Podcast #033 – Understanding The Basics Of Colic In Horses

.As a veterinarian, I have seen many horses with colic and as a horse owner, I have experienced colic personally. There is one thing for certain and that is we need to prevent it from happening in the first place. This is why The Horse’s Advocate explains the harm of inflammatory diets in other podcasts and materials. However, even with the best precautions, colic can still occur from other causes. Last week I listened to a podcast from Platinum Performance which provided an overview of what colic is and what to look for if you ever have a horse suffering with abdominal pain (colic). The host did a fairly good job but the end turned out to be a promotion for their colic protection plan offering up to $10,000 for surgery. The restrictions for this program seemed great in terms of cost versus other programs of prevention. I also attended last week a program from Cornell’s Veterinary College on colic with the perspective of a veterinarian working up a colic case. What goes through the decision making process is vast and includes a thorough knowledge of anatomy, statistics (age, use, diet, breed, etc), lab tests, diagnostic tests and experience. It was a detailed and thorough trip through the mind of the attending vet before a diagnosis and treatment plan can be made. Honestly, it was probably too much for a horse owner to follow. This podcast splits the difference of these two presentations by providing what horse owners really need to know in simple and rememberable terms about colic.
  1. Make colic preventable.
  2. The severity of pain does not equal the severity of the colic.
  3. Increasing the delay of diagnosing and treating causes the decrease in a good outcome.
  4. A heart rate above 60 beats per minute is usually a surgical colic.
  5. Pain unresponsive to pain medication is usually a surgical colic.


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