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J Anim Physiol Anim Nutr (Berl). 2008 Feb;92(1):86-91. doi: 10.1111/j.1439-0396.2007.00713.x.

Evacuation of sand from the equine intestine with mineral oil, with and without psyllium.

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  • 1Department of Veterinary Public Health, Institute of Nutrition, University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna, Vienna, Austria.


The aim of this study was to determine the evacuation of sand from the equine intestine after a double treatment with psyllium and mineral oil or mineral oil only. A crossover study was conducted. Twelve healthy horses were fed 1 kg sand once a day for 5 days. Subsequently, these horses were divided into two groups: A and B. From day 6-10, both groups were treated with 2 l of mineral oil once a day and group B received an additional 0.5 kg of psyllium twice a day. The trial was repeated after 2 weeks with treatment crossover of groups A and B. The horses were housed sand free and 1.8 kg hay/100 kg body weight was offered to meet the maintenance energy requirement. Prior to the sand administration, faeces were collected from each horse for 3 days and the crude ash was determined to establish a baseline output of ash. There was no difference between the baseline crude ash output of the first and second treatment. From day 6-10, faeces were collected daily and the fresh weight and the dry matter and the crude ash contents were determined. For administration, sand or psyllium was mixed with 1 l of Irish mash (concentrate mixed with water), respectively, and mineral oil was administered via a nasogastric tube. All horses showed higher crude ash excretion when treated with psyllium and mineral oil compared with the mineral oil administration only. On the second, third and fourth day of the treatment, the difference was significant. Faeces crude ash weight corrected for baseline crude ash output while treated with psyllium plus oil and oil solely, reached a mean of 51.0 (SD 20.5) and 26.1 (SD 17.7) % of the administered sand mass, respectively. The results of this trial show that the ash output differed highly between the horses. Nevertheless, all horses showed a higher total ash output within the 5 days treatment period when the psyllium semen and mineral oil were used for the treatment than when treated with mineral oil solely.

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