Each horse owner can likely say that their worst fear goes hand in hand with the word colic. There are multiple types of colic that can occur in horses, one of these types being sand colic. The good news about sand colic is that it is very preventable and taking appropriate measures will greatly reduce your horse’s chances of contracting this type of colic.
If you’re worried that your horse may already have a sand build up, there’s a simple test to conduct to see just how much sand your horse is passing through their system.
This test can be conducted with a small/medium size bucket, rectal examine glove, or plastic bag. Be sure to use fresh horse droppings that have not had contact with sand. Repeating this test twice a month provides the best results; if you find more than 1/4 teaspoon of sand during a test, contact your vet.
Bucket test: Fill bucket with approximately three quarts of water. Add five to seven fecal balls to the water; make sure to mark the water level before and after the manure is added. Let the droppings dissolve in the water and then carefully drain the water from the top of the bucket; all of the sand, if there is any, should be at the bottom of the bucket.
Rectal examine glove: Deposit one to two fecal balls into the glove. Add enough water for the manure to dissolve in. Shake the glove to help fecal matter and water mix together. Once the droppings have carefully dissolved, all of the sand, if there is any, should be at the bottom of the glove.
Plastic bag: Deposit one to three fecal balls into the plastic bag. Add enough water for the manure to dissolve in. Shake the bag to help fecal matter and water mix together. Once the droppings have carefully dissolved, all of the sand, if there is any, should be at the bottom of the bag.
For greater results, allow manure mixture to dissolve for up to ten minutes.
Tip: Even if you conduct some tests and are pleased with the results, it’s always an excellent idea to purchase Psyllium for your horse. If you aren’t familiar with Psyllium, it is a supplement that picks up sand and flushes it out of a horse’s system. Be careful to only feed this to a horse one week out of the month, as horses grow immune to this supplement if used excessively.