Horse Side Vet Guide ®

Equine Health Resource

Excessive Gas or Flatulence

Code Green - Contact Your Vet to Obtain Useful Advice & Resources

Code Green - Contact Your Vet to Obtain Useful Advice & Resources

  • If the horse's appetite and attitude are normal and you see nothing else wrong.
  • If the results of the Whole Horse Exam (WHE) suggest the horse is otherwise normal.

Normal horses produce tremendous amounts of gas as a byproduct of the breakdown of dietary roughage in the colon. So some flatulence is normal for horses.

A sudden increase in gas production can be an indication of dietary change or imbalance, but is not considered to be much of a problem when unaccompanied by other problems like colic. Importantly though, sudden increases in gas production can be associated with abdominal pain (colic). Horses that produce increased gas and show colic signs often show distention of the abdomen (bloating).


When in doubt, assess the horse’s general health using the Whole Horse Exam (WHE), paying particular attention to attitude and appetite, rectal temperature, heart rate, mucous membrane color and intestinal sounds. Look for signs of colic, or that the horse has been lying down abnormally If you find any other signs of illness, contact your vet with your findings and concerns.


Depending on the circumstances, your vet may want to examine your horse or may simply recommend feed and management changes.

Author: Doug Thal DVM Dipl. ABVP


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