Colic is a term used to describe different types of abdominal distress. In terms of colic in horses, symptoms such as uneasiness, fever, aimless movements, repetitive walking around, rolling about, or kicking out can range from mild to life threatening. Causes of colic can be attributed to gas, stomach spasms, twisted intestines, distension of the gastric tract, a change in feed, and stress. The most important thing when treating colic in horses is to act quickly.
Treatment of Colic in Horses
There are several points to remember regarding the treatment of colic in horses. These include:
• Never let a colicky horse roll about and lie down, as a twist in the intestine could be further aggravated. Make the horse stands no matter what it takes.
• Treat a horse with colic with utmost caution. He is in a lot pain and might harm you accidentally.
• Call the vet immediately and take note of your horse’s vital signs and any symptoms present, so that an accurate diagnosis can be made as swiftly as possible.
• Keep all food and water away from your horse until the vet arrives.
• Never administer any medication without consulting your vet. Enemas are useless in such situations. Your vet will be able to administer the proper painkillers or muscle relaxant if required. Laxatives such as mineral oil may be needed in some cases.
• In severe cases where the intestine may be twisted, surgery is the best option.
Ways to Prevent Colic in Horses
Colic is a natural killer of horses and nearly ten percent of all horses die from the condition. In order to prevent colic in horses you can:
• Ensure that your horse has a regular exercise and feeding regime.
• Avoid keeping your horse in his stall for a most of the day. Simply turning him out into a pasture or field to graze can help keep him active.
• Feed your horse the best quality hay and horse feed. Experts recommend an ideal diet for horses that consists of grass and hay and horse feed containing up to ten percent protein.
• Provide him with clean fresh water.
• De-worm your horse regularly.
• Make any changes in feed very gradually. Frequent or sudden changes in your horse’s diet can make him prone to colic.
• Feed smaller portions several times a day. Horses are foraging animals and require constant small mouthfuls throughout the day.
• Do not overcrowd your horses in small stables or stalls. This seems to aggravate colic in the animals.
Colic can be a costly disease not to mention a potentially deadly condition as well. As a responsible owner of horses, you should educate yourself about the symptoms and signs of colic and take the necessary steps to prevent it from occurring.