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Colic

Some helpful information

Colic is a word that every horse owner dreads. Colic is not a disease but is a word used to describe signs that indicate pain in the abdomen in the horse. Unfortunately, most horses will suffer from Colic at some point and it is essential for you to know how to identify the symptoms and what to do next.

Although the majority of Colic cases resolve with minimal help, getting veterinary attention at the right moment can mean the difference between life and death for your horse.

Identifying Colic

Signs of mild Colic:

  • Pawing or scraping the ground.
  • Kicking or biting at the abdomen.
  • Stretching out as if needing to urinate.
  • Restlessness - getting up and down frequently.
  • Turning the head to look at the abdomen ('flank watching').

If the bout of Colic progresses, the symptoms your horse shows will worsen.

Signs of severe Colic:

  • Sweating.
  • Rolling.
  • Lying on its back.
  • Inability to stand.
  • Sitting down like a dog.
  • Red colouration of gums and eyes.
  • Rapid respiration rate (sometimes with flared nostrils; normal rate = 8-20 breaths per minute).
  • Elevated pulse rate (more than 52 beats per minute).

 

Causes

There are many possible causes of Colic and often it is impossible to determine the exact cause. Surprisingly, the anatomy of the horse's digestive system (gut) is rather poorly designed for its job and therefore Colic is quite a common problem. It can be brought on by changes in management such as:

  • Change in diet.
  • Changes in stabling and/or bedding.
  • Change in exercise level.

Certain physical conditions can predispose horses to Colic, for example, a heavy intestinal worm burden or teeth problems.

What To Do

While some cases resolve with simple care and management by the owner, others require veterinary attention and possibly surgery. Unfortunately, a small number of horses with Colic do not recover. The success of surgical treatment is heavily dependent on the length of time between the first signs of Colic and veterinary intervention. Any unnecessary delay will greatly reduce the chances of recovery. It is therefore essential to recognise when veterinary attention is needed.

If in doubt, Call the Vet!

Practice information

Chobham

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    9:00am - 6:30pm
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    9:00am - 6:30pm
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    9:00am - 1:00pm
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Cedar Cottage, 2 Brimshot Lane, Chobham, Surrey, GU24 8RN
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01276 857789

Lightwater

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    9:00am - 6:00pm
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    9:00am - 6:00pm
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    9:00am - 6:00pm
  • Thu
    9:00am - 6:00pm
  • Fri
    9:00am - 6:00pm
  • Sat
    9:00am - 1:00pm
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01276 857789
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149 Guildford Road, Lightwater, Surrey, GU18 5RA
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Chertsey

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    9:00am - 6:00pm
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    9:00am - 4:30pm
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    9:00am - 6:00pm
  • Fri
    9:00am - 6:00pm
  • Sat
    9:00am - 1:00pm
  • Sun
    Closed

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01276 857789
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6 London Street, Chertsey, Surrey, KT16 8AA
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01276 857789