Rustic Line

Colic Horse Treatment

Colic is one of the main causes of death in horses. Colic refers to pain in the abdomen. We use this term in horses to refer to any condition that causes abdominal pain. It is analogous to a stomach ache in humans.

There are many reasons why one might colic. In any case, colic is to be considered an emergency and your animal needs to see a veterinarian for evaluation. When colic is diagnosed early, it is many times more likely to have a positive outcome.

What Are the Signs of Colic?

  • Rolling on the ground
  • Acting restless
  • Pawing
  • Odd stretching
  • Distended abdomen


Causes of Colic

There are many reasons for colic, and the exact reason a horse has colic is often not known. Sometimes, a build-up of sand, dirt, feed, and other indigestible material can block normal digestion. Fermented gas can also build up and cause bloat.
The horse’s intestines can get twisted up, cutting off blood supply. When the intestines get twisted up, they can become blocked or torn. Parasites such as intestinal worms can build up and block the intestines.
There are many reasons a horse may have colic. The most important thing is that the cause is identified and treated quickly. Though many of the causes are simple and not life-threatening, many are deadly.


Levels of Colic

Mild – Easily treated with medicine and care.

Moderate – Often requires intense therapy and medical care.

Severe – Sometimes, surgery is the only option when it comes to colic. Since an abdominal surgery is very traumatic to the animal, we make every effort to avoid surgery when possible.


How Do You Treat Colic?

When a horse is colicing, research and experience have shown that the best non-surgical treatment is to provide the animal with copious amounts of fluids. Most veterinary clinics do not possess the amount of fluids a colic horse needs for treatment.

We believe it is necessary to have enough fluids available readily on hand for multiple horses.

Our clinic has developed a reputation because of the amount of fluids we keep on hand. So much so that we regularly get calls from other local veterinarians for supplies when they have a client with a colic horse.

The combination of IV fluids, medicines, and physical therapy often averts the necessity of surgical intervention.


How Do You Prevent Colic?

Though many of the causes for colic are simple and not life-threatening, many are deadly. To help prevent colic, we recommend the following best practices:

  • Be careful switching your horses feed. Their body gets used to the food they eat. If you switch it too fast the bacteria in their intestines are not able to adapt fast enough.
  • Feed good quality forage.
  • Don’t feed the horse on the ground. They can pick up sand and dirt easily that will build up in their gut and cause problems later on. Go the extra mile on this and feed them in a pan or tray of some sort.
  • Make sure horses always have access to water. Both the outside and inside of the intestines need to stay very lubricated and water is the main component in natures lubricant.
  • Keep their water source looking, smelling, and tasting clean so they drink all they want. Nobody wants to drink from something that looks like toilette water.
  • Establish a good parasite prevention program.
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