Equine colic: Is surgery needed?

By Susan Aiello • Published: March 1st, 2012
Category: Animal Airwaves

When babies have colic, frantic parents often lose a night’s sleep. When horses have colic, they can lose their lives.

Equine colic is a serious problem that requires quick action. Your veterinarian will judge the severity of clinical signs to determine if emergency surgery is needed.

Pain is one of the major indicators in this decision. Horses that have severe or recurrent discomfort, even after treatment with pain relievers, usually require surgery. Loss of gut sounds, regurgitation or other signs of bowel obstruction may also signal the need for surgical intervention.

Things such as poor color and rapid heart rate are signs of shock that suggest the need for intensive medical therapy, but not necessarily surgery.

So if your little colt gets colic, don’t just pace the floor. Contact your vet right away. Acting quickly may save your horse’s life.