Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Wild Winter Weather – Cause for Colic?

Yep, it's winter in Texas!  It can be 70º today, then drop 40º tomorrow!  How do horses handle this shock?

Typically, healthy horses can adjust rather quickly.  And, most of the time, it's not the temperatures that effect them…it’s the barometric pressure changes.  In humans, these changes can cause headaches, dizziness, and arthritis flare ups.  In horses, they can cause colic.

We can't control Mother Nature and her winter wonders, but we can stay one step ahead of her.  Keeping a close eye on the10 to 15 day forecast, as well as monitoring the current temperature and barometric pressure readings, are important to avoiding weather-related incidents of colic. 

When you see changes coming, here are a few things you can do to help your equine buddies…

  • Add electrolytes and probiotics to their feed several days ahead of the storm
  • Set them free!  If horses are able to move about, they can stay warmer, lay down and roll to help their own GI tract adjust
  • Don't worm, vaccinate, travel, change their diet, or exercise them heavily
  • Don't dramatically change their housing; if they are accustomed to being stalled or in a pasture, just leave them be
  • Watch closely for signs of colic in the first 24 hours after barometric pressure changes; while there are no confirmed study cases of barometric pressure changes and colic, most veterinary clinics will report an increase in colic calls
At Cold River, we believe that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”  That includes doing everything possible to help our equine companions withstand the roller-coaster conditions of our Texas winters.