Colic is a common problem in horses that causes abdominal distress. Horses are prone to colic by their very natures. It is frequently unpreventable because it occurs without warning. Even seemingly mild cases of colic should be taken seriously due to the risk of complications.
One of the first things you should do if your horse gets colic is call a veterinarian. If you have Horse medical insurance, it covers you in situations such as these. The veterinarian may recommend that you bring the animal into the veterinary hospital, or he or she may make a house call. Before calling the vet, or while waiting for him or her to arrive, here are some things you can do to help your horse.
- Observe Symptoms
Before you call the vet, you should be able to describe your horse’s symptoms. Therefore, observe the animal for a bit to see if it exhibits signs of colic such as changes in eating or drinking behavior, lying down, rolling, looking at its side or kicking or biting at its belly.
- Take Your Horse’s Vital Signs
Some cases of colic resolve without treatment. However, you should call the vet if your horse’s vital signs are not normal. Vital signs include temperature, pulse, and respiration rate. Be sure you check the vitals against the normal equine values.
- Walk Your Horse
Walking offers several benefits for a horse with colic. It helps keep the animal from rolling, which could otherwise do it injury. It helps to promote motility of the intestines, which can help resolve the condition. It also helps to relieve the pain. A mild case of colic may resolve itself with walking alone.
Observe your horse while you are walking it and see if it seems to be helping or causing more pain. In the latter case, stop and consult your veterinarian. Symptoms of colic may mimic those of other conditions, such as laminitis or pleuritis. Walking will not help these conditions and could make them worse. When in doubt, ask your vet for advice and follow his or her recommendation.
- Restrict Access to Feed
Colic is an issue affecting your horse’s gastrointestinal tract. Feeding the horse can compound the problem. Restricting access to feed may not resolve the issue but it will help keep it from becoming worse.
- Keep Yourself Safe
A horse is a large powerful animal that could do you harm without meaning to. Stay clear if your horse is thrashing around uncontrollably. Skip the other steps and call your vet for guidance.