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Type of Animal

Colic in Horses

What is Colic in horses? 

Colic is not a disease as such, but rather a name for digestive tract disorders in a horse, causing symptoms of pain and discomfort.  It can range from mild to severe; resolve by its self or quickly become life threatening.

What causes Colic?

Colic is caused by anything that will upset the digestive system and disrupt the intestinal flora. But some of the common causes are: over feeding, irregular feeding times, sudden change of feed, mouldy feed, parasite infestations, eating indigestible things and sometimes a twisted gut.

What are the signs?

In mild cases, it can be restlessness, turning the head to look at the abdomen (flank watching), kicking or biting the abdomen. Pawing at the ground and stretching the body.

In more severe cases your horse may sit on it hind legs similar to a dog, be sweating, rolling, lying on its back or unable to stand up. The respiration and pulse may be increased.

What can you do to help?

  • Remove all feed, but not water.
  • Monitor you horse closely, taking pulse, temperature and respiration readings every 30 minutes if possible, keep a record of these.

Pulse – normal 28-44 beats per minute

Temperature – normal 37.2 to 38.3oC

Respiration – normal is 10-24 breaths per minute

  • If possible get your horse up and moving, for 5 minutes every half an hour would be good, a slow walk.
  • If mild, allow your horse to sit and rest.

How to prevent it.

  • Always have clean fresh water
  • Always make changes to the diet gradually over several weeks
  • Feed often and little to avoid overloading the digestive system
  • Do regular worming
  • Do regular dental checks
  • Create routines with paddock management and feeding
  • Regular exercise
  • Reduce stress:- overloading of paddocks, manage stressful situations

Remedies in the Natural Pet range that can help to support the normal immune response of your horse that is suffering from Colic are:

Digest – for colic and digestive complaints

Flighty – if the horse is becoming very stressed

Liver Tonic – to support the liver and the immune system

We also offer a full consultation service, where we can develop a treatment plan individualised for your horse.  If this is of interest please email or phone.

Colic in Horses

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