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Colic in horse

Colic Disorder in Horse:

The number one natural killer in horses, colic, is a disorder which causes a range of discomfort in the abdominal region of the horse.

There are several causes of colic that range from worms to the twisting of the intestines.

Some of the most common causes of colic disorder in horses are:

  • Ingestion of sand by the horse: This usually occurs when the horse is fed on a ground that is very sandy. When the horse eats its food, it also ingests sand accidentally. Over a period of time, this causes a buildup of sand in the body and the silica in the sand starts to cause discomfort.

  • If there are sudden changes in the feed of the horse, it may cause infections or discomfort in the stomach. Therefore, when you are changing the feed of your horse, make sure you do it slowly, letting the horse get used to the new feed.
  • Overfeeding the horse or giving it food that is not safe is another cause of colic.
  • The feeding schedule of the horse should be regular.

    If the horse eats irregularly, it can cause discomfort in the intestines. Working hard can make the horse hungry; however, it is not advised to feed the horse immediately after strenuous physical activity.
  • Parasites and poisons can cause problems in the stomach. If the horse has a worm infestation in the stomach or the intestines, it could cause debris and blockages inside the horse’s body. Poisoning can also cause the intestines to shrink or twist, causing colic. Feeding on moldy or stale feed can also have a similar effect.
  • The horse may sometimes consume inedible material in its feed. Horses that chew splinters, sticks, or twine along with their feed can develop colic.
  • Twisted intestines are a very severe and life threatening disorder, because of which, the horse can eventually die.  
There are three main kinds of colic. These are classified into:
  • Dysfunction of the intestines, which is caused due to paralysis, impaction, or flatulence.
  • Intestinal accidents, in which the intestines get damaged or torn due to an internal injury. These usually require an operation to treat.
  • Ulceration, in which colic is caused due to poisoning, infections, or inflammation.
  • The first signs of colic are uneasiness, shifty behavior, and a change in the general demeanor of the horse. The horse may stomp a lot, swish its tail rapidly, and may have an abnormal pulse. The horse may be in visible pain.
  Submitted on February 23, 2010