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What is Horse Colic?

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Question: What is Horse Colic?
Colic is not a disease in itself. Colic is a symptom of abdominal pain. Colic can be mild or severe, and take a number of forms.
Answer:

Spasmodic Colic

Spasmodic colic is an indication of spasms of muscles in the abdomen. This form of colic can abate on its own or may be treated with anti-spasmodic drugs. There are many different reasons why horses have spasmodic colic.

Impaction Colic

Impaction colic is caused by a blockage in the intestine.

Gaseous Distention (Tympany)

Gases that build up in front of an impaction may cause painful gaseous distention. Gaseous distention can also be caused by the fermentation of feed in the stomach if the horse has gorged itself.

Intestinal Catastrophe

Intestines can twist, telescope or become twisted around the tissue that attaches them to the abdominal cavity. This will cause violent colic symptoms. The blood flow in the intestine becomes obstructed. This is the most serious form of colic and causes intense pain. Often the only remedy is surgery, which is costly and sometimes unsuccessful.

Back to Colic FAQ Index

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