Nutritional Articles

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Dietary Risk Factors and Colonic pH and Mineral Concentrations in Horses with Enterolithiasis

Published: 2004-06-30

Brief content of the article
These authors executed a prospective, unmatched case control study which was performed to identify dietary and environmental risk factors for enterolithiasis in horses in California and to determine whether colonic ingesta analyses differed between horses with and without enteroliths. The results of this study showed that the mean pH of colonic contents from horses with enterolithiasis was significantly higher than for control horses. Horses with enterolithiasis had significantly lower percent dry matter in colonic fecal samples and higher mean mineral concentrations than controls. On the basis of reported feeding and management practices, horses with enterolithiasis were fed a significantly higher proportion of alfalfa in their diet and were less likely to have daily access to pasture grass than horses without enteroliths. Results suggest that decreasing alfalfa consumption and allowing daily access to pasture grazing might reduce the risk of enterolithiasis. Dietary modifications promoting acidification of colonic contents and dilution of minerals might be beneficial as preventive measures for enterolithiasis in horses.
Keywords: Alfalfa hay; colic; colon mineral content; enteroliths; pH.

Diana M. Hassel, Peter C. Rakestraw, Ian A. Gardner, Sharon J. Spier and Jack R. Snyder.2004. Dietary Risk Factors and Colonic pH and Mineral Concentrations in Horses with Enterolithiasis. Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine 8: 346–349.

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