What Is Horse Colic?
Colic is broadly defined as “abdominal pain”. Equine colic refers to severe severe abdominal pain. It is not a disease, but rather a combination of signs that alert us to abdominal pain in our horses. Horse colic is commonly referred to as the number one killer of horses. The incidence of colic in horses has been estimated between 4% and 10% over the course of their lifetime. Many of the conditions that cause equine colic become life threatening very quickly. By learning how to quickly and accurately recognize colic in your horse, you CAN (in most cases) save his life!
Equine Colic Symptoms
While there are various forms of equine colic, most horses will display the following symptoms:
- Lack of normal gut noises
- Pawing at the ground
- Rolling and/or lying down
- Excessive sweating
- Looking at the flank
- Anxiety or depression
- Won’t defecate
- Lack of appetite
- Won’t drink water
- High pulse rate (over 50 beats per minute)
What To Do If Your Horse Is Colicking
Call your veterinarian. Give him as much information about your horse’s symptoms as possible. Hopefully by now you’ve checked your horses vital signs (temperature, pulse rate, respiratory rate, capillary refill time and mucous membranes). If you’re not sure how to check the vital signs of your horse, click here for instructions. Also tell your vet about any medication that you have administered to your horse.
Give him a 4 ounce bottle of Equine GutFlush! Consider Equine GutFlush as your 1st line of defense against equine colic! This should stop the abdominal pain and give quick control over a normal horse colic episode by working with the equine’s body to bring it back into balance. It is an alternative as well as a preventative to help in an emergency situation. Equine GutFlush works with the horse’s body, not against it, as you are not giving any drugs. EGF will work in unison to stop the pain, trauma, or duress of horse colic within 45 minutes as proven in an independent Equine Colic Study conducted October 2011 – March 2012.
Unfortunately, some horse colic’s continue for hours with significant pain. Equine GutFlush should ease the pain and bring back normal gut sounds in 10-30 minutes. This means the horse needs to tap into all his energy and endurance and walking him for an extended period of time can reduce his strength needed to survive. If the horse is rolling violently, he should be walked slowly, but do not excessively whip the horse to get him up or to keep him moving.
By now the Equne GutFlush has worked (wait at least 45 minutes before giving your equine anything else, unless it’s another bottle of Equne GutFlush). When your veterinarian arrives, let him know what treatment you gave your horse. Hopefully, he will hear good gut sounds on either side at this time and no further treatment will be necessary for your horse. You then get a chance to catch your breath and consider what caused this colic. Was it something your horse ate or didn’t eat? Was it something you did wrong? Were the moon and stars lined up in the wrong orbits? Or was it just plain bad luck? Why was your horse one of the just over 4 percent of horses that colic annually in the U.S.?
How To Administer Equine GutFlush
1. Shake bottle
2. Remove tamper seal
3. Cut 1/4” tip off syringe top.
Insert the tip into the corner of the horses mouth. Hold your horse’s head in an upright position, tip up and slowly squeeze the bottle giving the horse time to swallow. For an adult horse, give him the full bottle. For foals, administer half of the bottle.
Read more about EGF and why it is an absolute must have for every equine First Aid Kit! Stop horse colic and stop your horses abdominal pain today! Click here to purchase or give us a call at 888-327-0327.
Tips To Prevent Horse Colic
While horses seem predisposed to colic due to the anatomy and function of their digestive tracts, management can play a key role in prevention. Although not every case is avoidable, the following guidelines can maximize your horse’s health and reduce the risk of colic:
*Provide plenty of clean, fresh water for your horses:
Colicky horses frequently suffer from reduced water intake. Because horses are primarily made of water, drinking less water makes the feed and hay mixture in the intestine thicker. The 100 feet of intestine in your horse has many turns and changes in diameter, and it makes the horse more prone to having that mixture get “stuck” or impacted. The impactions usually consist of coarse hay or sand, but not always. Providing plenty of clean, fresh water is the first step in reducing colic. We also recommend adding electrolytes to grain. In Southern states, add one ounce of electrolytes twice daily during summer months and once daily in winter.
*Provide plenty of roughage:
Equine’s have evolved eating frequent meals of quality pasture grass. This frequent grazing promotes digestive health and supplies the fiber requirements in the intestinal tract. As a general rule, a 1,000-pound horse on a tradition hay and grain diet should consume around 2 percent of his body weight, or 20 pounds of roughage per day.
This roughage has many positive attributes in maintaining your horse’s internal health. First, the fiber is the natural stimulant in the large colon for normal peristalsis. Digestible fiber is necessary as a source of energy for microorganisms in your horse’s cecum and large colon, and it provides a source of dietary energy for the horse. Indigestible fiber is also necessary and required for the maintenance of normal gastrointestinal pH, function and motility.
*Avoid feeding your horse on the ground, especially in sandy soils:
If you feed outside, arrange a harder surface (such as rubber mats) underneath the feeder. Allow horses to graze only in pastures with adequate growth so that ingestion of sand is minimal.
*Lock the feed room door:
Colic caused by horses overeating grain is preventable and management-related. Make it impossible for your horse to get into the feed room by latching the door securely. Ingesting large amounts of grain can overwhelm the digestive tract and lead to two very serious conditions – colic and laminitis. Both can be fatal. Overeating grain can take several hours before real symptoms show up, so don’t hesitate to get Equne GutFlush and orally administer this to the horse immediately. Call the veterinarian and let him be aware of the situation in case follow up is needed.
*Deworm your horse on a regular schedule
*Provide exercise and/or turnout on a daily basis
*Make feed changes slowly
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Restoring Gut Motility & Normal G-I Function