By: Dr. Lydia Gray
Colic is any pain in the abdomen. Impaction colic is pain caused by feed material obstructing or blocking the GI tract. Signs of impaction colic can be the same as any other kind of colic: pawing, looking at the belly, lying down and getting up, rolling, not eating or drinking, not passing manure, sweating, depression, and elevated heart and respiratory rates.
Call a veterinarian right away if a horse shows any of the signs listed above. Most impaction colics respond to medical treatment alone, which consists of pain relievers, fluids to hydrate the horse, and laxatives to soften the impaction and help move it along. If the horse does not improve, surgery may be necessary.
Impaction colics may be caused by several things, all leading to decreased gut movement: poor quality forage, too much grain, stall confinement, transport, dehydration, electrolyte imbalances, bad teeth, parasites and any sudden changes to the routine. Owners should take these steps to try and prevent impaction colic: