Colic is a general term used to describe any abdominal pain. 10% of all horses will have an episode of colic in their lives – some may suffer several episodes. Colic can be extremely serious and may be fatal in some cases, although other cases can be easily resolved.

Colic can have a number of different causes including:

  • Altered diet/management
  • Change in environment/weather
  • Stress
  • Worms
  • Poor teeth

However, in some cases no specific cause can be found.

Signs of colic may include:

  • Looking uncomfortable
  • Restless
  • Lying down frequently
  • Patchy sweating
  • Not eating
  • Increased heart rate and respiratory rate
  • Violently rolling

If you suspect your horse might have colic, it is important to phone the vet as soon as possible to arrange a visit. Whilst waiting for the vet try to keep the horse calm, and remove hay and feed from the stable if it is safe to do so – remember that horses with colic can be violent, and do not put yourself in danger. If possible, note if the horse has passed faeces, and if so do they have a normal consistency and appearance.

Download our information sheet on Colic