8 Horse Colic Take-Homes from the ESS Symposium

Surgeon Dr. Anthony Blikslager shares his perspective on preventing horse colic.
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Equine veterinarians can’t tell what type of colic a horse is experiencing based on clinical signs alone, but they can use response to treatment and worsening clinical signs as indiactors that a horse might need to go to surgery. | Photo: Courtesy Dr. Rebecca McConnico

Every two years, the Equine Science Society (ESS) holds a symposium covering the latest equine nutrition and physiology research. Anthony Blikslager, DVM, PhD, Dipl. ACVS, professor of equine surgery and gastroenterology at North Carolina State University, in Raleigh, kicked off the 2019 edition, taking place June 3-6 in Asheville, North Carolina, with his perspective as a surgeon on horse colic prevention.

Here are eight interesting facts from his lecture:

1. Equine veterinarians can’t tell what type of colic (e.g., ileal impaction, large colon volvulus, etc.) a horse is experiencing based on clinical signs alone. What they can determine is when medical treatment isn’t working and when signs are getting more severe—both of which suggest a horse might need to go to surgery

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Alexandra Beckstett, a native of Houston, Texas, is a lifelong horse owner who has shown successfully on the national hunter/jumper circuit and dabbled in hunter breeding. After graduating from Duke University, she joined Blood-Horse Publications as assistant editor of its book division, Eclipse Press, before joining The Horse. She was the managing editor of The Horse for nearly 14 years and is now editorial director of EquiManagement and My New Horse, sister publications of The Horse.

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