Clinical signs

There are many different clinical signs of colic, which can occur alone or in combination.

The clinical signs below are the signs which were considered to occur most frequently. They are listed according to rankings, with the most common signs first. This is NOT an exhaustive list of all possible signs of colic, but represents the clinical signs that vets and owners agreed were most commonly seen when horses first present with colic.




Changes in defaecation


Sources of evidence

There is no level 1 or 2 evidence on the primary assessment of colic in the horse. The recommendations are based on outcomes of multi-disciplinary workshops and surveys of owners and veterinary practitioners with experience of colic. Statements were voted on by vets with experience of colic, accepted if >75% agreement on statements.

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