Colic: What to Do Before the Vet Comes

Here are some of the steps to take when your horse is experiencing a bout of colic before the vet comes.

Create a Safe Area

When you notice your horse is in extreme pain, you need to keep it in a safe area, preferably a well bedded stable. The area should have a lunge line to keep the horse in control to prevent it from injuring itself.

Remove buckets or anything which can cause the horse injury, and you can then leave it quietly until the vet comes to give them a pain killer. This will allow the horse to lie down and not make its condition worse or even cause it to have a twisted gut.

Even though it can be very distressing to see your horse in severe pain, it is advisable for you not to go into the stable without the help of the vet, so you don’t get harmed and also to prevent a serious accident.

When the horse is being taken to the arena, it is important not to release it. Anyone handling the sick horse must wear hats and gloves for safety because when a horse is in pain, it does not recognise its surroundings. You should undoubtedly take every precaution necessary to ensure your own safety.


If your horse still experiences pain, it might help to take it gently for a 15 to 20 minutes walk. The horse must not move at a trot and should not exercise much longer than the prescribed time unless your vet says otherwise.

There may be situations when the vet may ask you to take your horse for other types of exercise. It is essential to follow the treatment under the supervision of your vet, because any activity other than gentle walking, is not always recommended for most conditions.

If you notice your horse is trying to sit down, do not force it to walk. The exercise will be exhausting because the horse is sick, and if the colic requires surgery, walking will not help them recover from anaesthesia.

Food and Water

If you are not sure about feeding your sick horse, ask your vet. It is essential to take away any feed which is in the stable. If the horse is not experiencing severe pain, you can leave some water for it, but it would be very unlikely for a sick horse to drink any water.


Ensure that you give your vet good directions to your stables or have someone quickly direct them there. If the horse is experiencing severe pain, it would be necessary to promptly attend to it, because any delay may not help matters. Ensure that your vet can access your stables within a reasonable time.

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