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This is a discussion on Colic within the Horse Health forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Horses category

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    01-16-2007, 07:39 PM

I have heard different signs for colic. Everyone has different oppinions. So what are the signs that horses show the most.
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    01-16-2007, 09:44 PM
Horses will roll, Kick or bite at there stomach, and when you try to hear for gut sounds there are none......Thats what happens mostly here....

To treat it call the vet and walk the horse around...DO NOT LET THE HORSE ROLL.
    01-17-2007, 12:59 PM
Those are some more severe signs of colic. Before you see those signs, you might notice that your horse seems agitated - tail swishing, walking uncomfortably or simply lying down at an unusual time of day. The horse might pin his ears as you approach or just act "not right". That's why it's so important to know our horses really well. I keep a bottle of injectable Banamine around for occasions such as this.
    01-17-2007, 02:26 PM
Tail Swishing and acting Not Right can be signs of anything....

I would not treat a horse for the wrong thing before your positive of what it is.
    01-22-2007, 02:52 PM
Very true. But seeing those signs will alert owners so they can watch more carefully and hopefully act sooner than if they wait for more obvious signs. I'm certainly not saying that an owner should run out with an injection with Banamine as soon as they see an odd tail swish. I'm saying that those can be some of the less obvious signs that owners might notice before the more obvious ones if they know their horses really well. By the time some horses show the later signs it can bee too late already. I've seen too many horses have to be put down because their owners couldn't afford the colic curgery that ended up being necessary because the owners didn't realize soon enough that something was wrong.
    01-22-2007, 04:45 PM
At the horse barn I work at, one of the horses is almost always stretching and lying down and biting at her stomach. But she is mainly looking like she is stretching. Is that one of the signs?
    01-22-2007, 04:59 PM
Do keep in mind, that the word Colic means "a pain in the gut". There are many different kinds of colic that a horse can develop.. the most common being:

Impaction Colic: This is when there is something actually stuck in the gastrointestinal system. Usually a big block of food that wont progress any further down the track. This causes food to back up in the system. This is typically a "call your vet" situation. Put your ear to the horse's belly.. if you don't hear any bubbling or moving around after a few minutes.. this is probably the type of colic you are dealing with.

Gas Colic: When the horse gets very bad gas, sometimes from a mixture of food they have eaten (lots of grain and lots of water on a very hot day will actually make "beer" in your horse! It firments and gets really bubbly.. my App had this happen this summer), or the amount of food and water they have followed by extreme excersize. This can be handled with the correct treatment and sometimes does not involve a vet coming out (though its better to be safe than sorry!) Put your ear to the horse's belly.. if you hear a lot of gurgling and bubbling, then that is probably what it is.

Twisted Gut: This is the worst possible type of colic.. from my experience, this typically results from a horse with the other types of colic that goes ignored and is left to its own devices. Rolling. When a horse has a stomach cramp, they can't hold a warm rag over it or treat it.. they roll around hoping that they can work the cramp out. This is when bowels get twisted. Only a vet can tel you if your horse has twisted its gut.. and this needs surgery or else the horse will need to be put down =/

As barnrat said, if you see signs of colic, walk your horse CONSTANTLY until the signs have been completely gone for about a half an hour. Do NOT let them roll or lay down. Walking them out will help stretch their muscles and body a little bit, helping them better get rid of the gas and hopefully unblock the impaction.. if nothing else, this will help ensure your horse wont twist its gut. And as savethepitbulls said, Sometimes you can catch colic early on when you see your horse acting odd or not eating right. Usually those signs can mean a large array of things, but some people know their horse -very- well, and will notice the change in behavior, and go in to investigate whats wrong. =)

Rockymountain, does this mare have any foot or leg problems? If she is constantly stretched and laying down, it sounds to me like her feet are really hurting her. Horses stretch waaaay out to distribute their weight off of their soles and onto their toes/heels in a way to avoid the pain from their own weight. If it was colic, she would have been in oodles of trouble by now :) Colic is not a chronic illness =) It comes, does its thing, and gets treated and leaves =)
    01-22-2007, 05:20 PM
    01-22-2007, 05:30 PM
Thanks for adding that Anni! There are soooohohohohohoo many different types of Colic! That water one is very important!
    01-22-2007, 07:46 PM
Where we live (this applys to you rockymountin)

(rockymountin lives near me....) Horses usually get Sand colic, this is from eating there hay and what not and sand will actually get into there gut...

I am sure that the person you are working for will be able to notice colic right away.

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