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The term “colic” strikes fear among horse owners. Horse colic is not a disease, but rather a generic term that refers to a combination of signs that alert us to abdominal pain in the horse, which may be due to an accumulation of gas, fluid or feed. The severity of colic in horses can range from mild to severe, and should NEVER be ignored. Many of the conditions that cause colic can become life threatening in a relatively short period of time. Among domesticated horses, colic is a major cause of premature death, so knowledge of different types, signs and what to do are extremely important.. The incidence of colic in the general horse population has been estimated between 10 and 11% per year. In a recent study, colic was second only to old-age as the leading cause of death in horses. The most important rule is to CALL THE VET. Only by quickly and accurately recognising colic (and seeking qualified veterinary help) can the chance for recovery be maximised. Colic symptoms have been associated with composition of diet, changes in diet, feeding practices, exercise patterns, housing and inappropriate parasite control programs. With nutrition related disorders being the top three causes of colic in otherwise healthy horses, we should consider carefully our horse’s feeding program.
A major problem for horse owners is being able to identify colic symptoms. That's because signs can vary greatly between individuals and may also depend on the severity of the pain. However, among the more common signs are:
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