The Reality of Colic in Horses

Horses are a trendy animal that is used for a variety of purposes. They are often trained to be ridden and even take part in competitions. However, horses also have their own set of health problems like colic. So what is colic? How does it affect horses? What are some treatments for horses with this condition? In this blog post, we will answer these questions!

What is colic in horses?

Colic is the term for abdominal pain in horses. Colic can be caused by a variety of reasons including but not limited to:

  • overeating grain, feed, or hay;
  • drinking water that is too cold or warm;
  • swallowing sharp objects such as nails and wire pieces from bales of hay;
  • intestinal obstruction (stomach getting blocked) because they eat something it shouldn’t eat like garbage or plastic bags;

How does colic affect horses? 

Symptoms include but are not limited to excessive sweating, extreme discomfort, intense stomach cramping, and kicking out with their hind legs. These symptoms may go away after time passes – which could be hours or days –or the horse might need medical attention.

If your horse has colic, it should be monitored closely as it can cause severe dehydration if left unchecked.

It’s time to call a vet before you try any home remedies for colic because some of them may make things worse! In the meantime, give your horse water that isn’t cold or warm (horses are sensitive to temperature) and make sure there aren’t sharp objects on pasture areas where it eats hay or grain. In addition, it’s a good idea to look for any signs of bloat, which is another stomach issue horses can get.

Bloat affects more than just horses, but it’s essential to identify it in your equine friend, so you know what kind of treatment they need (usually surgery).


If colic is suspected, the horse should not eat or drink anything until veterinary attention has been given and diagnostics have confirmed if there is an obstruction present. Horses are tough animals who often live with this condition without intervention – however, in extreme cases, surgical removal may become necessary. The most common cause of colic is eating too soon after exercise. Food sits around their gut, causing gas from bacteria that feed on undigested material, which then expands and presses against the stomach, intestines, or other organs.

Horses with colic are in pain, so they will often refuse to eat – but you can offer them a few bites of oatmeal mixed into warm water because it may help settle their stomachs.

Colic is a severe condition for horses, so if you think your horse might be suffering from colic, call your veterinarian immediately! If left untreated, horses could starve to death as materials build up within their digestive tract choking off food intake, or even die due to ruptured abdominal muscles that would have occurred when gas pressure increased too much. 

There’s no one-size-fits all treatment plan for colic; each case is different, which makes sense considering there are many causes of colic. 

Treatment typically consists of analgesics, anti-inflammatories, or sedatives to help with pain and discomfort, along with IV fluids to keep the horse hydrated and laxatives if they have not eliminated their waste in a few days. Sometimes horses are given gas relievers that will make them emit up gas from their stomachs so it can be released through the mouth instead where the pressure is dangerous for internal organs. Other times surgery may need to be done, but this is generally reserved only for severe cases due to how risky it can be on horses and health during recovery time.

What you should know about horses and colic: 

  • Horses often refuse food when suffering from colic. – Horses with colic often have a distended stomach and may appear depressed.
  • Colic can be fatal if not treated, so you should always contact your veterinarian if there are signs of it in your horse.
  • The vet will likely make some tests to find out what could be causing the pain (such as radiography or ultrasound), but they might also do exploratory surgery on horses suffering from more severe cases of colic to see where the blockage is coming from. – If left untreated, colic can last for several days which means that complications like infections or even cardiac arrest could occur during this time! This is why veterinarians will work hard to get any horses diagnosed with colic back home again quickly when possible.
  • If the vet can’t find anything wrong with your horses, they will likely recommend that you try and give them some pain medication to see if this helps to calm them down.
  • However, what should be done for horses who are suffering from colic? This is where a lot of people’s opinions might differ because there isn’t any answer! Some vets may advise eating carrots or apples as high fiber, which could help move things along through the digestive system. Still, others have said they think it would just cause more problems since horses don’t need those in their diet (in fact, they’re considered a luxury). – The best thing owners can do is wait until their veterinarian returns before making any treatment decisions.
  • There are various treatments for horses with colic, and it is impossible to know which will be best until the vet has examined them in person.
  • The veterinarian will likely start by sedating the horse and then taking x-rays to see if they can find an obstruction.

The Reality of Colic in Horses:

In most cases, colic comes from eating something that disagreed with them or having some other kind of gastrointestinal blockage; often, these conditions resolve on their own after time without any treatment. However, because colic can be so severe and painful for the animal (and expensive for owners), we recommend going to your vet as soon as possible at the first sign of trouble. So, for example, if you see your horse trying to eat hay or grass despite vomiting a large amount of food, it’s to contact the vet.

  • If left untreated, colic can be seriously life-threatening and may result in death.

In Conclusion:

Colic is nothing to mess around with when it comes to your horse. You should always contact the vet right away if you suspect it because having colic symptoms can worsen quite rapidly. As our horses are vital to us; and colic is a severe condition that needs treatment.