Common horse colic symptoms

Because horse colic is the number one killer of horses, it is important to know the common horse colic symptoms. The first signs of horse colic you may see are uneasiness and a personality change. The horse may be uninterested in  food or drink, and may act sleepy or dull. The temperature may be  slightly higher than normal, but the respiration and pulse will usually  be normal. 


Later on, the horse may swish its tail, stomp a hind  leg, turn and look at its belly, or nip its sides. It may also roll its  eyes, snort, or groan. As the pain increases, the horse may kick its  belly and lie on the ground and stretch. It may also stretch as if to  urinate, or may make attempts to defecate with no success or may have  diarrhea. It may roll lightly, get up and walk in circles, then lie down  and roll again. It may also walk aimlessly into fences or walls as the  discomfort of equine colic increases. 


As the colic in horses worsens, the horse may bite its  sides, kick and thrash, and may roll madly. NEVER let a colicing horse  roll, because it could twist an intestine and cause serious injury! Try  to get the horse up, even if it means yelling at or hitting the horse.  Be VERY CAREFUL- a colicing horse in severe pain doesn't care what or who you are, it may step on you or crush you accidentally. During this  time, the horse's only focus is trying to rid itself of pain, and it  won't be aware of its surroundings. It may walk into walls or fences or step on things. You should catch it and, if it is rolling, make it  stand; then, proceed to walk it for about 15 minutes. 


  • Clinical signs of horse colic: 
  • Pawing and/or scraping 
  • Stretching 
  • Frequent attempts to urinate 
  • Flank watching: turning of the head to watch the stomach and/or hind quarters 
  • Biting/nipping the stomach 
  • Pacing 
  • Repeated flehmen response 
  • Repeated lying down and rising 
  • Rolling 
  • Groaning 
  • Excess salivation 
  • Loss of appetite 


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