Horsey Friday Fun Facts – Caution: Belly Aches May Be
Belly aches may be fatal? Awwww, c’mon now! How can a belly ache be fatal?
Sure, to a human or other animal, belly aches are not deadly, but to a horse, it can be.
In a horse, a belly ache is called “colic”. This is a horse person’s largest nightmare.
The reason it can be deadly, is because horses have small stomachs. This is why they continuously graze and can only eat small meals frequently. If a horse overeats, which can happen if the horse manages to break into the feed room, the high levels of digestive gases paralyze the muscle that allows food to continue to travel through the digestive tract. The blockage can then cause the stomach to rupture. This can also happen if the horse eats bad feed, since the horse’s stomach tends to be sensitive.
If the horse starts to roll on the ground in pain, the intestines can get twisted, which will cut off the blood supply there, causing it to rupture.
Colic tends to be more common during the winter months, when horses drink less water and there is less moisture in the stored winter hay, causing impactions.
Sometimes, colic can be treated at the farm. If it is more serious, surgery may be needed, which are sometimes successful.