Colic - animals

When the grass starts to come in BE CAREFUL - it's the time of year for Colic for our Animals

This can all take time, so make sure you have plenty of it and that someone can get you some warm clothes and always have your mobile or a phone with you so that you can call the Vet (always make sure your Vets number is in the address book of your phone - it saves that last minute dash to find a phone book)


  • Shaking of the head 
  • Pawing the ground 
  • Flicking of the tail 
  • Kicking the underside of the Stomach 
  • Wanting to lie down 
  • Rolling uncomfortably 
  • Head hanging low 
  • Suddenly flicking the head 
  • Bloated stomach either side 
  • Stomach rumbling (gas)

Things to have in your cupboard

  • Colease or equivalent
  • Peppermint Liquid
  • (Peppermint toothpaste with peppermint crystals in it will do at a push)
Even if you end up calling your Vet can we suggest you do the following - DO NOT LET HIM/HER lie down too often if at all, unless she/he has passed a motion.

Things you can do to help ease it - but be careful - if your horse takes a sudden spasm of pain he/she will suddenly move/roll and although under general circumstances your horse will never want to hurt you, if in pain she/he wont even remember you are there and will just try to move in any direction to get away from the discomfort/pain - so have your senses about you at all times.
  • Place a comfortable halter on and walk him/her, preferably until you hear some wind from the back end. If you have a sloped area this can make the wind move quicker - walk the animal up and down it for a while. 
  • Make up a peppermint extremely liquidy small warm mash, add a bit of colease - as per the instructions and some peppermint / or/and place approximately a 1.5" dollup of toothpaste on or inside his/her lips

Stop every so often and -

  • Take a brush with a comb end, or if the summer coat is in use a bristle brush to brush along his/her sides - so that you are triggering the nerve endings
  • Put your thumb at one side of the back bone and your first finger along the other and with a bit of pressure go from above the wither right to the tip of the tail, move your body round to the back and take each thumb and continue the pressure in the inside of her rump till level with the dock. Repeat the latter 5 - 10 times and go back to the wither again.
  • Pace him/her again
  • Go back to brushing his/her sides to encourage the nerve endings again.
  • Repeat the back bone pressure.
  • Tweak both ears.

Continue this until you she/he has a poo - you can now breathe for a whiley! DO NOT think that is him/her recovered - gas can still be in there. However the pain from the first batch of colic can be extremely sore, so he/she will probably be exhausted for a period of time and may want to lie down. . . . don't let him/her lie down for too long though.

You could also support the neck and head with rolled up blankets or fill a Hessian bag with hay/straw/shavings so that the neck/head is not flat on the floor.

Tweak his/her ears and keep the manipulation along the top line and especially parallel with the tail. . . . Ideally you want to hear the wind / gas moving and preferably another poo . . .

It's handy to have another person on standby just in case you need to go to the toilet . . .

This technique can be used on any any animal - the most important place to massage is at each side of the tail and along the back bone, so if you have a large animal make sure you can get up to do this somehow, but have second person with you for safety.

The following day reduce the quantity of time he/she is out on the pasture or reduce the area allowed to graze.

If you feed them a meal, make sure it's little amounts - this will reduce the chance of it returning until they seem back to normal.
Once your animal starts to feel better he/she will look to graze or nibble at the hay, but still hang around or do another job around and about for the next hour or so and repeat the above accordingly.

Please feel free to ask anything or if you have additional suggestions add them here - let's all continue to help others and their pets.


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