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Little known fact: The cecum in a horse has its entrance and exit at the top.
And you should pay attention to this because... For digested material to exit, it has to defy gravity! To process food, the cecum contracts to push the contents out the top. To do this critical function forage needs to be flowing through the digestive system at all times.
Picture a full toothpaste tube that is open. If you squeeze the bottom of the tube, toothpaste will come out the top because it is full. Picture a half empty toothpaste tube, with the paste at the bottom. Squeeze the tube and no toothpaste comes out the top because there isn't enough inside.
Without enough food matter to "fill the tube" (cecum), sand, dirt, and undigested material can remain at the bottom of the cecum, leading to colic. Avoiding this is simple: Feed your horse a continuous supply of forage -- all day, and all night.
Worried about weight gain? No need. Feed a low calorie, low NSC hay, free choice and your horse will let you know how much he needs to maintain his weight. Read Dr. Getty's articles on Overweight Horses in her Resource Library as well as the book, "Easy Keeper," Spotlight on Equine Nutrition Series.
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Getty Equine Nutrition, LLC
Juliet M. Getty, Ph.D.
12608 Lignite Drive
Denton, TX 76207
Phone: (940) 272-0001
Juliet M. Getty, Ph.D. is an independent equine nutritionist offering nutrition services for all life stages and integrative support for disorders and diseases. Your horse's quality of life is Dr. Getty's priority.
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