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Horse Health 101 : Horse Health Library : Colic

The Does and Don’ts of Managing Colic - What to do before the veterinarian arrives.

When a horse colics, it is a stressful time for both owner and horse. Knowing what information your veterinarian will need, and what to do and what not to do before you find yourself in this unwanted situation will help you better deal with the stress of managing a colicky horse.

Before You Call Your Vet:Before you call your veterinarian, we recommend gathering the following information. This information will help your veterinarian better assess the situation and guide you through managing the colic before they arrive.

  • Complete a physical exam. Know your horse's heart rate, respiration rate, temperature, gastrointestinal sounds, and gum condition (color, capillary refill time)
  • When they last passed manure
  • Are they drinking and eating normally
  • Have they had Banamine or can they have Banamine
  • When was the horse last "normal"
  • Recent health history: Change in feed, routine , recent illnesses, medications, etc.


To-Do Before Your Vet Arrives:

  • Remove all feed from the horse's stall (water is ok)
  • Clean the stall so you know if the horse passes new manure or urine
  • If the horse lays down and is quiet (not rolling) it is ok, but continue to observe
  • If the horse is going to roll or thrash, walk the horse until the vet arrives
  • Keep your cell phone handy in case your vet calls
  • Stay calm


What NOT to do before your vet arrives:

  • Do NOT give your horse more than 1 dose of Banamine (or bute)!
  • Do NOT try to tube or syringe mineral oil (or any liquid) to your horse
  • Do NOT continue to feed a colicky horse (water is ok)
  • Do NOT ignore early signs of Colic…when in doubt call your vet

Learn more about colic: How Do I Know If My Horse Is Colicing and When Should I Call My Vet

Mid-Rivers has staff on call 24/7 to help you with any colic situation. Please call the clinic at 636.332.5373 and select option 7 if it is after hours.

Information contained within this website is provided purely for educational purposes. Mid-Rivers Equine Centre assumes no responsibility for any problems associated with content, the reading of content or use of information contained within this web site.