Sand Colic

By: Dr. Lydia Gray

What is it?

Colic is any pain in the abdomen. Sand colic is pain specifically caused by a build-up of sand in the large colon. Signs of sand colic can be the same as any other kind of colic: pawing, looking at the belly, lying down and getting up, rolling, not eating or drinking, not passing manure, sweating, depression, and elevated heart and respiratory rates. Some horses with sand colic develop diarrhea because the sand rubs the lining of the GI tract, causing inflammation.

What can be done about it?

Call a veterinarian right away if a horse shows any of the signs listed above. Most sand colics respond to medical treatment alone, which consists of pain relievers, fluids to hydrate the horse, and laxatives such as psyllium to help move the sand out of the GI tract. If the horse does not improve, surgery may be necessary.

What else do I need to know?

Anyone keeping a horse on sandy ground needs to take special precautions to help prevent this particular form of colic. Hay should not be fed on the ground but rather on mats or elevated feeders with mats underneath them. Horses should only be allowed to graze pastures with solid plant growth, and they should be turned out after feeding so they are not as hungry. Psyllium may be added to the diet to help prevent the build-up of sand in the colon, and appears to work better when combined with pre- and probiotics.

About Dr. Lydia Gray

Have questions? Contact us »
Connect with us:

Mollie and Eden
I started riding when I was 9 years old and quickly got swept up into the competitive hunter/jumper world. I showed my first pony, Chloe, in the Small Pony Hunter divisions were we competed at shows like Fairfield Hunt Club, Old Salem, HITS, and West...

Learn more »

SmartPak Barn Field Trip, Part 2: Decoding hay and grain for horses
    Download the worksheet to test your knowledge! How much hay and grain does your horse get every day? How much SHOULD your horse be getting each day? Many horses may not be getting what your feed bag recommends,

Read More »

Download our mobile apps

Put SmartPak in your pocket with these awesome apps!

Check It Out »

Healthy horses, happy riders.
SmartPak is committed to a greener planet.
Sign Up Now!
Free Catalog Get Yours Now!

Questions? Call us Toll-Free at 1-800-461-8898.

SmartPak Equine™ is the premier online provider of horse supplies and equine supplements.
© Copyright by SmartPak Equine LLC. All Rights reserved.