Colic is a stressful thing for any horse owner. Having a plan of what to do when your horse is showing signs of colic helps to keep emotions under control and get your horse the help he needs quickly.
Though there are many different things that can go on with the GI tract of a horse that can lead to the gut pain that presents as colic, there are a few times during the year that we see a marked increase in the number of colic cases. Cold weather can put a drastic stress on horses, especially when it moves in quickly. Horses seem to go into a survival mode where they choose to stand in a place that gives them the most shelter or the most warmth. Sometimes as they adapt their behavior to staying warm, they forget to go to the water tank and drink. Within a short time, they can be in trouble. It is important to know what to do when your horse is showing you the classic colic signs if sweating, kicking at their belly, wanting to lay down, rolling, or just looking depressed and not alert.
Our policy is to get those horses a dose of oral Banamine as soon as you become concerned that something isn’t right. Oral Banamine can be dispensed to you to have on hand as long as you maintain an active relationship with your veterinarian. After you get the Banamine in your horse, it is a good idea to get your horse moving. Walking your horse is likely to be helpful if your horse has some painful gas that needs to move through, or if he is starting to become impacted. If walking your horse is going to be all the help he needs, he is going to fell better within a half hour of getting him moving. If he is not better in that time frame, you need to be on the phone to your vet. It takes time to get your horse to the vet clinic, or to get your vet to you, start working on that if your horse in not feeling quite a bit better, and hopefully passing manure in that half hour time frame.
Your vet will need to put your horse through a series of tests such as a physical exam, rectal exam, blood work, and ultrasound to help figure out a treatment plan to help your horse. Giving her every opportunity to work through those tests quickly so your house gets relief sooner and improves the odds they will survive the episode of colic. If you are unsure if what you are seeing in your horse is enough improvement after a half hour, call and talk to a technician. They can relay messages to the veterinarian and help you pick through the signs your horses is trying to tell you. In many cases, timing has been a significant factor on the success of a horse surviving colic. We know how stressful it is when your horse is in trouble. Knowing the timing on your colic plan is important to his treatment, and we are always available to help answer questions to help you know how to get him help.