Eating sand is quite common and usually happens when horses are grazing or through their food. This sand will be discharged through the faeces. But when your horses eats more sand than usual it could lead to problems in the intestines. When you want to fix this problem you should first know what the cause is that your horse eats sand.
Eating sand subconscious
Sand comes ofcourse in the intestines because your horse ate it. This usually happens when your horse is grazing on sandy places. For example in a sandy paddock, in short grass or a bare meadow. The chance is even bigger when your horse has to eat hay from the ground. Horses that are eating greedily have more chance to eat sand as well as they don’t check what they eat.
Consciously eating sand
Your horse could eat sand on purpose. In this cause your horse could be bored or has a mineral shortage. In this case, you should check what the reason is and fix it as soon as possible. Your horse could have a shortage on mineral such as sodium, magnesium and silicium and tries to get more mineral by eating sand.
When your horse or pony eats sand could this stack up in the intestines. Especially in the large intestine. When your horse doesn’t eat to much sand then shouldn’t this be a problem. However, when to much sand passes through the intestines it could stack up and cause problems such as irritating the intestine. In this case less food and vitamins can be processed and can lead to constipation.
When sand stacks up in the intestines It could lead to lesser bowel movement, constipation and colic. Colic are different forms of abdominal pain. When sand stacks up in the intestines is it also called a sand colic. Colic is a common reason to go to the vet.
Often you can’t know if your horse eats to much sand when it grazes. This can be tested with a plastic bag. Put in the bag some manure and fill it with water. Hang it up at an angle and the next day you can see sand in the corner. Sand is heavier then manure and will thus fall down. If it isn’t a lot of sand then it isn’t a problem. However, when it is a lot you could consider a sand detox with flax seed (psyllium seed). Afterwards you can test again. When you want to see results you should test multiple times. When you are uncertain for the results always go to the vet or expert.
No matter how hard you try, it is not always possible to prevent your horse from ingesting sand. With these tips you can certainly limit the absorption of sand:
• Prevent boredom.
• Provide good quality roughage with lots of fiber as a basis.
• Do not feed your horse on the ground, but from a bowl or slow feeder.
• Give your horse a periodic sand cure with Psyllium to help the sand out of the intestines.
• If you are deficient in minerals, you can supplement this with the right food or supplements.
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