Horse Colic Surgery: Making Hard Decisions

While it can be unsettling to think about all the possible scenarios, planning before colic happens could save your horse’s life.

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Horse Colic Surgery: Making Hard Decisions
While most colic surgery patients do return to their intended purpose, the recovery period is a long one. | Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt/The Horse

Knowing what to do if your horse needs colic surgery, and how to afford it, can save his life

Your heart pounds as you try to soothe your sweaty 21-year-old gelding, who is struggling as pain clutches his abdomen. You remind yourself to stay alert when he almost catches you with a hoof as he paws. He swings his head around to look at his flank and swishes his tail wildly. The more agitated he gets, the more you worry. Then the veterinarian’s voice interrupts your thoughts, confirming one of your worst fears.

“It’s definitely a severe colic, and he needs to go to the nearest equine veterinary hospital for an evaluation,” she says. “He may need surgery, but they can tell you more once he gets there. We need to get him there immediately.”

Your thoughts begin to whirl

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Written by:

Sarah Evers Conrad has a bachelor’s of arts in journalism and equine science from Western Kentucky University. As a lifelong horse lover and equestrian, Conrad started her career at The Horse: Your Guide to Equine Health Care magazine. She has also worked for the United States Equestrian Federation as the managing editor of Equestrian magazine and director of e-communications and served as content manager/travel writer for a Caribbean travel agency. When she isn’t freelancing, Conrad spends her free time enjoying her family, reading, practicing photography, traveling, crocheting, and being around animals in her Lexington, Kentucky, home.

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