Almost all horses with colic can be saved if the problem is recognized quickly and treatment is instituted rapidly, said Anthony Blikslager, DVM, PhD, Dipl. ACVS, of North Carolina State University, during the "In-Depth: Colic" portion of the 2009 American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) Convention’s scientific program. The convention was held Dec. 5-9 in Las Vegas, Nev. Horses with early signs of colic, he reported, tend to stand toward the back of the stall and lose interest in observing other horses and people in the barn. Not finishing a meal is another potential sign of trouble.

Pre-planning for emergencies is important to facilitate treatment of a colicking horse, according to Blikslager. He recommended encouraging owners, trainers, and farm managers to have a plan for transporting a seriously ill horse to avoid the delay that can occur when trying to find an available truck and trailer.


Dr. Blikslager talks about colic in horses.
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Blikslager discussed colic involving the small intestine specifically, and he said a key to preventing it is reducing its two major risk factors: tapeworm infection and feeding horses suboptimal quality coastal Bermuda hay (applicable to those owners using Bermuda hay in the southeastern United States).

Tapeworm infection is very difficul