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What are the risks of giving mineral oil orally?


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#1 HeavensEast

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Posted 11 April 2012 - 04:50 PM

Just wondering. I've heard it is not good for the horse, but I can't remember from who or why they said it was not a good idea.
Why is it any different than tubing with mineral oil? Is it because the tubing goes directly into the esophagus and there is not as much of as risk for aspiration?

I'm eager to learn, so any responses would be helpful :)

#2 Remali

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Posted 11 April 2012 - 05:08 PM

With a tube it goes nasally and (I think) doesn't it bypass the esophagus and go directly to the stomach? I wouldn't want to give a horse mineral oil via the mouth, I have heard it can get into the horse's lungs that way.
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#3 WashingtonBay

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Posted 11 April 2012 - 05:14 PM

Doesn't seem like the risk of aspirating it would be any greater than anything else we give orally.

It might just be that they will not like it, and the amount you're able to get in that way, compared to pumping it in, would be too little and with much effort.

But if they need it, I had it, and a vet is not available, I'd do it. I sat and syringed about a gallon of water into our pony one time, when she was dehydrated, colicky and the vet could not come. It was a lot of squirting, but what else did I have to do?



#4 HeavensEast

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Posted 11 April 2012 - 05:21 PM

What about feeding it orally on a regular basis to prevent colic?

#5 Remali

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Posted 11 April 2012 - 05:22 PM

I would ask your vet HE.... I was told never ever give mineral oil orally.
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#6 HeavensEast

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Posted 11 April 2012 - 05:24 PM

I would ask your vet HE.... I was told never ever give mineral oil orally.

The question is for others. I have now met two families who give mineral oil with their ponies' grain daily because a vet told them it would help prevent colic.

I have heard the same thing... so that's why when they told me that I was a little concerned. I just want to be more informed before I advise them against it.

#7 Pi and Tofu

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Posted 11 April 2012 - 05:32 PM

Just not in the mood to find any studies right now; however will try later.

For us in Florida, sand colic is always around the corner. Have had new vets and olds vets all say that adding mineral oil to my Sunday mash (which is controversial in itself) is helpful. I do not add everyday, but think that the amount may be the issue.

It's been too long, but think that it's the same issue as veggie oil and lack of gall bladder...

#8 Remali

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Posted 11 April 2012 - 05:33 PM

Yes, I see what you mean HE, I would be concerned too, it's good to ask questions... I was always asking my vet a ton of questions....LOL.
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#9 WashingtonBay

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Posted 11 April 2012 - 05:34 PM

The question is for others. I have now met two families who give mineral oil with their ponies' grain daily because a vet told them it would help prevent colic.


The best good it's doing there, since ponies probably shouldn't even have grain, is in soaking into the grain making it run through them undigested.

I have heard the same thing... so that's why when they told me that I was a little concerned. I just want to be more informed before I advise them against it.

Mineral oil is indigestible. Whatever it soaks into will likely be nutritionally unavailable to the horse. That's why it works its way into the lower bowel to soften blockages and soak up anything toxic or upsetting that they ate. Because it's not food. It's indigestible lubricant.



#10 HeavensEast

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Posted 11 April 2012 - 05:36 PM

Just not in the mood to find any studies right now; however will try later.

For us in Florida, sand colic is always around the corner. Have had new vets and olds vets all say that adding mineral oil to my Sunday mash (which is controversial in itself) is helpful. I do not add everyday, but think that the amount may be the issue.

It's been too long, but think that it's the same issue as veggie oil and lack of gall bladder...

One family was feeding a tablespoon daily with grain and the other is feeding half a cup (don't quote, I want to say it may even be more). That seems like an overload to me.

#11 HeavensEast

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Posted 11 April 2012 - 05:39 PM

The best good it's doing there, since ponies probably shouldn't even have grain, is in soaking into the grain making it run through them undigested.

Mineral oil is indigestible. Whatever it soaks into will likely be nutritionally unavailable to the horse. That's why it works its way into the lower bowel to soften blockages and soak up anything toxic or upsetting that they ate. Because it's not food. It's indigestible lubricant.

That makes sense. Otherwise it would be processed by the stomach and the nutrients would be absorbed into the small intestine and would not make it to the colon. Correct?

#12 WashingtonBay

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Posted 11 April 2012 - 05:41 PM

IMHO, when the vet is using mineral oil to break up a impaction in a horse, they might give a gallon of it.

A few tablespoons or a cup isn't going to do anything to prevent or break up an impaction.

They'd be better off to seriously consider if grain is needed, and make sure the ponies are well hydrated and eating appropriate amounts of hay/grass. Adding WATER if they're worried about colic would probably do more good.



#13 WashingtonBay

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Posted 11 April 2012 - 05:42 PM

That makes sense. Otherwise it would be processed by the stomach and the nutrients would be absorbed into the small intestine and would not make it to the colon. Correct?


Right.. Other vegetable-based oils don't prevent or help with colic because they're digested before they reach the problem.



#14 natisha

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Posted 11 April 2012 - 05:58 PM

Has anyone else ever had mineral oil in their mouth? :puke:

In horses, accidental aspiration is the main concern. Most things we give orally are a sticky glob & even a small amount of liquid banamine, for example, is much less than you would give of mineral oil.
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#15 WashingtonBay

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Posted 11 April 2012 - 06:03 PM

Has anyone else ever had mineral oil in their mouth? :puke:

In horses, accidental aspiration is the main concern. Most things we give orally are a sticky glob & even a small amount of liquid banamine, for example, is much less than you would give of mineral oil.


And aspiration might be more likely because of the gag reflex from the bad taste!

Sounds like though, these people are just feeding it in grain. So not likely to aspirate it that way, question if you think it's even helpful.



#16 natisha

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Posted 11 April 2012 - 06:19 PM

And aspiration might be more likely because of the gag reflex from the bad taste!

Sounds like though, these people are just feeding it in grain. So not likely to aspirate it that way, question if you think it's even helpful.

Not the taste, the feel.
If while giving a horse water orally some went the wrong way the horse can easily cough it up. Much harder to cough up mineral oil-I would guess.
Mineral oil can block the absorption of some nutrients, can't remember which ones & can cause liver problems. It's a petroleum product so I don't see how that could be good long term. Still, I don't think a litte on a pony's grain would hurt but helpful?
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#17 Pi and Tofu

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Posted 11 April 2012 - 06:26 PM

Oof, I wasn't even close on my reasoning.

I did a quick search on my vet friendly site and can't find anything but the "Evacuation of sand from the equine intestine with mineral oil, with and without psyllium," was published in the February 2008 Journal of Animal Physiology and Animal Nutrition. This was not an oral application, however.

I guess with the amounts that you are quoting, why are they giving the mineral oil anyway? Psyllium is going to be more effective for sand and if they are feeding it for "topcoat" reasons (coat, lubricant, etc), than it would be contra-indicated. I can't see a horse aspirating when oil is mixed with feed, just not sure what the purpose would be for daily use.

Sorry Natisha, you just asked the same thing.

#18 natisha

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Posted 11 April 2012 - 06:41 PM

Oof, I wasn't even close on my reasoning.

I did a quick search on my vet friendly site and can't find anything but the "Evacuation of sand from the equine intestine with mineral oil, with and without psyllium," was published in the February 2008 Journal of Animal Physiology and Animal Nutrition. This was not an oral application, however.

I guess with the amounts that you are quoting, why are they giving the mineral oil anyway? Psyllium is going to be more effective for sand and if they are feeding it for "topcoat" reasons (coat, lubricant, etc), than it would be contra-indicated. I can't see a horse aspirating when oil is mixed with feed, just not sure what the purpose would be for daily use.

Sorry Natisha, you just asked the same thing.

That's OK.
Maybe it's like the Quietex stuff. They think it works so it does.
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#19 Pi and Tofu

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Posted 11 April 2012 - 06:45 PM

I think I work, but that is questionable at best.

Mineral oil isn't cheap. If they are not dead yet, it probably won't kill them, but there may be another alternative depending on what they are trying to accomplish.

#20 KanoasDestiny

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Posted 11 April 2012 - 07:31 PM

I was told by my vet to give the horses mineral oil by mouth when they coliced. It is a very slow, scary, and messy experience. You have to position the syringe just so, so that it doesn't shoot down their throat. I have also fed them it on their grain when I fear they may be blocking up. A good squirt doesn't seem to bother them enough to not eat the grain, and I do notice it in their poop. I compare it to eating greasy hamburgers - you might not eat alot of it but it sure works it's way through you. I would never give oil on a daily basis because the oil coats the stomach and nutrients can't be absorbed.

I feed psyllium three times a week instead of for one week a month. I'm too afraid of what can happen during those other three weeks.




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