Colic can be a common aliment in horses and ponies but can be one of the biggest concerns for owners. Colic is the word used to describe both mild and severe abdominal pain. There are many causes of colic, from a change of routine either in exercising or feeding to teeth or worming issues.
It is important to note if you are concerned your horse is showing signs of colic it is important to call your vet immediately. However, Animal Friends have identified a few simple management techniques to reduce the risks of your horse or pony developing colic.
Signs of Colic
Some of the signs that a horse has colic are;
- Restless and pawing at the ground.
- Sweating and has an increased breathing rate.
- Elevated pulse or kicking to the stomach.
Other signs include, the horse starts stretching as if to urinate or starts rolling or attempting to roll.
A horse in a natural setting will be on the move and be grazing along the way. This is called trickle feeding, which means a horse eats large quantities of low energy food throughout the day and usually spends up to 16 hours a day feeding. Today horses are often fed twice a day and rationed on hay and stabled for up to 8 hours. This is very different to what a horse’s digestive system is used to.
Reducing the Chance of Colic
- Ensure your horse or pony has a constant supply of fresh water.
- Feed your horse little and often.
- Ensure your horse or pony is turned out as much as possible to allow natural behaviour and grazing.
- Maintain a regular stable management routine.
- Make changes to your horse and ponies diet slowly.
- Follow a regular and effective worming programme.
- Ensure your horse has regular dentistry check-ups.
Remember to monitor your horse and look for any signs of discomfort because early detection of colic will improve the chances of them remaining healthy and strong for a lifetime.