What is Colic in Horses? And What Causes a Horse to Colic?: Potential Causes and Signs
Colic in horses is a serious abdominal problem, often referred to as a digestive disorder. Clinical colic causes pain in the abdomen, often referred to as belly ache. Colic is usually classified as either mild or severe. A horse experiencing mild colic manages to eat and drink normally.
It is not life-threatening and often resolves within 24 to 48 hours. Severe colic, on the other hand, includes symptoms such as inappetence, dehydration, and abdominal distension and necessitates immediate medical attention. Severe colic is life-threatening and if left untreated may cause a ruptured internal organ. The stomach and the intestine are the most common affected organs. Fortunately the signs of colic can be recognized by a horse owner, and help from a veterinarian is only a call away.
Colic in Horses: Signs and Symptoms
Colic is quite a common and painful health disorder in horses, which catches many owners of such animals completely off-guard. It's important that you know how to identify and treat colic in a horse so that you can prevent it and happen to have the best chance to avert a dangerous situation involving your horse.
Colic in horses is defined as a collective term for inflammation of the intestines, which causes severe pain. It can affect horses of all ages but is more commonly seen in young horses.
Colic in horses results from a number of things that irritate the horse's intestines such as parasites, gas, tight-fitting equipment, ulcers and changes in ration. Most horse owners have a really hard time figuring out what is causing colic in horses when they have the condition.
The only way to accurately diagnose this condition is by performing an endoscopy or an ultrasound exam.
If you're unfortunate enough to have a horse with colic, make sure that you watch the animal closely and that you note all symptoms, including any visible pain or discomfort, because this way you'll be able to determine if the horse is responding well to treatment.
Symptoms of colic in horses are:
- Poor appetite
- Irregularity in dunging habits
- Gassy, bloated feeling
Awesome Home Remedies for Colic in Horses
Colic in horses could be abdominal pain, sickness, or not being able to pass gas. Colic is nothing like human tummy ache, when horses show symptoms of colic, you know they are in real pain.
Colic can be caused by a number of things, and as horse owners, you should know what colic looks like and how to treat it.
Symptoms of colic may not show up right away. Delayed onset of symptoms can result in a horse suffering from colic for several hours before it is noticed.
If you’re seeing colic signs in your horse, you should know that there is a very high horse mortality rate.
Colic in horses can cause severe pain, nausea, bloating, or colic where the animal has an extreme sensitivity to touch.
Many people will take the horse to the barn, rub its stomach, and stick their finger up its nostrils to try to relieve gas, which can actually worsen the situation.
Colic Symptoms, Causes and Causes of Colic in Horses.
Many of you may recognize colic as one of the most common reasons why you need a vet, as it is rather unpleasant and you would not want your horse to suffer through it.
In horses, an intestinal colic is a painful, and sometimes, life-threatening condition that occurs in the horse's abdomen as a result of digestion problems, malnutrition, and stress. Horses can be victims of colic even if they live in a clean, well-kept environment, but it can be prevented by providing the right nutrition, proper exercise, and regular visits to the vet for routine health check-ups.
The most common cause of a colic in horses is the result of an impaction of the large intestine, which will require your horse to be given enemas, as well as painkillers that can be injected.
You can identify a horse suffering from colic by its behavior, which includes sweating, rolling, kicking, moaning, restlessness, and not eating.
If your horse is having problems and you suspect colic, you should consult your vet immediately, as it can be life-threatening.
Aromatherapy or essential oil therapy has been used for thousands of years by humans in many cultures. Now, it is increasingly being used to treat ailments in domesticated animals. The general premise behind aromatherapy is to relieve pain and anxiety by inhaling, bathing, and massaging the animal with essential oils and carrier oils.
The process is extremely effective for horses because they can’t verbally communicate their aches and pains to you, so they end up showing you their painful symptoms instead. This is where aromatherapy steps in and does the communicating for your horse.
Another great benefit of essential oils is that they can be used as a carrier oil. Therefore, you can mix your healing essential oil with a carrier oil like lavender oil, fractionated coconut oil, or avocado oil and apply the mixture on the affected area of your horse.
An extremely common ailment faced by horses is colic. When you mix peppermint oil, lavender oil, or clove oil with a carrier oil, cover your horse with the resulting mixture and allow him to absorb it for at least 20 minutes. This will help relieve him from his pain and discomfort.
Common herbs that can help relieve colic include:
- Chamomile – an herb that is useful when the pain in the abdomen is accompanied by gas. It’s commonly used for an upset stomach or indigestion. It’s also used to calm and reduce anxiety, irritation and tension. This herb is also used to treat respiratory problems, insomnia, inflammation and to reduce pain.
- Chamomilla – this works well with rosehips and ginger. This herbal combination is good for treating digestive tract inflammation and diarrhoea.
Equine Massage and Acupressure
Massage and Acupressure are just as beneficial for horses as they are for humans! Massage and Acupressure releases tension, improves mobility, increases blood flow, and relieves muscle spasms & pain. These two types of therapies are often complimentary, and can be used together to maximize the effectiveness.
Another interesting aspect of Equine massage is the fact that the same pressure techniques can be used for different areas of the body. You know what I am talking about, all of the muscle groups are the same with different sensitivity levels of pressure.
That’s why a lot of the time, you will get tips that say to lighten up the pressure when going over the neck, for example. It’s all good and helpful information to keep in mind to prevent overdoing it on the pressure, however….
The trick to using either sub-massage or acupressure is that pressure on a trigger point, can stimulate the muscle fibers to relax and release tension. It’s an excellent way to safely work out any knots or tightness in body tissues that have built up over time.
The horse is normally brought into the stable and allowed to slowly acclimatise for a few minutes before being released for a couple of "walks out" in its loose box.
If your horse has colic it is likely to show signs of discomfort straight away – straining, kicking with its hind legs to loosen the stomach, breathing heavily, sweating and laying on its abdomen.
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