October 13, 2008 | | Comments 0

Horse Colic

Symptom of Horse Colic - Excessive Rolling

Symptom of Horse Colic - Excessive Rolling

Horse Colic

Horse colic is one of those conditions that should really turn your red light signal on. This condition among horses is not some minor illness that can just resolve itself after some time. If not treated immediately, colic can kill. It is in fact the top cause of horse deaths.

What it is Colic

Colic is a wide and general term for abdominal pain. The high risk of horses and the danger that they face can best be understood when one considers the form and structure of a horse’s gut and intestines. Unlike humans, horses have large and long intestines. These could be moved or could fill with gas or foreign material in some sections. This in essence is the reason behind horse colic.

Causes of Colic in horses

Since colic is a broad condition, it can have several possible causes:

  • Gas can build up in the intestines. This could result in bloating and possibly even an increased rate of digestive contractions. Gas can enter the gut in many ways but the normal act of eating in a pasture can allow some gas to accumulate.
  • An obstruction which may be partial or full may be the reason behind colic. Food, sand, dirt, foreign objects, tumors and even worms may cause the obstruction.
  • Twisting and displacement of some parts of the intestine typically lead to a lot of abdominal pain. These may happen because of the long length of a horse’s intestines.
  • Poor and irregular food and water management may result in gut acidity. This in turn could lead to ruptures and ulcers.

Symptoms of Colic in Horses

The symptoms of colic vary from one horse to another. The symptoms will obviously depend on the type and intensity of the condition. In its milder form, colic may cause a horse to loose its appetite and to become weak and uninterested in its usual activities. It may stretch and keep on looking at its stomach and may paw the ground repeatedly.

Horses with more serious cases may become violent. They may try to hit their abdomen and paw more vigorously. They may sweat and breathe in an irregular manner. The most common symptom however is rolling and alternately lying down and getting up. If your horse does this, make sure it is in no danger or harming itself. Keep sharp or solid objects out of the way. If possible, lead your horse to a more open area where there is no danger of bumping onto anything.

Treatment of Colic in Horses

You shouldn’t attempt to treat colic on your own. You should call your veterinarian at the soonest possible time. While waiting, keep food, medication and water away from your horse as well as anything else it might accidentally ingest. If the condition is serious, the veterinarian may recommend surgery.

As a horse owner, your responsibility involves trying to prevent colic. You can do this by making sure that food and water supplies are always clean and provided through properly elevated troughs, trays or buckets. Feeding should be in a gentle, regular pace with roughage constituting majority of the diet. Worming and health checks should also be provided on a regular basis.

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Filed Under: Horse Health

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