How to Cure Cramps in Ponies and Horses (with Pictures)

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How to Cure Cramps in Ponies and Horses (with Pictures)
How to Cure Cramps in Ponies and Horses (with Pictures)

If you suspect that your horse is exhibiting strange behavior, such as rolling on the ground, kicking or kicking in the belly, or refusing food and water, he may have colic. Colic is more of a symptom than an illness. Many problems can cause discomfort in this region and they are all classified as colic. Like stomach pain in humans, colic is common, but it can cause various complications in the gastrointestinal tract of the horse or pony. Consult a veterinarian as soon as possible as the animal may need to be operated on depending on the cause. It is important to identify and cure the illness before it gets out of hand.


Part 1 of 2: Diagnosing and Treating Colic

Cure Colic in Horses and Ponies Step 1

Step 1. Know the symptoms of colic

They can vary depending on the severity of the pain. The pain is located in the belly, but the horse may show signs that do not automatically point to the area.

  • Mild colic can make the horse restless, kicking the ground, for example. The animal may also be twisting its mouth or looking back.
  • In moderate cases, he may want to lie down more often. Also, you may need to urinate more often.
  • In severe cases, the horse may start to roll on the ground making sudden movements. There may also be an increase in breathing speed and the amount of sweating.
  • Symptoms of gas colic, specifically, include loud sounds in the abdominal region and intermittent pain in the bowel.
  • Impact colic can prevent the horse from defecating and he may refuse to eat. In addition, there is also pain in the abdomen. Horses need to stool at least six times in a 24-hour period, so keep an eye out if you think the animal is colicky.
Cure Colic in Horses and Ponies Step 2

Step 2. Measure his temperature

A horse's normal temperature should be between 37 and 38 °C. For the measurement it is possible to use a rectal equine thermometer. If it is high, this is another sign that indicates the possibility of colic.

Cure Colic in Horses and Ponies Step 3

Step 3. Have the animal stand up and walk

Only try to treat him on his own if he is showing symptoms of mild colic. If he is already in a moderate or severe stage, take the next step, which is to call the vet. The first step in treating the horse alone is to get it moving.

Walk with it for about 30 minutes. This can help if the cause of colic is gas. Walking is also a way to distract you from the pain. However, don't overdo the time, as he can get tired if he is already feeling bad

Cure Colic in Horses and Ponies Step 4

Step 4. Know when to call the vet

If the horse keeps looking around all the time and even trying to bite that spot, it's time to call an expert.

  • Other symptoms that show that it is time to call the veterinarian are: the horse wants to lie down a lot, does not eat and does not defecate.
  • Also take this attitude if the horse's pulse is higher than 50 beats per minute.
Cure Colic in Horses and Ponies Step 5

Step 5. Remove all food sources

Colic is usually linked to the animal's diet, so it is important to keep it away from all possible risks before the cause is identified. If the colic is caused by a compaction in the colon, adding more food to the intestine will not help.

Cure Colic in Horses and Ponies Step 6

Step 6. Let the professional do the work

When the vet arrives, he or she will perform a thorough examination, but will likely not be able to pinpoint the exact cause. However, he will know how to say the seriousness of the problem and the best treatment.

  • Be prepared to answer questions about routine, administration of dewormers and type of food.
  • The veterinarian may perform a rectal exam or an abdominal paracentesis. Abdominal paracentesis is a procedure in which a horse is sedated and a tube is passed through the horse's nose and into the stomach. This procedure can help in two ways. It can be found out if there is fluid in the stomach (which needs to be drained), and it is also a way to give the horse mineral oil, which can relieve the obstruction through lubrication. Also, paracentesis can be a way to hydrate the horse.
  • Rectal exams allow the veterinarian to know if there are bowel problems, such as by palpating to see if there is compaction.
Cure Colic in Horses and Ponies Step 7

Step 7. Start giving painkillers

Depending on the cause, the veterinarian may administer pain-relieving drugs such as pain relievers (flunixin is an example). Most horses need some kind of pain reliever. In addition, laxatives may be prescribed. The mineral oil mentioned in the previous step is an example of a laxative that can be used to treat compaction.

Cure Colic in Horses and Ponies Step 8

Step 8. Ask about intravenous therapy

If the horse is severely dehydrated, the veterinarian may administer intravenous serum to aid in the hydration process. You may need to change the bag at some point, so ask your veterinarian for advice if you're not sure how to do it.

Cure Colic in Horses and Ponies Step 9

Step 9. Check when you can go back to feeding the horse

In the case of compaction, he needs to run out of food until the end of the problem. Ask your veterinarian how long you need to wait after the horse has defecated before you can feed it, or if you need to watch for any specific signs of feeding it again.

Cure Colic in Horses and Ponies Step 10

Step 10. Take it easy when returning to horse activities

Once the symptoms have gone, you can exercise it again. However, don't put it to work for a full day at first. Slowly reintroduce him to the routine of activities while he continues to recover.

Cure Colic in Horses and Ponies Step 11

Step 11. Understand that surgery may be necessary

Colic can often be resolved with treatments from the veterinarian in your own stable. However, if the animal has a problem such as gastric torsion, it will likely need to go to the hospital and undergo surgery.

  • It's not just because the veterinarian said in a hospital that the horse will need surgery. At the hospital, professionals will first check how the treatment is working to find out if he really needs the procedure. If not, the hospital will provide more intensive care in severe cases.
  • In some cases, the horse needs to be euthanized because of the severity of the colic. However, this prospect is less likely with the advancement of current medicine.
Cure Colic in Horses and Ponies Step 12

Step 12. Continue to assess the horse

Check it every two hours after your initial treatment to make sure your symptoms have subsided. If not, call the vet again.

Cure Colic in Horses and Ponies Step 13

Step 13. Familiarize yourself and know the types of colic

Pain can appear in different ways. From compaction to gas and other illnesses, the causes of colic vary widely.

  • Compaction happens when food blocks a portion of the intestine. This hurts the horse, as the intestines try to get the food to move, but they can't.
  • Another type of colic is caused by gas. Gas is part of the horse's routine, but sometimes an exaggerated amount can create discomfort as it expands the intestines.
  • A third type is caused by what are known as "bowel accidents," that is, injuries to the abdominal organs, such as a sprain or gastric dislocation.
  • Stomach and bowel disease can also cause colic. For example, ulcers and colitis cause colic symptoms.
  • "False" or secondary colic is when the horse has symptoms of colic, but the cause is located outside the abdomen, such as laminitis (hoof disease) or bladder stones.

Part 2 of 2: Preventing Colic

Cure Colic in Horses and Ponies Step 14

Step 1. Provide plenty of fresh water

One of the causes of compaction can be dehydration. Horses need constant water; without water for an hour or two can cause problems. Ensuring it is fresh is important as animals may not drink water that is not as fresh as they would like.

Cure Colic in Horses and Ponies Step 15

Step 2. Schedule regular dental care

Dental health is important to having healthy horses. Good teeth allow the horse to chew properly, which decreases the chance of compaction.

Cure Colic in Horses and Ponies Step 16

Step 3. Provide a sufficient amount of fiber

They need fiber to make food move through the digestive system correctly. So ensure the horse has access to fresh hay or let it graze every day.

Cure Colic in Horses and Ponies Step 17

Step 4. Provide food in tubs

If you feed on the ground, the horse might accidentally eat other things. If he eats too many of these other particles, his intestines can become clogged. For example, he might ingest a lot of sand along with the hay, which would cause problems.

Cure Colic in Horses and Ponies Step 18

Step 5. Exercise it regularly

Regular exercise sets up a routine for the horse and helps move the horse's intestines. Don't forget to encourage him to exercise at least once a day.

Cure Colic in Horses and Ponies Step 19

Step 6. Deworm the animal regularly

Some horses need dewormers every day, while others don't. Your veterinarian can help you figure out what's best for you. This procedure helps to control parasites, and excess parasites can sometimes cause equine cramps.

Ask your veterinarian about deworming foals as they may need special treatment


It can be difficult to find the exact cause based on the severity of symptoms, so call your veterinarian to get a professional diagnosis


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