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Kesanna
Hi:

I am currently taking an equine health and disease prevention course and have got into a discussion with a quarterhorse person who believes that the Arabian breed is more prone to colic. (She also believes that they are all high-strung??!!) Does anyone know of any relevant scientific studies which prove or disprove that Arabians have a predispostion to colic - any info would be helpful!!

Thanks,
Linda
Robert 1
HiI Linda,
When you find something that is scientifically proven, I would like to read it, until then don't feed an Arabian the same amount that your feed the Quarter horse, remember the Arabians heritage. biggrin.gif
Robert,
Echo Hill Arabians
Guest
Arabians are active and sensitive creatures. They are well aware of what goes on around them. They do not do well when locked up in a small stall without friends. They tend to fret. If you lock your Arabian up in a stall and do not let them out but for an hour a day, then over feed them with hay and grain, they will colic. but this can be said about any horse as well.
Guest_Dave_*
Linda,

I have an Arab mare who survived two colic surgeries a week apart. This was due to a lypoma - a fatty tumor that breaks off and wraps itself aroud the gut creating a blockage. One thing about Arabs, they're tougher than all the others. I don't think Arabs are anymore prone to colic than other breeds. I live in SoCal and our vets say that Arabs are more prone to stones. Also, I have heard from a Polish breeder than *Bask bred horses are prone to colic. My mare is double *Bask. I tend to agree with that assessment since her sire died of colic. This mare's daughter coliced twice in 2004 - just mild cases and has been fine ever since. I have talked to two people who owned Arabs of the same dam line as mine and they both had stones and told me that this line was predisposed to stones. I however, have never had any stones in my horses of this line and that's with the two older mares being on straight alfalfa for several years.

Remind your QH friend about navicular. Overall, I think Arabs tend to be very healthy and if they are well cared for, they give you many years of pleasure. I met a woman on the trail not too longer ago riding a 27 year old *Naborr son. He didn't look his age.

Dave
Tous crins
Hi Dave,

This was due to a lypoma - a fatty tumor that breaks off and wraps itself aroud the gut creating a blockage.

A friend of mine lost a SE mare to lipoma recently. I had never heard of it. Is it just a localized thing or is it a cancer with metastase etc.?

I have talked to two people who owned Arabs of the same dam line as mine and they both had stones and told me that this line was predisposed to stones. I however, have never had any stones in my horses of this line and that's with the two older mares being on straight alfalfa for several years.

I have another friend who has been breeding Davenports for 40-50 y, all very related as he breeds Kuhailan Haifi "pure in strain". He used to do an autopsy everytime he lost a horse. They were all on the same diet, well water and alfalfa at the time (S Cal). Some had stones some had none!!!

He had colic surgery on his mare many years ago and they removed a huge stone. He started to filter his water and switck to "4 way hay". When he did a "full body" x-ray years later they did not find any new stones.

Christine
Guest_Amy_*
What are stones? What causes them? blink.gif I have never heard of them before.

Amy
Nancy Bourque/Ibriz
Interesting question about colic. When I started in with the Arabians I proceeded to feed them exactly as I had fed my Morgans, hay and lots of sweet feed. The breeder who was a mentor to me fed very heavy with a sweet feed mix and I know she had lots of problems with colic. I also had lots of colic problems. I always kept a sedative and analgesic on hand in case of colic because I sometimes had one or two attacks per week. These were all gas colics, mostly mild attacks. Finally the analgesic I kept on hand was taken off the market. I was desperate so I started doing some research on feed to try and find out the origin of the problem. Then I changed my feeding habits. I still use lots of grain but it is almost always whole oats. I use sweet feed only for mares in foal, breeding stallions and growing young stock and then I cut it down with half whole oats. I feed LOTS of hay. Since then I seldom have an attack of colic. I don't even remember when the last one was. In my own mind I am convinced that Arabians cannot be fed the same as other breeds but that if they are fed a less intense diet they will have no problems.
Nadj al Nur
I feed only grass hay, Hardly any oats (unless the horses are really working), beet pulp and a little oil. No alfalfa, no sweetfeed or pelleted feed. Have never had a colic in fourteen years and have trouble keeping the weight off some of the horses. They just do not require all that extra stuff.
Cathy
Guest
Dont forget good worming routine, also dont forget to worm for tape worm as not all wormers cover them.
Guest_Emma Maxwell_*
Very interesting - and potentially explosive question.

How much are colic deaths related to stress and access to excercise ? All I have is anecdotal evidence - you hear of so and so dying from colic and the pattern seems to indicate-

1) There seem to be a comparatively large number of colic deaths in the Middle East - where horses are rarely exercised in more than small sand paddocks. Some of them are sand colics, many are bloat colics - from feeding alfalfa and barley ?? But does the lack of excercise also affect them ?

2) There also SEEM to be a larger proportion of colic deaths in the US than in Europe, and I see what I consider a disturbing number of comparatively young well decorated show horses given obits in magazines. Is this due to the innately stressful way US horses are shown - the tension they are required to produce cannot be healthy for the adrenaline and thus other hormone systems in the body ? It also seems relatively common in the US to allow show horses access to only controlled excercise not free range ?

3) I say that I consider the numbers disturbing from my experiences at Lodge Fram. We had over 100 horses at several points during our history and we did show and race and ride as many of them as we could. We lost two horses in our care to colic. Muneera died at eleven years old in 1987. Aliha died at 27 years old in 2005. At 27 years I would not consider her passing untimely. I don't know how many horses passed through our hands but we bred about 500 foals over our history so I guess it could have been around 750. Thus 1 untimely death seems a low rate. We always had plenty of pasture for the horses - and up to ten acre paddocks. They were also fed 'straights' and oat based mix with hay as fibre.

Any studies or data out there to read would be interesting
Nadj al Nur
Emma
I am not familiar with the term "straights".
What is that, please?
Cathy
Georgia
QUOTE (Guest_Dave_* @ Feb 2 2006, 06:53 AM)
Linda,

I have an Arab mare who survived two colic surgeries a week apart.  This was due to a lypoma - a fatty tumor that breaks off and wraps itself aroud the gut creating a blockage. One thing about Arabs, they're tougher than all the others. I don't think Arabs are anymore prone to colic than other breeds. I live in SoCal and our vets say that Arabs are more prone to stones. Also, I have heard from a Polish breeder than *Bask bred horses are prone to colic. My mare is double *Bask. I tend to agree with that assessment since her sire died of colic. This mare's daughter coliced twice in 2004 - just mild cases and has been fine ever since. I have talked to two people who owned Arabs of the same dam line as mine and they both had stones and told me that this line was predisposed to stones. I however, have never had any stones in my horses of this line and that's with the two older mares being on straight alfalfa for several years.

Remind your QH friend about navicular. Overall, I think Arabs tend to be very healthy and if they are well cared for, they give you many years of pleasure. I met a woman on the trail not too longer ago riding a 27 year old *Naborr son. He didn't look his age.

Dave
*


One possiblity is that it was where these horses lived and not the bloodlines.
I'm hereing there are certain areas out west that horses are prone to stones, therefore blockage and colics. Not that it's the Arabian or the Bloodlines, it's their enviroment. Just a thought and something I heard.

Georgia
Guest_Dave_*
Christine,

Lypomas don't spread as far as I know. My understanding is that there is a head with a tail attached somewhere in the abdominal cavity. When they break off and wrap around the gut, it causes colic.

My mare who had the colic surgery is hypothroid as was her mother. Her daughter is normal so far but she's only seven. I don't know if there is any scientific evidence, but I think that hypothyroidism is linked to lypomas. Would any vets care to comment. Hypothyroidism is defiinately linked to laminitis. Two of mine had laminits and other owners of horses from the same mare line had problems with laminitis. My mares have Davenport blood in their pedigrees from Antez through Alla Jo Kar, who think is by Ankar. There's also Davenport blood mixed in with some of the *Raffles horses in their pedigress. Do you know the Davenport horses your friend breeds.

Regarding feed, we feed bermuda grass hay in the AM and PM and timothy for lunch. We also feed ground flax seed, bran, and a vitamin supplement. Our horses have beautiful coats in the spring and summer.

Dave
Guest_Dave_*
I think Emma is correct about our practices in the US - too much stress and too far removed from a natural equine environment.

Dave
Guest
I think Emma made some very good points. In reply to the other poster's question, "straights" are grains such as oats, barley, bran and so on. My question in turn is - what is "sweet feed" often menioned by American posters?

Emma also mentioned stress-related colics in USA (due to stress affecting the "adrenaline and thus other hormone systems"). It also may be due to the long distances the horses have to travel to shows there, as transport causes stress too. This also relates to the question about the prevalence of colic in the middle east - from what little I know this is due to the reasons mentioned (low fibre diet, "heating" foods such as barley which goes off very quickly in those temperatures, not enough exercise etc) and is also very much down to the climate in the gulf countries. High temperatures coupled with high humidity adversely affect the metabolism, causing dehydration and increasing the production of cortisol (related to adrenaline I think - perhaps a vet could explain?) which affects the whole body's systems. Laminitis/founder are also a problem for the same reason. The farms which are able to feed "normal" hay ad lib, and which have large enough paddocks (sand or irrigated grass) for all-night turnout in the hotter months have less colic (anecdotally).
Tous crins
My mares have Davenport blood in their pedigrees from Antez through Alla Jo Kar, who think is by Ankar. There's also Davenport blood mixed in with some of the *Raffles horses in their pedigress. Do you know the Davenport horses your friend breeds.


Hi Dave,

They have a stallion linebred to Antez. There at least 4 Davenport breeders within a few miles out here. If you e-mail me I can give you their phone # or you can come and visit if you want.

Christine
Nadj al Nur
Sweet feed is a mixture, usually of oats, barley and corn, which is then mixed with molasses(sp?) to make it more tasty. This also has to be handled very carefully in hot or humid weather.
Cathy
Nancy Bourque?Ibriz
When I was trying to discover the cause of my colic problems I consulted with several horse nutritionists. The conclusion we all came to was that barley was most likely at fault. The feed I was using had barley in it that had not been steamed or crushed. They told me that barley is very "gassy". Most sweet feed seems to include barley.

As far as the living conditions of the horses involved, they had access to a 20 acre pasture at the time, living very unstressed lives. They were completely up to date on worming and dental care and were healthy in all respects but the colic problem. These horses were brought into the barn every day for their grain feed and a large feed of meadow hay. They had all the hay they could eat in the winter so it definitely was not related to a low fibre diet.

All things considered it had to be the grain, considering that after I changed the sweet feed to oats the colics stopped right away. It certainly made me change my ideas on feeding.
Guest
Colic is an stable management symptom, and/or cancer.

If your horse has cancer/stones yes it will colic.

IF your horse is feed a low roughage diet, it will colic.

Horses that are stabled are more likely to colic.

over 30 years ago on of australia's top horse vets told my father that if you wanted to make a horse sick, lock it in a stable.

So the horses were always managed along with the cattle, ie on grazing, and only fed grains after a hard day's work, otherwise, good quality pasture and broad acre grazing with a a good worming program and management system. Paddocks were grazed rotationally - cattle in the paddock, follwed by the horses, then the sheep, then the paddock would be either rested or reseeded, rested before back into rotation.

We never had a horse die of colic, even in severe droughts. My grandfather used the same method of grazing horses alongside the cattle and only feeding hard feed sporadically, the pasture being the horse's main form of nutrition, hay being a treat, and good pasture management practice to ensure worm control and good quality mixed pastures. The result, happy healthy horses and cattle, and no deaths from colic.

Unfortunately in the modern world we don't all have access to thousands of acres of good pasture and rotational grazing patterns.

But we can apply the same methodology to our horses With my horses obtaining hay is my main priority - my horses are given access to as much grazing as I can agist them on, they are wormed regularly and when yarded/stabled I try to ensure that I have as much cheap grassy/meadow hay as I can afford so they have something to chew on overnight. Their hard feeds are also predominantly chaff based with very very little actual sweet/grains fed even for horses in work. I also ensure that a dentist does their teeth every six to twelve months so that they are able to chew feed accurately.

By following this regime I've had one case of colic (youngster decided that eating rotten hibiscus flowers was a good idea and of course that made him sick), and I've had some cases of choke - the mare who choked had severe muscular tension in her neck and the muscles were like rock, I think this made it extremely difficult for her to swallow.

When the drought was particularly difficult a few years back and I was unable to procure hay, I followed a regime of hand grazing my horses along the verges of the roads on leads for an hour before work of a morning and an hour or two every evening, I also door knocked many suburban households and paid the owners to allow me to put my horses in their backyards for a week at a time - the people were happy to be paid to have my horses eat the grass in their backyards and it ensured my horses had access to roughage (I only had two horses in town at that stage).....it was labour intensive but when many of those close to me were either paying exhorbitant amounts of money for poor quality hay or losing horses from colic, that little bit of extra work ensured my horses had enough roughage and they didn't colic and retained weight. Thankfully after about 2-3 months of this regime the rains came again and hay became more readily available.

So moral to the story - feed adequate roughage and you'll have less colics.
Georgia
Well, I had one colic over 20 years ago when a colt got his paws on a very moldy bale of hay and ate the whole thing. 2 winters ago I had some mild colics going on, my 2 mares are on 100 acres of grass and are fed grass hay all they can eat in the winter. I couldn't figure out why the mild symptoms.. came to be they were not getting enough water. We have spring fed troughs at the bottom of a very large hill. When the weather was bad they were not going down to get water. So I started taking a bucket of water over with me every night to monitor if they were drinking or not.
If they went and drank the bucket of water they were not going for or getting enough water. This way I had a way to tell, after that the colic disapeared.

So in almost 30 years of having Arabians, I think very little money has been spent on veterinary care. I think any other breed in the situations above would have had the same results.

I am one of the very few that have Arabians in my neck of the woods. My vet
absolutely thinks arabians age less than other breeds. He is very impressed with my 28 year olds legs and overall health, I had one of my mares checked for breeding.. he put down that she was 5, then I told him she was 15. He says he sees very little trouble from Arabians than he does other breeds over the years of study and practice. I didn't ask him for this information, he was rattling off this when he was here for checkups on my horses and to float teeth and you could tell he was very excited to be in my horses company. So, was very informative.

I do believe Arabians (as well as other breeds) are overfed here in the states, when you think what Arabians lived on in the desert and what we feed today, I believe the cause of many problems. There systems were set up to survive on minimal amount of food. I once saw a mare and her foal in the wild in Nevada desert.. they had good flesh and had the most beautiful coats and skin and you knew no one had ever laid a brush on them ever..saw them picking around sage brush and wondering what the heck they ate to look so good in that desert. unsure.gif
But, it was all they needed. Was very eye opening to see myself.

Georgia
Sharabia
Hi all!

Sweet roll has a warning label on it regarding the amount to feed a horse. There is a way to measure your horse (by the girth, length, etc. and then do a calculation through a mathematical formula) to calculate its body weight in order to feed the proper amount of any grain. To date, I have never had an Arabian colic on sweet roll, and Cathy is right that you need to monitor it in hot, humid weather for mold and heat.

My SE riding mare, Ramza, did have a bout of gas colic a few weeks after I had my son (no sweet roll at that time, as she was not "working" or in need of it). She looked depressed, and as I wasn't in my barn routine at that time. So Curtis advised me to go see her because he has witnessed how attached and sensitive these SE's can become when they bond deeply with one person. I spent a couple hours with her, talking, petting, explaining rolleyes.gif , etc. She was fine after a long walk and talk from me, even looked brighter in her eyes.

Yes, it may be anecdotal BUT these horses are very sensitive, loyal and devoted. They are family horses, but will pick a favorite person. A drastic change in routine can cause them to go into depression, colic states, refusal to eat and drink, etc.

I have found that it helps (when buying a new Arabian) to get all the information I can on that horses personality and its diet. If the hay, for instance, is drastically different from what I feed, I try to purchase some of that hay to slowly wean the horse off it while introducing the mix we feed - gradually of course. Like others have mentioned, drastic changes in diet, I feel, will very possibly cause colic (for instance, just try eating some hot and spicy Mexican food when you're not use to it and see how your stomach reacts! laugh.gif ), along with lack of exercise which ensures that bowel movements remain active, along with water and monitoring how much a new horse is drinking, and some horses do not travel well, etc. For some horses, most importantly, I have found they need a lot of TLC and pampering so that they get to enjoy the new owner and home - especially if they were attached to one person at their previous home. It just helps them adjust better mentally and emotionally - a preventative measure. I truly believe this is effective, and have had no problems. Coincidence? That's for you to decide! biggrin.gif

Even Psychologists are beginning to tap into the depths of animal emotions and intelligence. Animals definitely have their own language, feel emotion, and we have to learn their language and become sensitive to their cues, like they are to ours, through the expression in their eyes as well.

We also feed a quality brome/alfalfa mix hay, with no other problems to date, and have the additional advantage of grazing on good pasture in the spring, summer and early fall seasons.

Sincerely, with friendship,
Sheila Bautz
Sharabia
I'd just like to add to : "Even Psychologists are beginning to tap into the depths of animal emotions and intelligence. Animals definitely have their own language, feel emotion, and we have to learn their language and become sensitive to their cues, like they are to ours, through the expression in their eyes as well."

As you may already know... Emotions and depressive states affect chemicals in the brain. The brain in turn will release these abundant chemicals, which in larger doses can become "toxins" that then affect the body in many negative ways.

For instance, instilling fear into someone, such as through abuse, increases the levels of cortisal in the blood and decreases memory formation, which results in a loss of learning. This is true for people, why not horses? It sure is thought provoking when we consider how horses that are trained by instilling fear in them, seem to have "no brains". In fact, this may in part be true, as fear causes a physical reaction that in turn results in an inability to focus and learn new tasks and information.

Same goes for poisons, as accidentally discovered on rabbits in a laboratory setting about a decade ago. When fed poisons, as in the rabbit experiment, a cage of rabbits adored by the individual feeding them for the experiment, caressed and cuddled "his favorites". The poisons in turn did not kill those rabbits. Wondering why, the research team sparked another study to investigate after discovering the surviving rabbits were cuddled and caressed by their "grim reaper" turned "nurturer". As a result, they discovered that the rabbits happy state of being loved and pet while eating the toxic food, released a chemical in their brain that had a positive effect - transforming the poisons as a result of the chemical released in their brains that affected them physically. Note to self: Dine with people that make you happy, just in case! wink.gif biggrin.gif (just joking)

By no means am I suggesting that it is solely the caretakers fault if a horse colics. I hope you understand this. I am only offering some food for thought on what may also affect an animal in some medical cases, such as sudden colicing, that may stem from an emotional level. If all physical possibilities are ruled out, then I feel that the possible cause may be found in another area that may be honestly overlooked.

Interesting, any way...

Sincerely,
Sheila Bautz
Guest
We have been breeding arabs for 25 yrs now and in all that time only one colic. this was really after birthing pains, but the mare got so upset it sort of turned into colic, she recovered never had it again.
We always put a handful of bran into each dampened feed daily, making up the calcium shortfall with sugerbeet.
I reckon this is the key, not enough fibre taken by stabled horses, and alfalfa fed can be potentially dangerous. It is too rich and not enough fibre only.
Excerise is the other key, stabled arabs, or any horse, is a colic waiting to happen.
All depends on how you view your importance of your horse in life really? show wins or vets bills? We have hardley any vets bills.
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