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From AAEP’s Ask the Vet: Post Colic Surgery Diet – Question #2

Dr. Lydia Gray hand-grazing her horse Newman post colic surgery

I have a 7 year old Haflinger mare – pleasure use – I’m concerned with being sure she’s receiving adequate nutrition requirements without over feeding. Currently she’s on a hay based diet with a gastric supplement and a joint supplement fed daily. She receives soaked alfalfa cubes daily in order to add supplements to her diet. She has a history of colic including surgery and a bout of colitis which landed her in the hospital for 10 days. Her feed includes Triple Crown Light fed daily (approximately 1-2 lbs / day). Thank you. Barbara

Dear Barbara,

Sorry to hear about your mare’s mishaps—colic, surgery and colitis. Fortunately her diet based on hay, supplemented with the correct amount of a pelleted concentrate, and supported with a handful of alfalfa cubes sounds very appropriate. With the stress your mare has been under, a gastric (stomach) supplement is not a bad idea, although given her history of hindgut or large intestine issues you might want to consider a digestive supplement to provide ingredients targeted for the tissues, environment and special needs of the cecum and colon.

Ingredients to look for include:
probiotics (direct fed microorganisms or bacteria such as Lactobacillus, Enterococcus and Bifidobacterium)
prebiotics (soluble fibers like MOS, FOS, arabinogalactan, inulin and even psyllium)
digestive enzymes (amylase, lipase, protease)
•active live yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae and boulardii)
•amino acids (glutamine, glycine, Threonine)
•herbs (turmeric, ginger, licorice)
•hindgut buffers

Many of these have research supporting their use in maintaining a normal, healthy hindgut so I encourage you to check them out. Sounds like you’re on the right track though—keep up the good work!

Lydia F. Gray, DVM, MA SmartPak Staff Veterinarian and Medical Director Dr. Lydia Gray has earned a Bachelor of Science in agriculture, a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM), and a Master of Arts focusing on interpersonal and organizational communication. After “retiring” from private practice, she put her experience and education to work as the American Association of Equine Practitioner’s first-ever Director of Owner Education. Dr. Gray continues to provide health and nutrition information to horse owners through her position at SmartPak, through publication in more than a dozen general and trade publications, and through presentations around the country. She is the very proud owner of a Trakehner named Newman that she actively competes with in dressage and combined driving. In addition to memberships in the USDF and USEF, Dr. Gray is also a member of the Illinois Dressage and Combined Training Association (IDCTA). She is a USDF “L” Program Graduate and is currently working on her Bronze Medal. Find Dr. Gray on Google+

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