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Welcome to the Equestrian Outreach Impaction Page
Diagnosing horse ailments requires a vet. (Click here for a list of Florida veterinarians)
Impaction or obstruction; occurs in the horses intestines and is life threatening. Impaction or obstruction which cannot dislodged and removed can lead to dehydration, colic even death. Impaction can happen in either the cecum or the large colon or both at the same time. When impactions happen in both the cecum and the large colon, at the same time, it becomes difficult to dislodge or remove and usually requires surgery. Even non-surgical treatments of serious impactions can take several days of treatments. These treatments consist of medication and lubricants which keep the impaction moving. This type of treatment usually takes place in a veterinary clinic, with intravenous administration of medications, liquids and nutrients.
Possible Causes of Impaction:
- Grazing Shock: grazing on lush grass by horses which are unaccustomed to it. Horses who have not had grass for a while and are being put on grass, must be acclimated to grass over a week, first a few minutes, then an hour finally to be let go.
- Indigestible Material: Hay twine, rubber fencing, fibers from rubber tubs or old tires and hay nets. Basically any inorganic material a horse can get its mouth around.
- Enteroliths: Intestinal stones.
- Specific Concentrates: Concentrates (Feeds) like beet pulp tend to create impaction buy hardening the stole. Limit the amount of these concentrates.
- Bolting Food: Horses who bolt their food without sufficient chewing. Feed smaller quantities more frequently.
- Tooth Problems: Old horses with worn down teeth or horses whose teeth need to be floated. Do not chew their food enough. Old horses can benefit from wetted or pre softened feed.
- Insufficient Water: This is compounded when feeding dry feed. This problem increases in cold weather when a horse tends to drink less.
(Click here to read more about diseases & illness)