Types of colic in horses

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The colic it is one of the most frequent and, unfortunately, the most serious pathologies in horses. When the term colic is used, it is referring to a pathology that affects the intestine of any species including man. In a general and broad way, it is defined as a painful access, located in the intestines and is characterized by violent cramps, pain, sweats, etc. In the horse it manifests as a acute abdominal pain and depression, being a true emergency situation, so it is necessary to urgently notify the veterinarian and explain the situation.

In this AnimalWised article we are going to detail both the causes and the symptoms of colic in horses, as well as the different types of colic what is there and the treatment to cure them.

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  1. What is the origin of colic?
  2. What types of colic in horses can occur?
  3. Symptoms of colic in horses
  4. How is colic treated in horses?

What is the origin of colic?

Colic is a syndrome that can have multiple origins, which is why it is technically said to be of multifactorial etiology. However, indistinctly there is a common denominator in the origin of colic in horses, which are inadequate care for the horse.

What types of colic in horses can occur?

You can see different types of colic in horses, among which stand out:

  • Flatulent colic. It occurs due to the large accumulation of gases by bacterial fermentation in the intestine. It results in a great distention of the gastric and abdominal wall. The animal usually suffers great acute pain and it is usually given before high intakes and without feed control.
  • Obstructive colic. This type of colic is usually due to an obstruction in some part of the digestive system, especially in natural narrowing. It is due to the ingestion of poor quality straw and little digestible by the animal, or to the ingestion of foreign materials, such as wood.
  • Spasmodic colic. It is mainly caused by the ingestion of cold water or due to infectious processes that occur with diarrhea.
  • Ischemic colic. It usually occurs due to the decrease in blood flow in the abdominal wall caused by parasites, the most frequent are strongyles.

Symptoms of colic in horses

Depending on the type of colic, will prevail more some symptoms than anotheryes, although it is difficult to know the type of colic from the symptoms observed.

In the case of flatulent colic, the heart rate is between 70 and 90 beats per minute (when the normal values ​​in a healthy horse are between 28 and 40), the animal does not want to stand, an absence of sound is observed in the guts and profuse sweating. In obstructive colic, a colic more severe than the previous one, the heart rate is higher, the horse stops defecating and the flank is looked at. While in the case of spasmodic colic, the horse's gut rings, it scratches, it looks at the flank intermittently and the heart rate is between 40 and 65. Finally, in ischemic colic, the heart rate can become very high and reach up to 150 beats per minute, the horse sweats profusely, there is depression and may go into shock.

Once the symptoms of colic in horses have been detailed, we see how to identify if it can suffer from this condition or not we should pay attention to the heart rate of the animal and observe if it presents difficulty when defecating, depression, etc. In the end, it will be the veterinarian who determines what type of colic he has and what his treatment should be.

How is colic treated in horses?

Of course, the best treatment for colic in horses is that it never occurs or that the probability of suffering it is minimized. For prevent colic in horses, it is recommended:

  • Caring for horses' mouths by filing teeth (always done by a veterinarian).
  • Provide the animal with clean and warm water.
  • Manage good quality forages.
  • Have a eating routine.
  • In animals that are loose in areas with sand, give them a special gel orally on a regular basis, so that they expel the sand that they have been able to eat.
  • Deworm the animal regularly (under veterinary supervision) and follow the vaccination plan.
  • Keep a clean bed.
  • Reduce the stress of the animal.
  • Move the horse daily.

In the case of suspecting that the animal is suffering from colic, it is necessary notify the vet immediately and follow the advice it provides. However, it is always recommended to implement the following measures:

  • Remove food from the horse and make water available.
  • If the horse has fallen down, try to lift it. A good advice is to move it but without tiring it.
  • Any other recommendations made by the vet.

The curative treatment of colic depends on the cause that produces it. Only 10% of colic require surgery, so the treatment for colic in horses general that the veterinarian performs is usually:

  • Nasogastric catheterization. It reduces the tension of the stomach, as it allows the gases formed there to evacuate and a stomach lavage is performed.
  • Rectal palpation. The veterinarian introduces the arm through the anus and rectum of the animal and cleans the last portion of the intestine.

This article is merely informative, at AnimalWised.com we do not have the power to prescribe veterinary treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the vet in the event that it presents any type of condition or discomfort.

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