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
- Poor teeth
However, in some cases no specific cause can be found.
Signs of colic may include:
- Looking uncomfortable
- 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.