Weathering out Colic – Is weather induced colic fact or fiction?

With statistics that approximately 10 in every 100 horses are prone to colic, it is not surprising that there are and extensive number of causes.

colic

With the onset of winter, and the fluctuations in temperature many colic cases get blamed on the change in weather.  A recent article by Kentucky Equine Research addresses the theory behind these cases.

Many studies have been unable to find statistical evidence of increased risk. Early reports from Europe suggested weather changes were associated with the highest incidence of colic, specifically changes to cold and damp conditions or to warm and wet during advancing weather fronts (Barth,1980).

A recent study in Texas found an increased risk of colic associated with weather changes asrecalled by owners of horses with colic (Cohen et al., 1999). Cold weather, which affects water intake,has been linked to increased impaction colic.

-Maryland study, weather did not appear to be related to colic (Tinker et al., 1997b). When events were investigated by looking at a 14-day window preceding colic episodes, low humidity and snow marginally increased colic risk (Tinker et al., 1997b).

In a study in Virginia, seven cases of colic occurred during aheavy snowstorm over a three-day period (Tinker, 1995). This was unusual as there were only 104 cases of colic in approximately 1000 horses monitored for a full year.

What became apparent from records kept by the farms was the change in management due to the snowstorm. Horses were kept in stalls, rather than being turned out, and the diet was not altered, even though horses had no turnout or exercise.

The focal increase in colic episodes in this study was most likely not directly related to the weather, but rather due to management changes caused by the weather.”

www.thefigureseven.ca | jen@thefigureseven.ca  |  519-699-0303

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