Your guide to sustainable horsekeeping

The Green Horse section provides practical information on managing environmentally sustainable horse properties, readers stories and tips, as well as advice and articles from equestrian experts in their fields.

February March 2019
Vol 40 No 5

In this issue of The Green Horse you will find the following articles:

by Mark Brown
Spiders may be great insect and fly catchers but do we really want them lurking in our stables, in our horse rugs, feedbins and boots?

by Wendy Elks
Using ‘super’ is addictive, as it succeeds so brilliantly and consistently, yet what’s less-well-known is that the concentrated chemicals kill off multitudes of microscopic organisms in the soil, along with earthworms, nematodes and beetles. Without re-applying super, thereafter, the soil is even less effective than it was before, because nature’s inbuilt soil-enriching factory (the microbes, fungi and earthworms) have been destroyed.

YOUR PLACE …Renovating An Existing Stable

by Felicity Wischer

When Felicity Wischer and family moved to a new property on the Mornington Peninsula, Victoria, there were lots of great facilities already on the property, but there were also areas that needed a make-over in order for the property to be tailored to fit the horses they owned.

by Dr Nerida Richards - Feed XL
These days horse owners are not always able to pick-and-choose the hay they get, as it is often a case of take what is available or go without. So how do you deal with associated problems some hay may cause?

A recent study - reported by Equine Science - found that a combination of psyllium and magnesium sulphate was effective at clearing accumulations of sand in the horse’s large colon.

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Psyllium and magnesium sulphate for treating sand accumulation

A recent study found that a combination of psyllium and magnesium sulphate was effective at clearing accumulations of sand in the large colon.

Psyllium, a sort of "super-bran", is used in horses for treatment and prevention of sand colic. When mixed with water, it swells to up to 10 times its original volume, turning into a jelly-like substance which is thought to ease the passage of sand through the digestive tract. It may also have a direct influence on gut motility by acting on chemical receptors. Magnesium sulphate (MgSO4 – also known as “Epsom salts”) acts as an osmotic cathartic that draws water in the gut contents and enhances intestinal motility.
Mixed with water, psyllium  swells to up to 10 times its original volume.
Kati Niinistö and colleagues at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Helsinki, Finland evaluated a combination of psyllium and MgSO4 for the removal of large colon sand accumulations in horses without clinical signs of acute colic.

Forty horses were enrolled in the study. They had radiological evidence of sand accumulation in the large colon. None of the horses showed signs of colic.

The horses were divided at random into two groups. Twenty were treated with psyllium (1g/kg bodyweight) and MgSO4 (1g/kg bodyweight) administered by nasogastric intubation once daily for 4 days. Twenty control horses received no treatment.

Horses were given free access to timothy hay and water during the study. Neither group had access to soil.

The amount of accumulated sand in the large colon of each horse was evaluated radiographically before and after four days of treatment.

The research team found that medical treatment was more effective than just restricting access to sand. Colonic sand accumulation resolved with 4 days of treatment with psyllium and MgSO4 in 75% of treated horses in the study. In contrast, the sand cleared spontaneously in only 20% of the untreated control group.

For more details, see:

Investigation of the treatment of sand accumulations in the equine large colon with psyllium and magnesium sulphate.
Niinistö KE, Ruohoniemi MO, Freccero F, Raekallio MR.
Vet J. (2018) 238:22-26.




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