EQUUS - - First Response -

Spe­cific signs of ab­dom­i­nal pain may vary from horse to horse. Some are more stoic and will ap­pear with­drawn and sullen. Oth­ers may be­come ag­i­tated or fran­tic. Ei­ther way, a dras­tic change in de­meanor may sig­nal trou­ble. Other signs of colic in a horse may in­clude sweat­ing, paw­ing, ly­ing down and rolling, pinned ears and swing­ing his head to look at his sides. A horse cov­ered in shav­ings may have been down and rolling; in se­vere cases, he may have scrapes and swelling on his head and legs. Re­fusal to eat and lack of manure are also signs of colic, but you may not be out of the woods if your horse passes gas or manure.

If you can do so safely, take your horse’s vi­tal signs be­fore call­ing the vet­eri­nar­ian. A heart rate of more than 60 beats per minute, for ex­am­ple, may in­di­cate se­ri­ous pain, which would be an im­por­tant clue to re­lay over the phone. Tak­ing your horse’s tem­per­a­ture may re­veal a fever, which could in­di­cate an ill­ness or in­fec­tion. Also look at your horse’s gums: Pale­ness may be a sign of shock, while dark, brick-red gums may in­di­cate de­hy­dra­tion or a toxic con­di­tion.

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