Colic In Horses

1955 Words 8 Pages
Every morning for anyone who owns or takes care for horses starts out just about the same. You wake up and before you even think about eating, you are walking out to the barn to check on your horses and give them their breakfast. Except, today something is wrong. One of your horses is laying down in their stall, rolling, not eating or drinking, and is kicking at their stomach. These few clues can be a horse owner’s worst nightmare. These are symptoms of the dreaded illness, colic. Colic is defined by Agripedia (2009) as “the general term indicating abdominal pain in horses.” There are three major types of colic, including impaction colic, twist gut colic, and compaction colic. All three types of colic are similar, yet are very different. However, …show more content…
In almost every case of colic, pain killers and muscle relaxers are administered to help relieve the horse of stress and pain it is experiencing. Phenylbutazone is a common anti-inflammatory drug that is administered intravenously into the horse’s neck to help alleviate pain quickly. Banamine is another common drug that is used to help relax the muscles in the horse without making them drowsy. If medication is administered to a horse that is known to cause drowsiness, treatment for colic will become more difficult. Horses that are suffering from colic need to be as alert as possible for the veterinarian so that they can give an exact diagnosis. One form of treatment that is affected by drowsiness is walking. Veterinarians often advise horse owners to walk their horses when an impaction colic is suspected. The movement of the intestines and muscles from walking can help move the impaction through the horse’s digestive tract and out of the body. If an animal is drowsy due to a medication they receive, they will be more reluctant to walking. This is why it is crucial that any horse owner get medical advice when treating colic symptoms. All owners also need to document any type and amount of medication that they administer to the infected …show more content…
One form of obstructive colic is strangulating, or twist gut colic. Twist gut gets its nickname because there is an actual twist in the horse’s intestine. The British Horse Society (2010) states, “These are potentially the most serious types of colic”. According to Sellnow (2006), “The large colon consists of right and left ventral colons and the dorsal colon. The ventral colons have a sacculated construction, which means there are a series of pouches involved. The structure is designed to efficiently digest large quantities of fibrous materials, but the pouches or sacs can become twisted and can fill with gas during the fermentation process.” When a part of the horse’s intestine twists, gas begins to build up in the horse’s system. The only way a twist gut colic can be corrected is by surgical means and according to Horse and Hound (2013), “It accounts for more than 15% of colic surgeries.” However, there are risks when performing this surgery on a horse. When I was interning for an equine veterinarian office in 2014, Dr. Stone, my intern supervisor, always told me, “You can look at x-rays and ultrasounds all you want, but you never truly know what you are dealing with until you get inside.” When you open a horse up for a twist gut colic surgery, there is always a chance that the horse may not make it. When performing a twist gut surgery, there are only two options. The surgeon will

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