December 5, 2007 at 7.30pm

Leading veterinary scientist, Professor Chris Proudman, from the University of Liverpool gave an evening talk to equine enthusiasts at Nottingham Trent University's Brackenhurst campus on "Prevention of Colic in the Horse".

Colic is the single biggest cause of death in horses. In order to prevent it, you have to understand what causes it and considerable advances have occurred over the past 20 years. During the course of the lecture, Professor Proudman considered the key risk factors: Diet, parasites, time of year and individual susceptibility.

Simple interventions that will decrease the risk of colic were identified and the science behind each explained.

Did you know that ...

•  10% of serious colics are fatal, not to mention expensive.

•  It is a proven fact that the more hard feed you feed to your horse, the higher the risk of it getting colic.  

•  Changing your horse's diet increases the likelihood of him/her getting colic by 12 times.
Make any changes to the horse's diet gradually over two to four WEEKS so the gut can adapt. Bringing a horse in from grass and allowing him to eat a straw bed is a change in his diet, so using another form of bedding could help there. Horses which often eat their straw bedding may not colic because they are used to it as part of their diet.

•  Equine tapeworms are shorter than those you see in cats and dogs. The tapeworms can be busy blocking one of the junctions in your horse's intestines! So have you wormed your horse for tapeworm recently?   Did you know there is a blood test that can be carried out to show whether your horse has tapeworm infection? You can find out more about this and much more by visiting .

•  Crib-biters and wind-suckers are a very high risk group.  

•  You can walk a non-violent colic case and even give it a ride in a trailer or lorry as the ride and 'jiggling about' can help to relieve the pain? Violent cases are, however, a danger to you the handler and to the horse itself and should not be walked.   It used to be thought that allowing the horse with colic to roll could cause a twisted gut. This was probably because the kennels or abattoir would find a twisted gut and believe that rolling had caused it. However, it is thought that the twisted gut occurs BEFORE the violent pain which causes the horse to want to get down and roll.

A leader in his field, Professor Proudman is Head of Equine Studies at the University of Liverpool and a Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) Specialist in Equine Gastroenterology. He is responsible for the diagnosis and management of soft-tissue surgical cases including reproductive tract surgery, airway surgery and a large colic caseload. Current research interests include the post-operative survival of equine colic cases, colic in donkeys and the association between intestinal parasites and colic.

Hoyland Event Director, Jill Hoyland said "The lecture was interesting and informative. Whether your horse is a "happy hacker," or an Olympic athlete, the information given in this talk could save his/her life!"

 Return to Hoyland Event main site