, acute stomach pain, is the number-one killer of horses and can be a serious problem. Horses colic symptoms include: a faster heart rate and higher body temperature than normal. The horse will sweat, become restless, paw the ground, try to roll, get up and down several times, bite at its sides, kick at its belly, show a change in its manure, or fail to defecate. The pain may be caused by several intestinal problems such as an impacted or plugged intestine, sand in the cecum, increased activity of the intestine, inflammation of the intestinal membrane lining, blockage of blood supply to the intestine, or stretched digestive tract due to gas or undigested feed.


    • Stretching
    • Frequent attempts to urinate
    • Flank watching: turning of the head to watch the stomach and/or hind quarters
    • Biting/nipping the stomach
    • Pacing
    • Groaning
    • Excess salivation
    • Loss of appetite
    • Dark mucous membranes

Colic is caused by a variety of circumstances including an abrupt change in feeding practices, over-feeding, parasites, poor feed quality, dehydration, eating sand, sudden changes in the weather, a twisted intestine or pregnancy. 

Pulse rates over 50 to 60 beats per minute, slow capillary refill time and blue mucous membranes indicate the serious nature of the problem. (See Helpful Hints Tab for normal rates)

Closely observe your horse’s eating habits, gaits, activities and attitudes to determine what is normal. This is more commonly referred to as the Base Line. Changes in these habits indicate a problem. Measure temperature, pulse and respiration rate, to determine if you notice changes and think your horse is ill.

There are four main types of horse colic. These include: impaction, gas, sand, and mild spasmodic. 

Impaction happens when digested matter builds up in the intestinal tract and does not pass through.

Gas colic is just as it sounds, the horse has a severe build up of gas.

Sand colic occurs when a horse is allowed to eat on sandy ground, such as eating hay inside a sandy arena. 

Mild Spasmodic colic: Some cases of colic are due to increased intestinal contractions, the abnormal spasms causing the intestines to contract painfully.


1. Inadequate water intake - Horses need at least 8 gallons of water a day. Depending on his diet, exercise level and how hot it is, it could be considerably more. Your horse should always drink after a feeding. If they don't, do not offer feed until you can ensure they have taken in water. Not drinking after eating will result in impaction.

2. Sudden Changes in Feed We know to make changes in grain, over a period of about a week. What you may not know, is that hay can do just as much damage. Even though you may feed the same kind of hay, hay grown in two different fields will have different levels of sugar, starch and protein. 

3. Grain Intake - Most horses these days are fed a high concentrate diet because of performance requirements. Subsequently grains are low in fiber and high in starch. A horse has a limited ability to digest starch. Sugars and starches that don’t get digested, end up in the bowel, where they can cause major problems.

4. Inadequate De-worming program - Worms in horses are high on the list as a cause for this ailment. That’s why it is so important to set your horse on a regular de-worming schedule.  

5. Lack of exercise - Regular exercise promotes intestinal mobility. A horse that is kept stalled all the time is an accident waiting to happen. Turn-out time is very important.

Tips For Reducing Equine Colic

1. Make all feed changes gradually.

2. Don’t feed on sand.

3. De-worm regularly.

4. Do more frequent, small feedings.

5. Minimize carbohydrates. (horses are best adapted to eat grass and hay)

6. Supply plenty of fresh water and provide salt blocks.

7. In cold weather, offer warm water.

8. Provide regular exercise.

9. Check on your horse at least twice a day.

10. Have their teeth checked or floated at least once or twice a year.

Even when you stick to a regular equine care
routine, sometimes your horse will still have this problem. All you can do is be prepared and know what to do when it happens.  Have your bottle of Equine GutFlush ready to give in an emergency!

Disclaimer: These statements have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or mitigate any disease.

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