The term 'colic' simply refers to a set of behavioural signs that are suggestive of abdominal pain and discomfort. There are many different causes of this pain, ranging from mild to severe and fatal. It is important to seek veterinary attention as soon as you notice symptoms to give us the best chance of preventing deterioration.

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  • Depression
  • Inappetance
  • Looking at abdomen
  • Pawing and restlessness
  • Lying down
  • Rolling
  • Frequent urination
  • Not passing faeces
  • Repeatedly curling the upper lip
Standards of Care

As a first opinion private veterinary clinic when we arrive at a colic we are focused on determining if it is a colic that can be treated medically or one that requires surgery. This decision is based on parameters including
  • Heart rate
  • Temperature
  • Presence or absence of gut sounds
  • Rectal examination findings
  • Abdominocentesis findings
  • Amount of material, if any, refluxed using a stomach tube
  • Response to pain relief
Medical therapy can include
  • Pain relief
  • Antibiotic therapy
  • Fluid therapy – can require intense fluid therapy and may require hospitalisation
  • Sedation
In the case of surgical cases we suggest referral to a specialist centre. The sooner surgical treatment is sought, the better the prognosis.

Prevention of colic

Whilst it is almost inevitable that horse owners will have to deal with colic occasionally, the following management principles can be followed to reduce the chance of it occurring
  • Continuous supply of clean water
  • Avoid abrupt changes in feed
  • Keep on top of your horses worming schedule
  • Keep a consistent diet – at least 60% being hay/roughage
  • Continued dental care 

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