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 include:
- pawing the ground,
- looking around at the belly,
- lack of appetite,
- stamping the hind feet, and
- lying down.
With more severe, unrelenting pain, horses may:
- paw the ground violently
- appear drawn up or bloated in the belly,
- muscle tremors or straining,
- male horses may stretch out and relax their penis, without urinating,
- kick violently,
- sweat profusely,
- lie down and get up frequently,
- roll or lie on their backs,
- sit on haunches like a dog,
- have an elevated or below normal (with shock setting in) temperature,
- have an increased respiration rate,
- have an elevated heart rate, or
- have few or no gut sounds.
A horse showing severe signs of colic should be seen by a veterinarian immediately. If the signs of pain are acute and the cause of the distention is not removed, death often occurs within 12 to 48 hours. Rapid diagnosis and treatment are vital. In cases of mild pain, the veterinarian should be consulted as to the best course of action. Be sure to give the vet your horse’s symptoms when you call, put the horse in a comfortable stall and remove his feed and water. Allow the horse to lie down if he appears to be resting. If the horse wants to roll or is behaving violently, attempt to walk him slowly.