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Colic is one of the most dangerous and costly equine medical problems. Colic is a general term, which indicates abdominal pain, which is usually from pain in the digestive tract. The small intestine alone is approximately 50- 60 feet long in an average size horse. Equine Colic can originate from the stomach, the small intestine or the large intestine. Any problem arising from displacement, twisting, swelling, infection, or lesion of any part of this complex body system can present itself as colic. Many situations can become life threatening in a short period of time.


Signs of Colic will vary according to the severity of the particular conditions. In the horse, abdominal pain is usually sudden. Very few horses exhibit all the signs at one time. Signs associated with mild to moderate pain can include:


  • pawing the ground,
  • sweating
  • looking around at the belly,
  • restlessness,
  • lack of appetite,
  • stamping the hind feet
  • lying down.


With more severe, unrelenting pain, horses may:


  • paw the ground violently
  • appear bloated,
  • muscle tremors or straining,
  • kick violently,
  • sweat profusely,
  • lie down and get up frequently,
  • roll or lie on their backs,
  • have an elevated or below normal  ( with shock setting in ) temperature,
  • have an increased respiration rate,
  • have an elevated heart rate
  • have few or no gut sounds.


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