Colic in Horses, how can you help your horse.

This week 5th to the 12th October 2020 is the BHS Colic awareness week. #pledgetoREACT

All this week you can get advice on colic in horses and follow the BHS and University of Nottingham for advice on how to spot the early signs of colic and how to deal with it.

colic in horses
Colic in Horses

How do we help prevent colic in horses?

Colic is something a horse owner never wants to experience but being prepared can help prevent the worse. When buying a horse and bringing them home for the first time the stress and change in environment can potentially be something that may trigger.

The term colic is used to describe the symptom of abdominal pain in horses, Colic can include all forms of gastrointestinal conditions which cause pain. Intestinal problems associated with colic can range from mild to severe (life threatening).

If this situation is unfortunate enough to happen to you, you want to be informed and prepared as possible. Following the BHS guidelines and downloading there FREE Equine care pack about how to REACT is a great way oof getting all the information you need to make an informed decision, not a panicked and emotional one in the middle of the night.

colic in horses
Colic in Horses

Asking a previous owner about the horse’s routine, grazing and feed regime is a good idea aswel so you can help replicate this when getting the horse home to reduce any sudden changes, that way you can introduce any changes you would like to make gradually.

For example: If you have recently bought a horse or pony that is used to being kept in a stable a lot of the time, you ideally don’t want to suddenly turn it out 24/7 with ample grass where they may potentially gorge. Also, ask the previous owner about its daily hard feed intake, and the brand they use, and either ask them to provide you with a small amount to take away, or buy some ready so you can change it over gradually (if you plan to change it).

Another issue could be in the winter when horses are stabled more and not moving around as much, but also water could be frozen or very cold. Try to make sure when turning out your horse that any frozen troughs are broken through and you could insulate stable buckets with straw on the outside of them. Reduced water intake could lead to colic and impaction, to help increase water intake you could wet or dampen any hard feed you give, plus dampen or soak the hay you give when stabled.

Knowing what is normal for your horse will help you quickly know when anything is wrong and decide the best course of action.

Horse Vitals

  • Horse Temperature – 37.5c – 38.5c
  • Horse Respiratory/breathing rate – 8-15 breaths per minute
  • Horse pulse – 36-40 beats per minute

What are the symptoms of Colic in horses?

  • Restless or Agitated: attempts to lie down, repeatedly rolling, unexplained sweating and box walking/circling
  • Eating less or reduced droppings, passing less/no droppings and changes in consistency of droppings.
  • Abominal pain: Flank watching, Pawing the ground and Kicking at the belly
  • Clinical Changes: Increased heart and breathing rate, reduced or absent gut sounds, changes in the colour of gums, rapid breathing rate.
  • Tired or lethargic: Dull and depressed appearance, lowered head position, lying down more than usual.

These are the BHS #pledgetoREACT symptoms and the best advice to make sure you are on quick to react to any signs and symptoms of colic. #ColicAwarenessWeek

For further and more in-depth advice and to download your free equine care pack go to