Saturday, February 9, 2008

Expert Opinion - Colic

"Horses with colic may need either medical or surgical treatments. Almost all require some form of medical treatment."--Merck Veterinary Manual, Colic in Horses

A New York City carriage died in its stable on Friday, February 8, and colic is said to be the presumptive cause. Colic is a major cause of death in adult horses, and a cause for ongoing vigilance. David Freeman, a specialist equine veterinarian at the University of Oklahoma, has cautioned that periods of intense exercise followed by periods when the horse is simply standing around--coupled with limits on the horse's access to small and infrequent amounts of water--increase risks of colic as well as heat stroke.

A horse with colic may show symptoms, the most of common of which include pawing repeatedly with a front foot, looking back at the flank region, curling the upper lip and arching the neck, repeatedly raising a rear leg or kicking at the abdomen.

The manifestations of colic--and the clinical evaluation of the extent of the disorder--are extremely complex. Yet the clinical examination is essential, owing partly to the necessity to differentiate colic from acute obstruction. Horses have relatively small stomachs, and they can neither vomit nor regurgitate, according to clinical texts. Caretakers must maintain a high index of suspicion for potentially deadly disorders such as colic. This requires keen insight. (And you've got to like horses, too.)

We are told repeatedly that the New York City horses are well tended, have plenty of water and high-quality food, and lotsa love. We're even supposed to believe that the horses get farm vacations.
Carolyn, was a vet even called? (No, I mean before the horse died in agony). I look forward to hearing your fancy version of this story. Here's a hint: it happened at the Clinton Park Stables on W. 52nd Street.

I have a morbid curiosity, and so I took a stroll along Central Park South today, looking for signs of drinking water. Why don't you do the same? Heck, let's all take a walk and check out the drinking water.

No comments: