What to tell the vet if you suspect colic!
Colic is something that all horse owners and grooms need to be vigilant about. It can happen at any time, for any number of reasons, and can range from very mild to downright violent. Knowing what to look for, and then acting on that information, can save your horse’s life.
You also need a reliable thermometer.
Is your horse colicky?
- So let’s say that you find your horse one day and he’s just not himself. He’s not acting normally, and he is fidgety and looks a bit bloated. Or, you find him and he’s stressed, kicking at his belly, and rolling on the ground. Or, he’s somewhere in the middle.
- I can’t stress these two things enough – call your veterinarian, and don’t give your horse any drugs until you have talked to your veterinarian.
- Giving medications can complicate the diagnostic process, so a phone call at the very least is warranted before you give medication. Call your vet, even if it’s after hours. The answering service will page a veterinarian for you.
Gather this info for your vet:
- Vital signs – Know your horse’s TPR – what the values are normally so that you can compare. Video below for your viewing pleasure!
- Capillary refill time
You also can help your veterinarian get a clear picture with the following information:
- Eating habits over the last few hours (normal, didn’t eat)
- Drinking habits over the last few hours (less, more, the same)
- Gut sounds in each quadrant (none, normal, excessive)
- Overall attitude
- Any strange postures
- Recent manure description (normal, diarrhea, extra dry)
- Any recent feed changes, like a new batch of hay, or a change in pasture routine.
- Are the hooves hot? Laminitis often mimics colic due to the pain level involved.
- What are his digital pulses like?
- Has he had any changes in his level of exercise?
- When was his last fecal egg count and/or deworming?
- Does your horse eat from the ground? When was the last time you tested his manure for sand?
Practice listening to your horse’s gut sounds, so you know what’s normal and what’s not.
The causes of colic are numerous. The treatments for your horse’s signs and symptoms can vary widely from your friend’s horse that had a colic episode last year. Only your veterinarian can determine a possible cause and the best course of action for your horse – it’s your job to give your veterinarian as much information about your horse as you can.
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ADC Veterinary Thermometer, Dual Scale, Adtemp 422 – For easy temperature taking
3M Littmann Classic III Monitoring Stethoscope, Black Edition Chestpiece, Black Tube, 27 inch, 5803 – For finding heart rate and gut sounds