If you have horses, then I’m sure you’ve either had an issue with colic or heard of the distress and panic colic can cause. This article will cover some basics, including the signs of colic, predisposing factors and safety.
If your horse is colicking call a vet immediately. Colic is often an emergency, and the sooner veterinary advice is sought, the greater the chance of survival with full recovery. Colic is said to be the biggest single killer of horses.
What is colic?
The term ‘colic’ simply refers to abdominal pain. Therefore, it is better referred to as a clinical sign rather than a diagnosis. There is a multitude of gastrointestinal issues or other pain issues which may present as colic signs.
Colic cases are determined by a vet to be either medical or surgical. On average, 93-95% of colic cases are considered medical, while only 5-7% are considered surgical. Vets have a number of tools and diagnostics to aid them in determining whether colic is medical or surgical and the best course of treatment for the colic.
What are the clinical signs of colic?
Clinical signs may range in severity depending on the level of pain but may include:
While there are factors that may predispose a horse to colicking, often colic will occur sporadically.
What causes colic?
Colic can be caused by a range of factors including:
Often colic arises without any known cause.
Minimising your horse’s risk
It is difficult to prevent all the causes of colic, although there are a few steps you can take to minimise the risk:
Your safety is paramount. When in pain, the horse’s behaviour will be different to normal.