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The most common winter health hazard for horses
Just what is equine colic?
Equine colic, or horse colic, is abdominal pain i.e. pain in the ‘gut’.
Symptoms of colic
The symptoms of serious colic – you should call your vet immediately – are:
Mild colic symptoms include:
*the horse showing this symptom by pawing the ground with anxiety, kicking its belly or examining its flanks.
Why is colic so common? Why are horses predisposed to colic?
A horse’s intestine is long and can become tangled easily.
The digestive process involves the production of gas through fermentation, and gas can fill loops in the intestine which if then tangled causes a blockage.
Unlike humans the horse can’t vomit to rid itself of unsuitable material.
As a grazing animal a horse is used to a gentle, regular feeding pattern throughout the year, getting fat when suitable pasture is abundant, getting thin when it isn’t.
As a quick moving animal with lots of stamina a horse can travel long distances to find the necessary diet variety it needs to thrive.
Causes of colic
Lifestyle and Colic Risk
There is an increased risk of colic if you have a full time job, a hectic social round, a DIY stable environment and don’t have sufficient hired help to maintain a high level of care, especially during the winter.
There is also increased risk of colic if the grazing is overcrowded or available less than 8 hours a day, horse droppings rarely removed and lack of sufficient grazing compensated by various forms of feed concentrate; or If exercise is also limited during the week and concentrated on week-ends .
What to do if you think it is serious colic
Whilst waiting for your vet to arrive – or give initial advice over the phone – here are some tips:
Prevention of colic
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