CALL YOUR VETERINARIAN IF YOU SEE SIGNS OF COLIC
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 Some are more stoic and will appear withdrawn and sullen.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.