The 1st article is states colic refers to abdominal pain most often originating from the digestive tract.
The 2nd article contradicts itself: first it states “colic” officially refers to any type of abdominal pain
Then it states other problems such as bladder stones and tying up may occasionally mimic gut pain and look like colic
implying that if it's not "gut" pain, it's not colic. So, it's not surprising then that I've had this information from other sources as well. However, the article also says it refers to major types of colic -- but every reference to colic in it, is digestive/intestinal based. What my guy had was trauma to his spleen, which, by the 2nd definition would not be colic and walking was not helpful whatsoever; actually would have increased his shock and killed him sooner. So I'm glad I went by my own gut instinct and stopped walking him, gave water, (both contra-first aid for gastro-colic, right?), triple blanketed (water and blanket to treat for shock) and awaited my vet.
So, how as a lay person, do we determine the best first aid? Tough, isn't it? I was lucky that I chose the right thing I think. It'd didn't save him, nothing would have, but I did no harm.
Seems to me, we use the term equine colic just as freely as we use baby colic. If they're upset and we don't know why, it must be colic. Never liked that when I had my babies and not happy with it for my horses.
As for the rolling -- this is what really throws me more than anything -- isn't the horse trying to massage the gut by rolling? I know if *I* have a sore stomach, sometimes that's what I do, but human anatomy being what it is, that may not be comparable. Horses roll all the time, so why is it considered detrimental during gastro-colic, but not any other time? If it'll twist, it'll twist, no? Or is this purely preventative for "colic" situs resulting in blockage where the intestine is perhaps stiff at one location, but overly flaccid at another due to nothing being in the intestine after the blockage?
(edited to correct spelling)[/quote]
The articles aren't contradicting, it's more in how you read--the inflection you place on the words. Colic is any kind of pain origiinating in the abdomen. As you stated, it's a term with a very broad range of meanings because we it has been used so long--it's really just a descriptor of symptoms and not a diagnosis of the actual problem. Horses can present with the same symptoms
for pain caused by impaction, torsion, strangulation, intra-abdominal bleeding, abdominal pain stemming from laminitis or pain anywhere else in the body, etc etc.
" other problems such as bladder stones and tying up may occasionally mimic gut pain and look like colic
" rather than implying that these other problems are not colic, it means that these other problems can present with abdominal pain --thus signs that could lead you to suspect an impaction, etc when they are not related to the GI tract itself.
No, walking and giving water are not "contra-first aid" for a gastro colic. When a horse presents signs of colic, you should not allow intake of ANY food but water should be made available because dehydration will make any colic worse. And walking isn't necessary for any colic--it doesn't fix anything--what it does is keep the horse from getting down and thrashing around and hurting itself. It may also aid in getting the gut moving again, but it's not a necessary part of colic first aid.
The whole rolling issue is sorta a grey area. With certain types of colic it may be more likely for the gut to twist (say with a gas colic), but rolling won't necessarily cause it. And a horse rolls just because he is in pain and has no idea how to fix it, so he tries this position and that position, etc.
How to choose first aid is a complicated question. The very first thing to do is to check your horse's vitals and call your vet. Even a horse that doesn't appear to be terribly painful may be--that whole prey animal mentality of "showing weakness makes you a bigger target". But heart rate, respiratory rate, gume color and capillary refill time will still be indicative of how serious the issue is, so your vet can use these to assess whether you might want to just watch him for a while or get your rear to the vet's right away. And having a profressional opinion right off the bat is important because in a serious case of GI colic even 20 minutes can mean the difference between life and death. Most people instead give a dose of banamine and think that they are doing something to "fix" the problem....they aren't. Giving banamine for a colic of unknown cause is like giving advil after you fall and hurt your leg--it may make the pain better for a while, but you don't know if there is a fracture that needs more medical attention. You just cover the signs without doing anythying for the cause of the problem.[/b]