Many horses will suffer from colic in their life time, and although the majority of colic may not be life threatening there are some which may go on to require surgery. It is not a disease as such but a description which indicates pain the belly of the horse.
- Pawing or scraping at the ground
- Turning the head to look at the abdomen (flank watching)
- Kicking or biting at the abdomen
- Stretching as though needs to urinate
- Dog sitting
- Lying on its back
- Inability to stand
- Rapid pulse and respiration rate
- Red discoloration of the mucous membranes round the gums and eyes
Causes of colic
There are many causes and it is often difficult to determine the exact cause. The horse’s digestive system can be upset by many things including change in diet, stabling, bedding, exercise level and general routine. Heavy worm burden, teeth problems and scrotal hernias can also predispose to colic.
If your horse is showing signs of colic
- Remove any feed or hay from the stable and monitor
- Walk them round if they are trying to roll
- Call the vet
- Don’t give any drugs including wormers unless instructed so by the vet
The vet will examine your horse and using this examination will then go on to determine the severity of the colic. If the colic is mild, then medical treatment will generally be advised. More severe colic may require referral for surgical treatment or more intensive medical management.