Colic in horses - What you need to know

Updated: Sep 24, 2020

Colic is the number one killer in horses. It can be severe or mild but in the end it is very scary to learn that your loving animal has colic. It kills fast, and can kill from 12-48 hours when your horse comes in terms with the disease! Be aware of these symptoms, as your horse may have come in tact with the deadliest disease of them all.


The cause of colic could be sand ingestion, gas, impaction, parasite infection, or grain overload. Any horse can have colic, no matter the age, size, or sex of the horse.


Symptoms of colic may be mild or severe, but if your horse shows any of these symptoms or if they are acting not like themselves call your vet immediately. Symptoms may or may not include restlessness or pawing at the ground, increased pulse, sweating, increased breath rate, stretching as if to urinate, trying to roll, rolling, kicking to the stomach. If your horse shows any of these signs immediately call your vet. They may not have it but be safe and react quickly, as colic is a fast killer and the next morning you might wake up to your horse lying dead on the ground.


Most times colic can be treated at your stable. The vet will give your horse a nasogastric tube to administer medications and alleviate gas. BUT if the vet suspects an impaction or a displacement that cant be treated on the farm she will have the horse go to the equine surgical hospital.


Displacement colic. This is when part of the horses intestine becomes caught or twisted in an abnormal position. It is normally treated with surgery. The cause is gas build up in the gut.

Impaction colic. This is when a buildup of grain intake blocks the colon of a horse. It typically occurs in winter and may be caused by increased grain feed, reduced water intake, lower quality forage, and less movement. Treatment is often fixed with medical treatment.

Gas colic. Gas colic is basically when extra gas in any part of the intestinal tract causes abdominal pain. This can be caused by gas buildup due to moldy feeds or big amounts of grain. Treatments are usually IV administration of an analgesic and hand walking.

Spasmodic colic. This is when the bowel is moving in an abnormal way causing painful spasms an an overactive gastronomical tract. The horse will usually be given anti- spasmodic drugs or other treatments.

Enteritis colic. This is caused by inflamed of the intestine and could be triggered by grain overload, bacteria, or tainted feed. Treatments usually include broad spectrum antibiotics, or anti inflammatory medicine.

Colic is very dangerous. Make sure to recognize any of these symptoms as your horse may have colic. Call your vet immediately if you suspect anything. Thank you for reading this post. xx The Desert Rider

17 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All