Home remedies for sand colic in horses: Easy treatments for Home

Ingestion of sand can cause horses to go through severe colic (abdominal pain). This is a life-threatening situation if not diagnosed early and treated right. You can act as a savior in this critical situation by doing easy treatments at home. There are some home remedies for sand colic in horses that can reduce the intensity of damage to your equine and get you some time to call upon your veterinarian.

How to Get Rid of Sand in a Horse’s Gut?

Reports on sand colic cases in the United States may surprise you. It is a prominent cause of death among the young foals in the country. Also, sand is the etiology of 30% of the colic cases in horses.

Mild sand colic signs may include intermittent discomfort and diarrhea in horses. In severe cases, weight loss accompanies profuse diarrhea. If left untreated, sand colic can cause twisting (volvulus) or rupture of the intestines, which has a poor prognosis.

Treatment of sand colic is based on the accuracy of diagnosis. Your vet will go through several radiographs to know the quantity of sand residing in the horse’s gut.

To prevent dehydration caused by diarrhea, veterinarians treat signs of colic by maintaining fluid in the body. The sand colic causes impaction in the intestine because of the increased tension in mesenteries. The medical team gives analgesics and anti-inflammatory medicines.

There is also a home remedy for sand colic that you can do at home.

Home Remedies for Sand Colic in Horses

1. Treating Sand Colic with the Hay

According to the published studies of the University of Florida, hay is one of the promising ways to evacuate the sand from the gut of horses. Feeding 1.5% to 2.5% of bodyweight hay to the horse removes the maximum quantity of the sand output.

The bulk of hay provided in slow feeders will help keep the digestive tract full and take the sand in the manure without settling in a large colon.

2. Using Psyllium for Sand Colic

Psyllium husk is a mucilaginous substance conventionally used in variable amounts to treat sand colic. It works by expanding in the colon and incorporating the sand with its gelatinous structure. Psyllium products come with different brand names and combinations like SandClear, SandRid, TrailEze Psyllium pellets, and more.

It is a husk and promotes healthy gut motility, which soothes bowel dysfunction, if any. Horse owners use the product as a preventive supplement to prevent the accumulation of dirt or sand in the horse's gut.

*Always consider your veterinarian’s advice while opting for any supplement or changing diet.

3. Epsom Salt Usage to Clear Sand

Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate) acts as a laxative and a SandClear® alternative. A nasogastric tube is used to administer the salt to horses to evacuate sand by stimulating the muscles in the colon to pass the stool easily by the horse.

4. A combination of Psyllium and Epsom Salt does Wonders in relieving sand colic

Recent studies have shown that continuing a combination of Psyllium husk and Epsom salt for 5-7 days can cause favorable outcomes.

You can give a combination of the two at the advised rate of 1g/kg of body weight (liable to change according to the condition and veterinarian’s advice). Since the two have poor palatability, administer them through a nasogastric tube.

Sand Colic Prevention in Horses

It is always better to manage finances in prevention rather than spending on the cure. You can save your horse from scavenging on dirt or sand. Maybe you’re a resident of a coastal area where you can’t deny sand in the pasture for your horse. But you can help in preventing sand colic.

1. When feeding the horse on sandy soil, it is always advised to manage the sand rather than trying to push it out of the horse's gastrointestinal tract.

2. Feed pelleted/ grain feed on the mat. Avoid spilling of feed on the ground.

3. Feed abundant fiber- Add other fiber options in the feed along with the hay. It helps in creating a bulk in the colon and removing unwanted sand along with it.

4. Intermittent use of Psyllium- It can work for some horses when added into the feed intermittently for a few days (4-5 days) in removing the excess load of sand out of the colon because of its mucilaginous properties.

5. Routine Drenching- If you can’t avoid the short pastures eating or sand scavenging in horses, then you may opt for regular drenching with paraffin oil and Epsom salts—their laxative effects aid in passing sand down with the stools. 


Horses are highly sensitive creatures. Prevention is the key to nullifying the sand colic episodes in horses. Several working home remedies for sand colic help in the removal of sand from the horse’s gut. Before implementing any remedy for prevention or cure, consult your vet.


Dr Akanksha Agnihotri is another animal lover like you cum veterinarian by profession. She has earned her B.V.Sc & AH from COVS & AH, Jabalpur, India. She has a knack for befriending animals/pets and treating them compassionately. She believes...