Q: I’m worried my horse may have Colic. What signs should I look for?
A: Colic is another word for abdominal pain. It can have a range of different causes, from the mild spasmodic colic caused by trapped wind, through to severe potentially life threatening colic, when a piece of bowel has become twisted or entrapped. Due to the range of causes, the symptoms a colicing horse will exhibit vary in severity. The various signs you may see are shown below, with the mildest first.
- Your horse becomes dull and depressed
- Their appetite is reduced
- They appear uncomfortable and will often lie down more often than usual
- They often look back at their abdomen as if something is bothering them
- They kick up at their belly
- They sweat up
- They continually lie down and roll over
- They thrash around when on the ground
- They become recumbent and remain on their side, becoming increasingly unresponsive to external stimuli.
Most cases of colic are fairly mild and recover quickly after the appropriate treatment is administered. However if some of the more serious symptoms are seen, there is the possibility that the horse may end up requiring surgical intervention at a referral hospital.
Whatever the reason, if you are worried that your horse may have colic please call one of our equine vets, even if just for a chat to put your mind at rest.
Q: What is the best treatment for mud fever?
A: Mud fever is an inflammation of the skin around the heel, fetlock and pastern. This inflammation leads to the skin swelling, stretching and weeping, causing cracks to appear, hair to fall out and hard scabs to form. It is usually seen in the winter months when horses are more likely to encounter wet and unhygienic conditions, and is more likely to occur in horses with long hair.
The first thing to do is to bring the horses into a nice clean and dry environment. The legs need to be washed off and then all the hair clipped off, as tight to the skin as possible. Once this has been done, the affected areas need to be cleaned with an antibacterial wash e.g. Hibiscrub (available from us) and then dried thoroughly.
This should be done twice daily until the skin has healed up. If the horses are in a situation in which it may be difficult to keep the affected areas dry, then a barrier cream can be used to protect the skin. We have a selection of suitable creams available. If your horse seems to be particularly sore on the affected areas, there is a possibility that they may have developed an infection in the skin. If this is the case, it is important you call us in to examine the horse and prescribe the most appropriate treatment.