what every horse owner needs to know about sand colic

What Every Horse Owner Needs to Know About Sand Colic

Join Murdoch’s and Dr. Richard G. Godbee for a short 4-minute tutorial on horse sand colic. Dr. Godbee is the Director of Technical Services for Farnam, Vita Flex, and Horse Health. He holds a Ph.D and is a Professional Animal Scientist who concentrates on nutrition as his area of expertise. He shares some very helpful tips that shed light on a potentially harmful situation for your horse.

Sand in our soil

Sand is a regular part of our lives. Sandy loam soils contain anywhere from 40 – 80% sand, according to Dr. Godbee. While you may not live at the beach, sand is still present and can’t be ignored as a potential concern for our equine friends.

Drought conditions can increase chances of sand ingestion as horses graze closer and closer to the soil. Rain can wash sand and soil onto the grass blades and be ingested by grazing horses. Even horses that only consume hay can be exposed to sand that gets trapped in the bales.

When sand becomes sand colic

SandClear is a product that Farnam makes to help move sand through a horse’s gut and digestive system. So, how do you know if your horse could benefit from a product like this? Always consult a veterinarian, but Dr. Godbee tells us symptoms of sand in the gut include diarrhea and minor stomach aches. Proactive steps to check for sand are:

  • Put horse manure into a bucket and fill with water. Break up the solids, dissolving them in the water. If sand is present in your horse’s manure, it will settle to the bottom of the bucket.
  • Another option is to wear an obstetrics sleeve. Pick up the manure, and turn the sleeve inside out so that the manure is now inside the sleeve. Fill the sleeve with water and dissolve the manure. Your horse has sand in its gut if sand settles into the fingertips of the sleeve.

How to help your horse

You can use SandClear in one of two ways:

  • To purge the digestive system: give it to your horse for seven consecutive days monthly.
  • To prevent build-up in a horse who has had sand colic in the past: use it every 2-3 days to avoid accumulation.

“I have a gray starlight mare that gets [SandClear] every three days. She’s had some colic surgeries –  not from impaction – but she’s had some colic surgeries,” Dr. Godbee said. “And all of my stalls are matted… It’s a very inexpensive insurance policy, the way I look at it.”