Horses with Colic
Colic in horses can mean various types and degrees of abdominal pain. Although horses have small stomachs, they have long and large intestines. Their intestinal structure makes them prone to colic under certain circumstances. Horse colic may be indirectly influenced by such a factor as variations in food quality, quantity and schedule.
There are various methods by which some horse colic types may be avoided. One way is to simply avoid the usual situations or conditions that may promote or trigger some colic types. Examples of things to avoid are insufficient water, too much grain in food, sandy food, lack of exercise, abrupt diet shifts and dirty water and feeding areas.
As mentioned, there are different types of horse colic to watch out for. Here are some of them:
- Gas Colic- Too much gas may be trapped in the intestine. This results in the uncomfortable and painful elongation of the intestine. This is among the easiest types to relieve once proper remedies are given.
- Displacement Colic- Because of the length and structure of a horse’s intestine, it could be pushed or moved onto a position that is not normally where it should be. This can cause painful horse colic that may need prompt surgical attention.
- Torsion Colic- This is related to displacement colic because it also happens due to the structure of the horse’s intestines. This is also known as twisted gut colic because a part of the intestine twists.
- Impaction Colic- This type of horse colic happens when food particles or other objects block a part of the intestine. The horse may have ingested a foreign object, ate food of the wrong kind or did not get enough water to drink.
- Spasmodic Colic- This is characterized by fast and forceful contractions of the intestine. This type may be due to abnormal intestinal flora or abrupt switches in feeding quality and schedule.
What You Should Do
Your vet should be the first person you run to when you find out that your horse has colic. This is especially true if it is your first time with dealing with horse colic. You may not know the exact type of colic your horse is suffering from. Your vet would therefore have to perform an accurate diagnosis before effective treatment can be administered.
If you have not received any instructions from your vet, avoid giving your horse anything. That includes water, food and medication. You may not be able to hold your horse off if it begins to move in a violent way due to pain. The best that you can do is to keep your horse away from dangerous stable tools and equipment. You might also want to keep some distance if you cannot keep your horse calm.
Colic Tip #1
Be Patient: Colic problems will lessen with age, so realize that things will get better in the future. In the mean time, try to stay calm, reassuring and loving. The best thing for your child is a well-rested parent.
Colic Tip #2
Feed Less But More Often: Whether breast feeding or bottle feeding, try feeding a baby with colic half as much as usual and twice as often. Little tummies can’t handle getting too much too fast and the breakdown of lactose can cause an increase in intestinal gas.
Colic Tip #3
Enlist Help: One if the best things you can do if you have a colicky baby is to give yourself a break and get away from it all. Get your spouse, parents, aunts, uncles or even a babysitter to lend a hand for a while so you can rest and recharge your batteries.