- Types of Colic in horses, causes, symptoms & treatment
Colic is the general term for pain in the horse's
There are several types of equine colic with
The severity of cases of colic can range from mild to potentially
fatal. It is a common cause of death in horses and ponies.
In the early stages of equine colic in a horse
or pony it can be difficult to tell how serious the episode may
It is very important to treat any case of colic
as potentially serious - Call your vet straight away if your horse
is suffering from abdominal pain.
- Impaction, blockage or stoppage
- This type of colic is caused by food blocking the alimentary
canal. It can sometimes occur following a worming dose as the
expelled worm bodies block the gut.
- Flatulent / Gas / Tympanic colic
- Flatulent colic is caused by gas being created faster than
it can be absorbed or passed out. It is natural for gas to be
created during digestion, but if it is trapped it can disetnd
the gut wall and cause abdominal pain.
- Spasmodic colic
- Spasmodic colic is caused by an irritated gut wall becoming
overactive and causing spasms. The vet can can use drugs to
relax the horse and reduce spasms.
- Artery blockage
- A thrombosis caused by worms, such as redworms
. Without its blood supply the section of gut involved dies
unless an alternative route develops in time
- Twisted Gut / Intestinal Catastrophe
- Probably the most serious form of equine colic - a twisted
gut causes intense abdominal pain. The intestines twist or become
twisted around the tissue that attaches them to the walls of
the abdominal cavity. This will cause violent colic symptoms.
The blood flow in the intestine becomes obstructed.
- A serious form of equine colic due to inflammation of the
small or large intestines.
- Sand colic
- Suffered by horses that have been eating sand or grazing on
All or any of the following are symptoms of colic:
- The horse appears to be in pain, kicks at it belly and paws
- The horse is lying down and may stretch out and groan.
- Gets up and down and frequently rolls.
- Stamping of feet.
- Breaking out in a cold patch sweat.
- Breathing hurried and blowing.
- Bowel movements slow down or stop.
- Raised temperature.
- The horse may repeatedly look at his flank
- Standing in a stretched out posture as if trying to pass urine
Treatment of a horse with colic / how to care
for a horse with colic
If out in the field the horse should be brought into the stable,
and the vet called.
Do not feed a horse with colic, but a little water may
Keep the horse warm.
Don't attempt to administer any colic drugs
to your horse without consulting your vet.
The horse or pony should be
prevented from rolling.
Although you should not allow your horse to roll when he has
colic - DO NOT walk him around for hours. This
will only tire him, cause him pain and discomfort and make recovery
harder,especially if he eventually requires surgery.
When the vet arrives he may use drugs to relieve pain, relax
the horse and ease spasms. He may also administer
a saline solution.
Immediate surgery is required in the case of
a twisted gut.