Q: What can you do for a colicking horse other than walk him around while you’re waiting for the vet to arrive? We live in a remote area where a vet can’t get to us quickly. 

Asked by Jackie K

A: You can do the following for a colicking horse while waiting for the vet:

  1. Withhold access to feed, as food can exacerbate the problem.
  2. Withhold water – if the stomach is distended, allowing access to water can lead to stomach rupture.
  3. Don’t medicate without your veterinarian’s approval, because some pain medications can mask clinical signs, thus making it difficult for your vet to make an accurate diagnosis.
  4. Make sure that when you are not walking your horse, he is in a safe stable, from which any hazardous objects have been removed.
  5. Check your horse’s vital signs, such as temperature and heart rate and keep your vet informed of these values.
  6. Start preparing a horsebox incase your horse has to be transported to the clinic.

Answered by Onderstepoort Veterinary Academic Hospital