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What do I do if my horse has Colic?

Colic is a term referring to gut pain in a horse and can be mild or severe.

Some of the signs include:

  • Turning the head towards the flank
  • Pawing at the ground
  • Kicking at the abdomen
  • Rolling
  • Lying down then getting up again repeatedly
  • Sweating heavily
  • Off food
  • Trying to urinate frequently
  • Depression
  • Laboured breathing

Colic signs should NEVER be ignored because the condition can become life threatening very quickly. If you notice the signs of colic, always call the vet, even if mild. Sometimes when the horse tries to roll on the ground, the gut contents can twist, exacerbating the problem.

If you suspect colic in your horse, I suggest:

  1. Remove all food and water.
  2. Call your vet immediately.
  3. Keep the horse as calm and as comfortable as possible, and keep it on its feet.
  4. Attempt to walk the horse slowly.
  5. Do not give any medication unless instructed to do so by your vet, especially not PBZ, Bute satchets, Equipalazone, Penicillin, herbs, beer or tranquilisers.
  6. Note exactly what symptoms the horse is displaying and try to remember any feed changes, what the faeces have been like recently, how old the horse is, whether the mare is pregnant, and any medications given recently including the type and dose of worming preparations. Have this information ready for when the vet arrives.