- Posted by Danny Borders
- On March 16, 2015
Colic is a catch-all name for a variety of medical conditions involving discomfort or pain in the horse’s abdomen. If your horse is experiencing colic, he or she may try to lie down, roll or may not want to eat or drink. As a precaution, take food away if you suspect a colic.
Other symptoms can include:
Sweating Baleful look – obvious distress
Uneasiness or nervousness
Lack of gut sounds
Stretching or kicking at abdomen
High pulse or respiration rate
There is a long list of reasons for colicy behavior. Some known causes are:
Impaction – a blockage that could be caused by sand, dirt, feed or other material the horse has ingested.
Dilation – gas or fluid buildup that causes pressure in the gastrointestinal tract and creates discomfort for the horse.
Enteritis – intestinal inflammation typically caused by infection, often a virus or bacteria.
Volvulus or torsion – commonly called a twist, this can occur in the small intestine or colon and may cut off the blood supply causing healthy tissue to die.
Intususception – the intestine slides like a telescope into itself and can cut off blood supply andcause a blockage.
Rupture – happens when the pressure becomes too great for the GI tract to accommodate. May bea consequence of any of the above. Fatal.
Because colic requires an examination to determine the cause and treatment, it’s best to call your veterinarian as soon as possible.
Ways to Minimize Risk of Colic
It’s impossible to fully prevent colic but there are ways to minimize your horse’s risk. Horses tend to do best on a routine. Abrupt changes in feed type or timing can greatly increase the risk of colic.
Here are some general guidelines to caring for your horse that can you help manage risk.
Provide a consistent diet made up of mostly hay or access to pasture. (access to pasture should be limited in spring when grass is young and sugar levels are inconsistent due to fluctuating ambient temperatures and increasing hours of light).
Feed clean, high quality grass hay or alfalfa
Feed your horse on a regular schedule
Try to avoid feeding directly off the ground to minimize ingestion of dirt or sand.
Use a psylium product on directions from your veterinarian if you suspect your horse is ingesting sand or dirt with its hay.
Ensure your horse always has access to clean water. In winter, use a heater or other means to prevent water from freezing.
Deworm your horse on a regular schedule.
Give us a call today 208-989-0359. We are your partners in horse health and want you and your horse health happy!