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Colic in Horses

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Equine colic is defined as the presence of abdominal pain. There are multiple causes of colic, but the majority of colic episodes stem from the gastrointestinal tract. Pain originating from the heart (aortic rupture, etc.) or urogenital systems can also cause a horse to be colicky. Signs of colic in horses are variable and often depend on the severity, location, and cause of the pain.

Common causes of colic include impactions, enteritis, displacements, torsion, ileus, infarctions, obstructions or intussusceptions of virtually any component of the gastrointestinal tract. The majority of colic cases can be successfully managed by the primary veterinarian on the farm. While colic is the second-most-common cause of death in horses, most cases of colic have successful outcomes.

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