The Many Faces of Colic
Pop quiz. Is colic:
a) A descriptive term for any of an array of clinical signs indicating equine digestive distress;
b) One of the most common killers of healthy adult horses;
c) Usually resolved without surgical intervention; or
d) All of the above?
The answer is, of course, "d." Colic in horses isn’t so much a disease as it is a collection of clinical signs, the common de-nominator being gut pain. It can arise from any of dozens of causes, which is why it can be so challenging to diagnose and treat.
The good news, according to Anthony Blikslager, DVM, PhD, Dipl. ACVS, professor of equine surgery at North Carolina State University, is that the vast majority of colic cases–roughly 90%–can be considered medical rather than surgical. They either resolve on their own or with veterinary medical
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