Chronic Colic in Horses: What to Consider

What are the most important things to consider and employ when dealing with a horse affected by chronic colic?
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A horse that colics on a relatively regular basis is a frustrating problem for owners and veterinarians alike. Often these bouts of colic pop up unexpectedly with no obvious cause, resulting in lost training time, substantial veterinarian bills, mental anguish for the owner, and frustration for the veterinarian trying to diagnose the problem.

At the American Association of Equine Practitioners Focus on Colic Meeting, held July 24-26 in Indianapolis, Ind., Peter R. Morresey, BVSc, MACVSc, Dipl. ACT, ACVIM, internal medicine specialist at Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital in Lexington, Ky., presented on what veterinarians should look for when examining horses affected by recurrent colic.

"A horse that exhibits chronic, intermittent colic creates a situation fraught with difficulties for both the owner and veterinarian," Morresey began. "The owner may have sought many opinions–both lay and professional–prior to presentation. Considerable financial resources may have already been expended in attempting to secure a diagnosis or, in the absence of a diagnosis, a cure. Seemingly contradictory advice may have been given and followed, resulting in further frustration for the owner."

He reviewed some of the most important things to consider and employ when dealing with a horse affected by chronic colic

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Erica Larson, former news editor for The Horse, holds a degree in journalism with an external specialty in equine science from Michigan State University in East Lansing. A Massachusetts native, she grew up in the saddle and has dabbled in a variety of disciplines including foxhunting, saddle seat, and mounted games. Currently, Erica competes in eventing with her OTTB, Dorado.

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