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Colic in your horse

What is colic? 

Colic indicates a painful problem in your horse’s abdomen. Because colic is often unpredictable and frequently unpreventable, it’s a common concern for horse owners. Horses are naturally prone to colic. Fortunately, over 80 percent of colic types respond well to treatment on the farm.

Signs of colic in your horse

  • Frequently looking at their side.
  • Biting or kicking their flank or belly.
  • Lying down and/or rolling.
  • Little or no passing of manure.
  • Fecal balls smaller than usual.
  • Passing dry or mucus (slime)-covered manure.
  • Poor eating behavior, may not eat all their grain or hay.
  • Change in drinking behavior.
  • Heart rate over 45 to 50 beats per minute.
  • Tacky gums.
  • Long capillary refill time.
  • Off-colored mucous membranes.

Caring for the colicky horse

Because colic is often unpredictable and frequently unpreventable, it’s a common concern for horse owners.

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Erin Malone, doctor of veterinary medicine

Reviewed in 2018

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