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It's important to treat all cases of colic as if they were the fatal types, since often the fatal types show the same symptoms as the minor conditions. Symptoms of colic are:
If you notice your horse is showing signs of colic it's important to immediately remove all food and water from your horse's location and place a call to your veterinarian. It can be difficult, if not impossible, to tell the difference between lesser and fatal forms of colic, so all forms should be addressed with the utmost importance.
Be prepared to tell your vet about any abnormalities you may have detected with your horse recently, such as changes in appetite and/or the passage of manure. If your horse was recently subjected to a change in atmosphere or introduced to a new feed or exercise program make sure you note that too.
If your horse is behaving violently these next steps may not be possible, but sometimes the veterinarian will ask you if you were able to check the horse's temperature, pulse and capillary refill time (press your fingers on the horse's gum, release and count the seconds until the gum returns to its normal color). Don't worry if you cannot take these tests before the vet arrives; chances are he will be performing them too.
Horses may lie quietly or roll around when they are in the midst of a colic, and your reaction will differ based on which your horse does. If your horse is resting fairly quietly, it's safe to allow him to lie down while you wait for the veterinarian to arrive. Make sure your horse doesn't try to roll on the floor; if he does start rolling try to make him stand up and walk him slowly. The same holds true if your horse repeatedly lies down and stands up – try to make him walk slowly instead. Don't overexert your horse in either case since the goal is to prevent him from rolling, not stress him even further.
Once your vet arrives he will be able to evaluate the situation and try to determine both the form of colic as well as the appropriate steps to take to resolve the condition.
Read Preventing Horse Colic to learn the preventative measures you can take to combat colic.