Colic is a RED ALERT!


Colic is undeniably one of the most feared conditions of horses. It can be potentially fatal but, more commonly, horses will respond well to simple treatments for their belly ache. Providing that veterinary advice is sought early and that the appropriate treatments are given, a good outcome is usually achieved.


Recognizing the symptoms of colic is essential for the horse owner. Mild colics may present with merely a decrease in appetite and lethargic attitude. More painful colics will cause more extreme behaviors such as kicking the belly, swinging the head around to the side, dropping and rolling on the ground repeatedly. The belly may become distended and minimal to no manure is being passed. Excessive gas may also be present. Gut sounds may be evident in one or two of the quandrants of the gut but silent in others or may totally be absent. Mucous membranes may either be pale or darkened and the capillary refill time might be delayed. Pain will increase respiration and pulse; temperature may or may not be present.

Remove any feed from access by the horse.

If the horse is showing mild discomfort or gassy condition walking the horse may help help to relieve the pain, especially when accompanied with one of the treatments listed below. Horses in extreme discomfort will throw themselves on the ground and thrash about. This is not a safe situations for a handler. If the horse cannot be safely kept on its feet, leave him down until the veterinarian arrives. Do not administer pain-relieving medications without your veterinarian’s advice as doing so can mask the symptoms thus making it difficult for your vet to assess your horse’s condition accurately.

While waiting for the vet to arrive there are several things you can do to help relieve your horse’s discomfort and, even, totally relieve the episode entirely.


There are several remedies that can help a colicky horse. Each remedy is chosen according to the individual’s particular symptoms.  Chose the remedy according to the keynotes listed below.


Primary Use: Gastrointestinal disorders such as ulcers or colic, especially when accompanied by anxiety and mental or physical restlessness.

The symptoms of pain in the GI tract, typically a burning sensation, are very close to the pain that horses with ulcers experience, and Arsenicum is a very useful remedy in the treatment of ulcers. Arsenicum is a remedy that corresponds to food poisoning. The type of colic that responds to Arsenicum may be brought on by eating contaminated or poor-quality feed as in “ moldy feed enteritis”. The colic often comes on suddenly.

The horse that needs Arsenicum might have a watery, foul-smelling diarrhea. Additionally, the stool might burn or break down the tissue around the anus. The smell is described as cadaverous—like a dead animal. The diarrhea can be dark or contain blood. The discharges associated with Arsenicum are putrid and excoriating—meaning they irritate the healthy tissue that comes in contact with the discharge. The horse might be thirsty but will only take frequent small amounts of water.

The horse that needs Arsenicum gets up and down and frequently changes positions. If the horse is in an advanced Arsenicum state he may be weak and down on the ground, but still making small movements of the limbs and head (the restlessness is so typical of this remedy). The abdomen might be drawn up. Arsenicum symptoms are generally worse from 11:00 PM to 3:00 AM. Horses that need Arsenicum can be very anxious and are calmed by the presence of people or other horses. They do not want to be alone. They are comforted by help and attention from others.

General indications or modalities:

  • Worse from sight or smell of food
  • Worse from around midnight to 3:00 am
  • Worse from cold water, watery fruits; infections; exertion.
  • Better from warm food or drink, warm blankets, warm stall
  • Better from gentle walking, the company of humans or horses; lying with head raised.

Conditions that respond to Arsenicum:

Ulcers of the GI tract, especially in nervous horses; colic, particularly when brought on after eating contaminated food, intussusception of bowel; diarrhea, vomiting. In most cases of Arsenicum the horse will be restless, fearful, thirsty and chilly. –

Dosage: Give one dose every three hours for diarrhea, pain and restlessness. For severe, acute conditions the remedy can be given every ten or fifteen minutes. Stop when you see improvement and do not repeat again until symptoms recur.


 Primary use: Colic with spasms

This is the first remedy to think of in a colicky horse with strong spasms that come and go in episodes. The pains might be quite violent with severe cramping. This pain makes the horse want to twist and look at or bite its flank. The horse might throw itself on the ground, hunch up or try to get into a position where it is able to double over, bending to compress its stomach. Compressing the abdomen brings some relief from the gassy distention. The horse’s abdomen will feel full, tight and distended. The Colocynthus colic makes the horse restlessly search for a position to alleviate the pain. He might try and lay down to roll, arch the back or he might gnash his teeth. The horse can be quite irritable with this kind of painful spastic colic and might prefer to be left alone.

General indications or modalities:

  • Worse from cold, damp weather, drinking cold water after overheating
  • Worse from eating and drinking
  • Worse from anger and frustration, irritable
  • Better from doubling over, pressure on the abdomen, lying on the stomach
  • Better from heat and gentle motion after passing gas or manure

Conditions that respond to Colocynthus:

Colic with strong spasms; acute digestive affections; spasms of any muscle; neuralgic pain such as sciatica, especially on the left side –

Dosage: Give one dose and repeat as frequently as every five minutes to reduce the extreme pain and spasms. As the horse is becoming more comfortable the doses can be spread out. Stop when you see notable improvement and do not repeat again until symptoms recur.


Primary use : Colic or indigestion from bad food or water or overeating in horses with an irritable temperament.

Horses that need Nux vomica have an irritable and sensitive temperament. They might be overly sensitive to noise, light and other stimulus. When in pain they are jumpy, angry, or they can be depressed and resentful and not want to be touched.

The type of colic that responds to Nux vomica is often brought on by overeating, or eating bad food or water. There might be strong spastic contractions, and urging without the ability to pass manure. The bowels might be blocked and strong spasms and straining are the result. In addition there might be intestinal rumbling and gurgling. The intestines can also be bloated. Constipation, nausea, retching, diarrhea and intussusception (the dangerous telescoping of the bowel) all are symptoms that might be helped by Nux vomica.

The horse that needs Nux vomica is often in a bad mood and is very sensitive to any kind of stimulus including touch, noise and light and strong odors. They often walk around slowly, are restless and might want to press their heads against the wall of their stall. Others might lie down and look repeatedly at the flank. Think of this remedy if there is restlessness, sensitivity, and indigestion. Another Nux vomica scenario might occur in show or performance horses that are given a diet of rich grains and then confined to a stall for long periods.

Nus vomica is also a good remedy for exposure to toxins, poisonous plants or drugs. Generally these exposures will result in the typical Nux vomica picture of spasms, sensitivity and irritability.

General indications or modalities:

  • Indigestion or colic with strong spasms
  • Constipation with straining
  • Dull pain or violent pains
  • Irritated and worse from touch. Worse at 3-4 am.
  • The horse is chilly and might be better from heat or hot poultices
  • Better from strong pressure Better after a nap.

Conditions that respond to Nux vomica

Indigestion from overeating or bad food or water;

impaction colic in horses; spasms of the gut with rumbling and gurgling; constipation or straining to make stool. Nux vomica also helps reverse negative effects from drugs or drug overdose. Can be useful after overexertion. –

Dosage : Give one dose every 10 minutes or more frequently if symptoms are severe. Reduce dosage to one time a day. Stop when you see improvement and do not repeat again until symptoms recur.

GASSY COLICS :  Go here:



[Click on link to go to pdf instructional] ~Linda Tellington Jones

TTOUCH can be used in conjunction with HOMEOPATHY. The techniques used can help to relieve spasms, anxiety as well as help to relieve your horse’s discomfort.


Applying Acupressure to help relieve discomfort can be an effective therapy for the quiet horse. TTOUCH also affects some of the acupressure points. Below is a chart showing the COLIC POINTS for application of acupressure:






Essential Oils can be a powerful first aide tool for your barn.  They are easy to use and horses react very well to them.  You can often find pre-assembled emergency first aide kits online or can create your own.  The recommended essential oils for a horse colic are:

  • Di-Gize Essential Oil – a blend of eight different essential oils and is known to aide relaxation, the prevention of diarrhea, intestinal spasms, digesting toxic material as well as provide an overall soothing effect on the digestive system.
  • Peppermint Essential Oil – good for headaches and upset stomach.
  • Ginger Essential Oil – good for digestive upsets, used as a heart tonic and aides in circulation.
  • Tarragon Essential Oil – good to combat digestive conditions, indigestion, hiccups, urinary tract infections and menstrual problems.

One response to “COLIC

  1. Pingback: Natural Remedies To Relieve Colic In Horses – Natural Horse Care Tips | AnimalTalk Blog, Val Heart & Friends, Animal Communication Tips & Animal Care·

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