Does My Horse Have Colic
 By Winniefield Park   •   6th Jan 2014   •   2,568 views   •   0 comments
Does My Horse Have ColicI swear if I stare at a horse long enough, it will either become sick or lame. As I over-analyze every move, the nuance of a tail flick, a shortened stride, or a momentary odd way of standing, my mind races to the cause. Never mind that the tail flick means there was a biting fly, the shortened step was caused by a rock underfoot or the horse has just stretched and hadn't quite got back into 'normal' position. I see these things and decide, something must be WRONG! Very occasionally, I am right. For example, I found my daughter's Section A Welsh Pony lying down in the run-in shelter, shivering and not looking himself. What I was seeing was a colic symptom caused by stress. A huge new horse had just moved in, and the pony was scared — so scared that it got it's tummy in a knot and became quite colicky.

There are several types of colic including the pony's spasmodic colic but generally, if your horse has colic, you may see:

• Kicking at its belly with a back hoof and there're no bugs around
• Rolling, sometimes violently, and then getting up and standing still rather than shaking off the dust
• Restlessness, stall walking or pacing
• Sweating
• Shaking
• Bloated belly
• Diarrhea
• Standing stretched out
• Apathetic attitude
• No interest in food
• Reduced or no manure being produced
• Reduced or no gut sounds—those gurgles that you normally hear when you put your ear to your horse's belly
• Pawing—especially if it isn't dinner time, or the horse isn't otherwise impatient
• Nipping at its own flank

It's important to know your horse's normal TPRs—that's temperature, pulse and respiration. The tools to check these things, a rectal thermometer, stethoscope and some sort of timer, can all be purchased at either tack shops or a pharmacy. Any elevated TPRs can be an indication of colic—and the thermometer can also tell you if fever is a concern.

Related: Sand Colic
Related: How To Prevent Sand Colic
Related: Struggle And Defeat - Mohani's Story Comes To An End

It's important to remember that what we call colic is usually a symptom of something else. Lots of illnesses first appear as vague colic symptoms. You've probably read the articles about sand colic and impaction colic. Sometimes a change in the weather, environment, a cold drink of water, or change in feed can cause colic symptoms. I know of one mare that colicked every time a new foal was born in the barn. And like our pony, stress can cause colic symptoms. However, there are more serious problems that include bacterial and viral infections, telescoped, ruptured or twisted intestines, long term use of NSAIDS (bute), internal and external parasites, kidney problems, fat deposits around the intestines and poisoning that may start out looking like colic symptoms.

Related: One Sunday Morning - A Horse Colic Story

Many colics go away without much help from us. However, it is important to find the cause. It may be 'just stress' or in addition to other symptoms, you may determine that there is something more serious going on. With help from your veterinarian, your horse can be treated to make it more comfortable, and if necessary begin treatment for any other problems that may be causing the colic symptoms.
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