Colic Glossary

Here are a few common colic terms that are used in the Colic Risk Rater

Adaptation Period is the amount of time taken to gradually introduce new hay/feed in combination with old hay/feed. It also refers to the time taken to expose a horse to new pasture by slowly increasing the number of hours per day the horse spends on pasture over a period of time.

Colon Displacement occurs when the colon shifts from its natural position.

Concentrate or ‘grain’ refers generally to oats, or a mixture of oats and other grains, or processed feeds commonly fed to the horse along with forage (hay and grass). It includes sweet feed, pellets, chunks, whole grain and complete feeds. The term “concentrate” is used because the energy content of these feeds is much greater than the energy content in hay.

Crib-biting is a stereotypic behaviour when a horse inhales air by grabbing a platform/object such as fence or stall with its front teeth, arches its neck and pulls back against the object in order to suck in air.

Enteroliths are stones that are formed from crystallized minerals which can cause a blockage in the digestive tract.

Fecal Egg Count Test (FECT) is the microscopic examination of the type and number of parasite eggs present in fresh manure. Results of the test are expressed as eggs per gram (epg). The FECT determines if the parasitic infection is light, moderate or heavy and assesses the effectiveness of your parasite prevention program. (How to Collect a Fecal Sample)

Fermentation is a process in which microbes in the horse’s cecum and large colon break down forage to produce gas and volatile fatty acids which horses use for energy.

Gastric Ulcers are erosions in the lining of the esophagus, stomach or small intestines
Impaction occurs when the flow of food/fluid/gas becomes interrupted by an obstruction in the horse`s digestive tract.

Mastication or chewing is the process of mechanically breaking down food particles with teeth and the mixing of saliva to moisten foodstuff prior to swallowing.

Motility/Peristalsis is the movement of contents through the digestive system caused by the wave-like contractions of the muscles lining the system.
Mycotoxins are substances that are naturally produced by some types of moulds (e.g. aflatoxin, fusarium).

Obstruction is when food or other foreign objects such as parasites or sand cause a blockage within the digestive tract

Parrot Mouth is an abnormal dental conformation where the upper jaw protrudes over the bottom jaw. This can impair the horse’s ability to grasp food and impact chewing capacity

Peri-parturient period is the time close to or after foaling.

Stocking Density is the number of horses per acre.

Strangulation is the twisting or knotting of the intestine or twisting of some other structure around intestine (e.g. lipoma – tumour).