A study was conducted recently whose purpose was to compare the effect of oral administration (via a nasogastric tube) of magnesium sulfate (MgSO4), psyllium mucilloid (psyllium) and a combination of the two to help remove large accumulations of sand in the large colon of adult horses. 34 horses with naturally acquired sand accumulations (identified and measured with the use of abdominal radiographs) were randomly placed into one of three groups: (1) psyllium alone, 12 horses; (2) MgSO4 alone, 10 horses: (3) a combination of the two, 12 horses. Treatments were administered once a day, via a nasogastric tube, for a total of 4 days. The horses were then radiographed again and the area of sand was again measured. Of the 12 horses with the combination therapy, 9 had removed the sand from the colon and were considered to have resolved the sand accumulation. Only 3/12 with the psyllium alone and 2/10 with the MgSO4 alone showed that same degree of resolution. The researchers concluded that large accumulations of sand in the colon can be treated medically and that giving a combination of psyllium and MgSO4 was the most effective treatment.
Scientific Article: Niinisto, K. et al, “Comparison of the effects of enteral psyllium, magnesium sulphate and their combination for removal of sand from the large colon of horses.” Vet J 2014 Dec; 202(3): 608-11.
Companion Article: Oke, S. “Psyllium, Magnesium Sulfate’s Sand Clearing Ability Studied”. theHorse.com, Jan. 15, 2015, Article#35183.