Another 5 Myths about Colic

Since you liked our 5 Myths about Colic blog post, here are additional 5 myths from our Chief Vet.

by Dr. Orsi Kutasi, DVM, PhD, Dipl.ECEIM

    Chief Veterinary Officer.


  1. Walking for long hours is a treatment. Walking is not directly therapeutic for a colic but helps to draw the attention from the pain and some exercise will also improve intestinal motility. If a horse is relatively comfortable lying down, there’s no real reason to get a horse up just to walk them. Walking for long hours might cause exhaustion in a painful situation and finally worsen the general condition of the animal.
  2. In certain cases, horses that are sensitive to changes in weather conditions can experience colic. Veterinarians and owners frequently associate weather changes with increased frequency of colic. Although some studies have described that weather in the previous 2-7 days might have an influence (like a drop in air pressure or extreme temperature changes) but most of the previous studies have been unable to find statistical proof of increased risk. Cold weather which affects water intake has been linked to increased impaction colic.
  3. Colic surgery: it’s a general misconception to think that colic surgery is an automatic death sentence and horses will not perform at the same level as before. Life expectancy after colic surgery is definitely improving. According to different studies, overall survival rate ranges from 48 percent to 85.0 percent. If the horse survives in the short term it will be able to live a normal life, perform the same level as previously and a mare can have foals There are numerous examples of horses involved in strenuous activities that performed to full potential after colic surgery, even winning races like the Kentucky Derby.
  4. Those horses that never had a colic episode in their first 8-10 years, will never have one. Unfortunately, this is not true. Although researchers found that if your horse colics once, it’s somewhat more likely to have another colic episode in the future but colic can hit any animal unexpectedly. Since colic has so many different causes none of our horses are protected against it.
  5. If you regularly feed oil you can prevent colic and mineral oil should be given to all colic horse. Again: colic has so many different causes that simply softening the gut content with mineral oil will not prevent all types of colic. Mineral oil is only helpful in certain cases of disorders and forcing down oil might even have detrimental effect in some others.