Colic is a term used to describe abdominal pain in horses. Unfortunately, colic is the most common cause of death in horses, however, if noticed quickly most cases are only mild. Due to the nature of colic being quite a wide term, there are numerous causes for the different types of colic. Common causes linked directly to nutrition include starch overload feed overload, and causes linked to feed quality – these include poor quality or mouldy hay/forage.

Some cases of colic can be quite mild and require little to no veterinary intervention. Other cases may be quite severe and require surgery. If you suspect your horse has colic, contact your veterinary surgeon who will be able to give you advice. The best prevention for colic is to ensure your horse is fed on a regular basis, does not have any drastic feed changes, and always has access to fresh water. It’s also important to ensure your horse is fed a suitable diet.

Initial Symptoms

  • Restlessness, pawing at the ground, kicking to the stomach.
  • Sweating and increased breathing and pulse rates..
  • Stretching to urinate without urinating.
  • Rolling or attempting to roll.
  • Lying down and getting back up or lying on their side for prolonged periods.

Top tips

  • If you suspect your horse is colicing call your vet immediately
  • Ensure your horse’s diet is high in fibre and ensure their feed is small and often rather than big and less often
  • Ration lush spring grass