What you see. The starting point for addressing any equine health related issue is your observation.


Excessive Gas or Flatulence


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).

  • 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.

your role


What To Do

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.

What Not To Do

Do not make drastic feed changes based on this finding alone. Do not mistake this observation for abdominal pain (colic).

your vet's role

Depending on the circumstances, your vet may want to examine your horse or may simply recommend feed and management changes.
Questions Your Vet Might Ask:
  • Can you think of anything that changed around the time the behavior started?
  • How long have you noticed this?
  • Has your horse had any physical issues that you know of that may relate to this?
  • What is the horse currently eating?
  • When did you first notice this?
  • Has the horse's feed changed recently?
  • How is the horse's weight or body condition score (BCS)?
  • Have you noticed any signs of abdominal pain (colic)?
  • Does the horse have diarrhea or loose manure?
  • What are the results of the Whole Horse Exam (WHE)?
  • What is your parasite control program?

Treatments Your Vet May Recommend

A way to resolve the condition or diagnosis. Resolving the underlying cause or treating the signs of disease (symptomatic treatment)

Very Common
more treatments

Author: Doug Thal DVM Dipl. ABVP