Sand Colic Prevention Recipe

Sand Colic Prevention Recipe


Preventative and Cleaner for Sand.

The O’Leary Family Sand Colic preventative recipe. Invented by Jo O’Leary, Vet in 1940.

It has been used since 1940 and there has NEVER been a complication

Remember, there are all sorts of forms of Colic. There are other reasons for symptoms of Colic too. Ulcers (treat with the wormer) and Worm infestations.  Consult your Vet.

There are a number of different types of Colic but this treatment is only for Sand!!!


This is for Sand and should be used twice a year or on bad Country, 3 monthly. It is a preventative and cleaner. It works and there is no doubt about that. 100%. You will notice a marked improvement in the Coat of the horse later.

They will eat it in a hard feed if you make them. MAKE THEM. STARVE THEM prior, lock them up overnight and FEED NO HAY or anything else. Feed nothing else until they eat it. They all turn their nose up with anything new and they will with this. Then, next time, they eat it not a problem and some drink it from a bucket. The life of the Horse rests with the intestinal fortitude of the Owner and I say that because of the weakness in Society these days 🙁

For horses that have been confirmed with copious amounts of sand, repeat 14 days later.

This treatment is NOT sold or recommended as a cure for Colic attacks. However, on many occasions, after the Vets have finished their treatment, we have cured horses with it, where they could not.

This treatment is not to be left UNTIL you get a Colic attack and then ring me!!!! It is a PREVENTATIVE!!!!


This was invented by my Uncle, Jo O’Leary, a highly regarded Country Vet, 60 Years ago in Naracoorte South Australia. He had Racing Stables, housed on Sand Hills in the Town.

It was placed on the Internet, by me, in the Year 2001 and has helped Thousands of lovely Horses.

I think Sand Colic may be the biggest killer of horses in Australia. It has long concerned me, but I wonder how much it concerns the Veterinary Community, here or internationally.

I also think that Sand Colic has become a bit of a “Cash Cow” for the Veterinary Industry and this may be the reason why I cannot find any definitive studies that assist with the prevention or cure of this dangerous horse affliction, which in my observation, is way too prevalent. After conducting exhaustive investigations into the available studies, I am left with the opinion that not enough has been done by the Research Community.

I make the following points:

  • Here and in other Countries, Vets’ prescribe paraffin oil as a treatment, cure, and prevention.I do not believe that this treatment removes sand. Further, I cannot find any documented studies that prove it works and worst still; we have proven time and time again that it does not work. A big statement coming from a lay person but we have saved the lives of horses, 7 days after being treated by well-respected Vet’s. Many times. They had treated with paraffin oil and common additives.
  • Psyllium is held aloft as the wonder treatment for the prevention of Sand Colic.  I cannot find any definitive documented proof that this works? Why is it that businesses all over the world sell it and label it as a prevention to Sand Colic when they have no proof? I have contacted many of them.Likewise, ‘Sand Lube’ named products….no documented proof. I don’t doubt that it could work however.
  • There is a Fodder sold in the Eastern States that is supposed to rid sand from the gut of horses. I contacted them. No available proof.
  • I see people forced from the Equestrian Industry because of the massive cost of Veterinary treatment for Sand Colic.
  • Where is the educational brochures for horse owners? The lists of how to prevent Sand Colic? (other than the propaganda regarding psyllium)

Here is a recent study:

The ratio of sand moved by various feeds. Hay being the most effective.


Having owned and run agistment centres’ throughout our career, I have keenly observed hundreds of horses that have come down with Colic. I have tracked their prior feeding regimes, stabled management by owners, exercise schedules, etc.

Given the fact that our horses do not get Colic, (TOUCH WOOD) here are the results of my life time observations of the prevention of Sand Colic. First to similarities:

  • Horses are often over rugged.
  • They are rarely exercised and when they are, never hard enough.
  • They are not fed enough hay.
  • Fitness level is rarely at a high enough level, giving rise to dehydration and stress when over worked.
  • They are not wormed regularly or with rotated worming compounds.
  • Their teeth are often not done.
  • They are often over ridden when unfit.
  • Rugged when too hot.
  • Over drinking.
  • An overall lack of observation by owners. (mainly caused by a lack of education)

Why then do our horses not get Sand Colic or any type of colic, come to think of it?

  • They are always properly worked.
  • They are always fit and if they are not they are never over worked.
  • They are never over rugged.
  • They are fed large amounts of cereal hay. (6 biscuits per day)
  • They are only fed hard feeds on the days that they are worked.
  • The manure is always a gauge of their inner health.
  • Clean and plentiful water and an observation of water intake.

Other reasons why:

  • They are wormed regularly
  • Their teeth are always done on time.
  • If stabled, they are always given time out to graze or run.
  • If not in work, they are never hard fed.
  • If recently spelled, they are brought along slowly.
  • Close observation of the quality of feed is assured.
  • If introducing new types of feeds, we do it progressively over a week.
  • Stringent observation of feed is carried out and our noses inserted into all bales of hay.



  • Horse owners must be absolutely vigilant when purchasing hay for their horses. Lots of Hay sold in Fodder Stores is riddled with weeds of many descriptions. Lots of Hay is of a substandard quality. Some is mouldy, mice infected and some has chemicals which can also kill your horse. Some horses are allergic to some of the chemicals that the Lucerne Industry uses and can suffer from horrific symptoms ranging from swelling of the lips, the throat or lumps all over the body. Some Lucerne Growers use a die to make older or weather beaten hays look new.  They also use anti-mould agents. These too can affect horses.
  • Horses that do not like their hay go scavenging for every small bit of what they do like. They go searching in the dirt and sand. Think about it.
  • You can’t trust all of the Farmers or the Fodder Stores. You have to make your own judgments. You have to educate yourself. You have to know what is good feed and what is bad. Most City Folk do not. Here is what hay from our local Fodder Store did in one season.

Buy a large rubber mat and put it beneath your hay net. 2 metres by one metre. 


It is perhaps relevant to give out observations of the reasons for horses dying from Colic.

  • A failure of the owner of the horse to do the ‘hard yards’. To stay all night and to resist the temptation to go home for a nice little ‘cuppa’. ( twisted bowel ) This is another reason why we have never lost one. The horse gets tied up on cement and cannot lay down.
  • A lack of supervision at Vet clinics when horses have to stay over. Horses rolling and twisting their bowel. If rolling is the most dangerous thing facing a horse with Colic, why would you leave your horse at a Vet Clinic then? So many of them do not supervise the horses overnight and this can mean certain death. We have personally been involved in the deaths of horses left at Vet Clinics, where they have rolled during the night and died as a result. Why would you leave your horse at a Vet Clinic if the horse is going to be allowed to roll?????



Why is there so much confusion amongst the Veterinary Community, regarding the treatment of Colic? Why is it that the Vets are really operating on a ‘wing and a prayer’ when it comes to this treatment?

  • Some cringe at the suggestion of using ‘Berg Oil’ others recommend it every time.
  • Some drench with water as well as with the common treatment of Paraffin Oil, others do not.
  • Some administer Electrolytes, others don’t.
  • A small percentage will drench with Metamucil where most will only use Paraffin Oil.
  • A lot say to walk the horse endlessly. Others say to lunge at the trot for 5 minutes, some say 10 minutes and one this week, 15 minutes.
  • There is a view amongst some that it is ok for a horse with Colic to roll, most say that it is not ok and definitely dangerous.
  • The only possible time that a horse could be placed on a drip is if it eventually gets to the Vet Hospital. In most cases, THIS IS TOO LATE. Why does it not occur at the home of the horse?
  • Some use and recommend Finniden (sp) as the drug of choice, others use Buscapan. (sp) Some say that Buscapan stops the stomach from working when it clearly needs to. Others dis-agree.

If 24/7 supervision exists at your Vet Clinic, there is no better place for the horse to be.



This is the key to success. There is no doubt about that. If you can recognize the symptoms, BEFORE rolling, and you take the correct steps, you should save the life of your horse.

This is the secret to the 100% success rate of cases where we have personally had charge or responsibility.



One of the biggest causes of Colic is the failure of owners to go the hard yards for their horses. A rather large percentage of horse owners, own a horse so that they may visit a stable complex and enjoy the fellowship of other horse owners’ and the gossip that goes with it. Just like Saddle Club but only for oldies. Nothing wrong with gossip, just do it around the Round Pen if you are a groomer, not a rider…



Apart from these points and others, there are very few options for treatment in the knowledge base of Vets. There should be more. They are stuck with the Paraffin Oil theory and not much else. Not their fault. This is obviously all that comes out of the Colleges.

Why does Pony Club not teach every kid in the land about this subject? Why don’t the other Institutions? Why does not the Vet Peak Bodies see to it that the multitudes are education? Why is there no written information given out?



I notice a new wave of Colic has hit this State. I have thought long and hard over the years, very observant, analytical, thinking outside the square and reading horses. I have cut a lot open and conducted further investigation in the search for knowledge.

We lost a 3 year old last week. Twisted bowel before it arrived at our place for treatment. No sand, no worm damage. A giant impaction larger than a Basketball. Nothing in the lower bowels. No matter how good your treatment is at that stage, nothing will work. It is too late. But what triggers bouts of Colic attacks in Districts or areas? Ever wondered?

I have come to the conclusion that it is mostly weather related. Sure there are other factors that compound the conclusion but the trigger is weather related. I have never read such an opinion amongst the countless searches of Veterinary Studies Worldwide so forgive me any Vet who reads this.

There is no doubt that the 3 year old died of Colic simply because of a change in the weather which triggered playful rearing, fighting and rolling. During the aggressive rolling, which I note is different than normal rolling when letting a horse out of the stable into a paddock, they accidentally twist the bowel. The other interesting observation that I have made is that a certain conformation of horse can be susceptible to such a fate. The pod gutted type that looks half pregnant all the time.

Last night, another lovely performance horse belonging to a client, died of Colic after running around and sweating. She had a twisted bowel. Just 5 minutes ago, a lady rang with another one. I suspect sand but the trigger being 42 degrees and sweat causing rolling. If this is true, and I believe it is, it goes directly against some Vet opinion that it matters not if horses roll whilst having Colic and proves the danger of Vets leaving your Hospitalized horse unsupervised in a yard overnight.  Yet another angle on the greatest cause of death in horses.



I have asked but they cannot supply any studies or proof that it works.



A yearling riding pony colt came to us a few years ago. It had been on deaths door with sand colic 7 days prior and was drenched by a much respected horse Vet. With Paraffin Oil. When it arrived, it was having extreme difficulty in standing up and was using the walls of the stable as a prop. The level of pain must have been massive.

We treated the poor little boy with an alternative treatment that had been passed down through the family over a couple of generations, from Uncle Joseph O’Leary, one of the most regarded Horse Vets in Australia,   back in the 1940’s. Go here for that cure. In Naracoorte, in the South East of South Australia, the Horse Cemetery was owned by my Family. They used to cut all the horses open and check their guts. 4 gallons of sand was often seen and was obviously the cause of death of many  horses. The District is sandy.

For many years, I have been promoting this to various Vets but to no avail. (Didn’t come from Vet school so how could it be any good) Every month I prove them wrong and Jo O’Leary right.



  • We have handled hundreds of cases and never lost one. The main reason is that they were never allowed to get down and roll. Rolling can and does cause a twisted bowel and it is normally this that causes death.
  • For the reason above, we would never allow a horse to stay over at a Veterinary Surgery unless we could stay with it. We have seen a number of cased where horses have died due to rolling because of a lack of supervision. One on New Year’s Eve. You cannot blame the Vet but you can blame the owner.
  • We have had horses tied up for 50 hours and saved their lives.
  • We have never walked horses. I see horses walked endlessly and wonder how I would like that if I had a massive stomach ache. If exercise is required, we will lunge at the trot briefly.
  • Lunging a horse for a short period can assist. At the trot. (max 10 minutes)



  • Worm infestation
  • Worm intestinal damage
  • Sand build up in the gut
  • Sand damage to gut
  • Ulcers
  • Old Age
  • Bacterial infection or imbalance in the gut



One O’Leary Yarn and another remedy for you from my Uncle Joe the Vet. Dennis had a horse that was on deaths door. The exercise had been going for two days and Dennis knew the time was near where he would have to shoot the horse. The horse incidentally was 30 years old. As a final straw, he drenched him with another O’Leary Family remedy, a packet of Creme a tarta in the hottest possible water that could be used. Then he put the horse in the float and gave him a rough ride to the Pub, got two stubbies and then to the Abattoirs. Pulled up right next to a yard with a big old Bullock in it and who was near the fence. The horse was on the left side of the float and when Dennis opened the door, the horse put his head straight out as they do, looking straight into the eyes of this bullock who immediately roared like a Bull. The horse was beside himself of course. Anyhow, he drank the two stubbies while the horse had Kittens and then drove home. As he came out of the float, he opened up his legs as he was walking and dropped 4 big rock hard plugs of manure and immediately almost went to sleep at the tie up rail. He left him tied up there all night so he couldn’t roll and the next morning there was a wheel barrow of wet sloppy manure covering a metre square of ground and up the adjacent walls and post. Guess what, he was on the ride today, fit as a Bull and looking magnificent. Meanwhile, if you are ever constipated, take a teaspoon of it in hot water and make sure you aren’t too far from the toilet hahahaha.



When a horse has Colic, it is too late to be experimenting with new treatments. Here are a couple of others that associates declare does work.

“I was wondering if you know about the use of weetbix to help shift the sand from a horse’s stomach. We have used it on many horses that we have rescued from sandy ground. We normally feed approx. 6 weetbix wet them down so that they are a gluggy paste and feed to the horse. This seems to sit in the horses stomach and when they poo it out it brings some of the sand with it. If large quantities of sand are suspected then we repeat 2 days later. We also place 2 to 3 weetbix in their morning and afternoon feed each day just dry and broken up. ”



A retrospective study of 40 horses that underwent surgical treatment for sand colic was performed. Three horses were euthanatized and one died during surgery. Of the 36 horses that recovered from anaesthesia, five died before discharge from the hospital and seven died after discharge. Twenty-four horses survived at least 12 months. Sand impaction of the right dorsal colon was present in 26 horses. In addition to sand impaction, 10 horses also had colonic displacement or volvulus.