Horses - Diet and Nutrition/dry feed - colic


hello ma'am. why do horses get colic when are provided dry feed?

Hello Rohit,

Colic is something of a general term used to refer to digestive disturbances.  There are 3 types of colic and each type has different causes.    

Impaction colic occurs when there is an obstruction in the large colon and digesta stops moving through the digestive system.  Impaction colic can result from dehydration, an excess of undigestible feed in the diet or from the hindgut failing to properly ferment feeds.  

Gas colic occurs when gas builds in the horse's cecum. The gas can come from the fermentation of starch in the cecum (usually because there is too much cereal grain in the diet, or there is too much starch fed per meal) or from the improper fermentation of forages.  

Torsion colic is the result of really bad luck, when the horse's large colon twists on itself.  

The act of feeding dry feed alone with not necessarily cause colic, but could be a contributing factor when other issues (such as inadequate water intake) exist.


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Corlena Patterson


I can help with any of your horse nutrition questions and concerns. I have been involved with horses for closing on 40 years, with a B.Sc in Animal Science and currently working on an M.Sc in Equine Science with the University of Edinburgh. I have owned my own feed store, consulted professionally as an equine nutritionist, and lectured in the fields of equine and dairy nutrition at the University level for 5 years. I have developed and currently market 'Ration-X', a ration formulation program for horses...designed for the everyday horse owner. I am happy to help in any way I can.


Experienced in developing and implementing feed programs for horses of all disciplines, creating custom horse supplements and managing inter-disciplinary equine facilities. Specialize in equine nutrition consulting.

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M.Sc (Equine Science-current), B.Sc(Agr) Animal Science, Equine Sports Massage Therapy Certification, Farrier Certification, Equine Consultant Certification, Certified Equine Appraiser, Certified in Emergency Equine Rescue.

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