Watch out for winter colic

By: Horse Deals

Watch out for winter colic
Watch out for winter colic
Equine insurance company NFU Mutual is warning horseowners to remain alert to the risk of seasonal bouts of colic as the cold weather sets in.
NFU Mutual’s specialist equine claims unit has confirmed that claims involving equine colic peak at this time of year.

Scientific studies backup this seasonal trend. An Equine Colic Epidemiology Study conducted by The University of Liverpool between 2003 and 2006 clearly identified seasonal patterns in certain types of equine colic.

The study noted that these patterns coincided with times of year in the UK when changes in a horse’s stabling, turnout and feed are most likely to occur, together with changes in pasture quality.

NFU Mutual is concerned that some horse owners might be tempted to cut-back or even cancel equine insurance in an attempt to save money.

Jo Sowley, Senior Equine Underwriter at NFU Mutual, said: "The cold frosty weather always brings an increase in incidences of colic and an operation to treat an impacted colic can often run into thousands of pounds. The last thing any owner wants to worry about when their beloved animal is sick is whether they can afford to treat it. "

Although it’s impossible to prevent every type of colic from occurring, horse owners can take reasonable steps to help reduce the risk.


• Keep to a regular feeding regime - any changes to your horse’s diet should be made gradually over a period of 7-14 days.

• Be aware a change in the way you manage your horse might also involve a change in its diet, such as overnight stabling, lack of turnout or reduced exercise because of the dark winter nights.

• Turn your horse out whenever possible – horses are designed to graze continually so even when stabled your horse should have constant access to forage. If you are worried about weight gain or laminitis you can offer late-cut hay or low-energy haylage; speak to your vet or equine nutritionist for advice.