Beet Pulp and Preventing Colic

ArticleHow To - HealthTuesday 12 January 2010

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We’ve explored some of the most common methods of solving colic on our ‘How To’ pages previously. While the use of oil treatments tends to be the most effective way of combating the problem of colic, a useful alternative to help prevent the problem in the first place is beet pulp. This type of feed has traditionally low starch levels, so will help the digestive system function more effectively both before colic appears and after horse colic treatment.

Beet Pulp and its Uses in Equine Colic Treatment

•    Adding beet pulp to the horse’s daily nutrition schedule could help minimise the risk of impaction colic occurring. This is one of the most common types of diet, and occurs when feed and roughage become blocked in a mass within the intestines. Usually the problem flairs up as a result of a lack of moisture flowing through the intestinal tract, often because the horse has failed to drink water during feeding time. Beet pulp can be an effective addition to the daily diet as it soaks up moisture whilst providing roughage, helping the intestines to function properly.

•    Grazing conditions can sometimes encourage a bout of colic to emerge. If there’s a lot of sand or dust in the paddock, it can sometimes be kicked up into the feed and be ingested by the horse. This can create problems as food begins to be ingested, as sand or dust will stick to the sides of the intestine, eventually causing a blockage. Beet pulp roughage will help add both the moisture and the intestinal flow needed to remedy the problem of colic.

•    Performance horses exerting huge amounts of energy in competition are often susceptible to gastric ulcers as a result of the physical exertions the body undergoes. They occur when stomach acid rises to the fragile upper area of the stomach. Ingesting beet pulp can help cure the problem as the texture will absorb any harmful acid lingering in the body. The energy the horses uses to chew the beet pulp roughage will also in turn produce more saliva which has a neutralising effect on the acid.

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