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J Anim Physiol Anim Nutr (Berl). 2009 Jun;93(3):339-49. doi: 10.1111/j.1439-0396.2008.00874.x.

Risk factors of colic in horses in Austria.

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


A hospital-based case study was conducted at the University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna for a 1-year period. The purpose of this study was to determine possible alterable and non-alterable risk factors of equine colic in Austria. The investigated parameters were obtained from hospital medical records (individual factors, duty of the horse, deworming, change in diet and water intake), from questionnaires (feed intake, watering types, housing and pasture practices) and from (weather-related factors). Moreover, 221 collected feed samples were investigated through hygienic quality sensory evaluation and mould, yeast and bacteria presumptive samples were confirmed by microbiological investigation. Variables that were observed from the hospital medical records and found to be significantly associated with colic in a univariate analysis were included in multivariate analysis and the only remaining risk factor was decreased water consumption (p < 0.001, OR = 5.025). Consequently, a total of 2743 horses and 366 cases of colic were observed during the study period. The risk factors for colic in Austria were identified for the first time in this study and these increased risk factors were decreased water consumption, high amount of concentrate intake (p = 0.037), low hygienic quality of hay (p = 0.027) and high temperature on the arrival date (p = 0.003). Results suggest that the occurrence of colic may not stop, but may decrease with better feed management practices in Austria.

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