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Tuesday, 8 August 2017

How To Act When Your Horse Has Colic!

What Is Colic?

Colic in horses is simply abdominal pain.  It is caused by up to 70 different reasons and illnesses.  These problems are all intestinal and cause problems in the gastrointestinal tract which is when colic occurs.  Colic can cause anywhere from mild to severe symptoms and can be fatal.   
Colic causes a range of problems including simple thing such as gas accumulation or gut spasms.  It can however become a lot worse if not treated immediately as the horse becomes very uncomfortable and can get secondary damage such as an impact in the gut (gut is blocked by food) or extra damage from the horse rolling when he tries to relieve the pain.   
It must be noted that if your horse has a condition that may cause colic it is extremely important that the horse is checked frequently for signs of colic. 

There are lots of types of colic some of which are as follows. 

  • Stomach Distention – Distension from a large amount of hard feed ingested on one meal. 
  • Displacement Colic – A Twist in the small intestine.  
  • Impaction Colic – Feed or a foreign object blocks the intestine.   
  • Gas Colic – Gas build up in the stomach and/or intestines.   
  • Spasmodic Colic – Painful contractions in the muscle in the Intestine (like Indigestion for humans) 
  • Enteritis Colic – Inflammation in the intestines due to bacteria, too much grain or out of date feed.  

What are the Symptoms of Colic in Horses?

There are LOTS of symptoms of colic as it is one of the easiest illnesses to find in horses if you know what you are looking for.  Here are just a few symptoms for colic. 

  • Loss of appetite  
  • Pawing the ground  
  • Heart rate greater than 48 BPM 
  • Bloated stomach  
  • Looking at his side or stomach  
  • Depression or looking dull  
  • Kicking his own stomach  
  • Rolling  
  • Fever greater than 101.5  
  • Sweating  
  • Muscles trembling  
  • Standing at the back of the stall 
  • Diarrhoea  
  • Grinding his teeth  
  • Dipping the back  
  • Swollen tongue  
  • Curled lips  
  • Standing strangely  
  • Wanting to walk constantly  
  • No gut sounds  
  • Lying down and getting back up  
  • Getting into the position to urinate often  

How is colic treated in horses?

If your horse has any of the symptoms above called the vet as soon as possible as colic can be life threatening.  While you wait for him to arrive there are some step you should take to ensure your horse doesn't get worse.   
Check all vital signs and take food away in case of a blockage.  If the horse is rolling then walk the horse in hand until the vet arrives.  If he is not rolling then let him rest.   
Most horses will be treated with some medicine and a stomach tube.  The stomach tube will be put through the mouth and down to the stomach to relieve gas.  The horse will get a pain killer to stop the pain of the stomach.  A small number of horses will need surgery to be treated.  This is most likely impact colic which will block the intestine and the horse will usually not drink or eat until the blockage is gone.   


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