Katie Hennessy

A Frequently Asked Question: What is Colic?

Sometimes during the course of traveling across Central Florida and tending to large animals, I am asked, “What is colic?”

The term “colic,” simply put, means “pain in the abdomen” or “pain in the belly.” There are many causes for such pain, ranging from the mild and inconsequential, to the life-threatening or fatal. One of the problems with equine colic is that it can be very difficult in the early stages to distinguish the mild from the potentially dangerous case. This is why all cases of abdominal pain should be taken seriously right from the onset. Early recognition and treatment give the best chance for a positive outcome.

The signs of colic in horses range from almost imperceptible in mild cases to extremely violent in severe cases. The following list includes the most common signs:

• Lying down more than usual
• Getting up and lying down repeatedly
• Standing stretched out
• Standing frequently as if to urinate
• Turning the head toward the flank
• Repeatedly curling the upper lip
• Pawing the ground
• Kicking at the abdomen
• Rolling
• Decreased appetite

To learn more about other frequently asked questions, visit our website at www.PolkEquine.com, or if you have a question of your own, give us a call at 863-287-8413.



BIO: Dr. Katie Hennessy graduated from the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine in 2008 with a degree in large animal health and equine medicine. After completing an advanced internship and working as an associate veterinarian, she is currently practicing at Polk Equine, LLC. Her expertise ranges from small and exotic creatures to large animals, specializing in equine medicine.

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