A possible explanation for the increased risk of impaction colic in stabled horses has been revealed by a study that shows that they have lower large intestinal motility compared with horses at pasture.The research team, led by Dr Sarah Freeman at the University of Nottingham School of Veterinary Medicine and Science, measured the motility of the large intestine at three regions of the large intestine, using transcutaneous ultrasound. The study involved sixteen clinically normal horses, which were divided into two groups.Group A: Horses were stabled continuously throughout the study.
Group B: Horses were initially at pasture 24hr/day. Over a 2 week period they were gradually changed to the same stabling/dietary management as group A. The researchers assessed the motility of large intestine twice daily for two consecutive days. They recorded the number of contractions at each of three sites: the caecum, sternal flexure, and left ventral colon. Overall large intestinal motility as assessed by transcutaneous ultrasound was lower in stabled horses. In particular, stabled horses showed significantly fewer contractions in the sternal flexure and left ventral colon. Read more at www.equinescienceupdate.com