The term colic is applied loosely to almost all diseases of the organs of the abdomen, that are accompanied by pain.
If the horse evinces abdominal pain, he is likely to be put down as suffering with colic, no matter whether the difficulty be a cramp of the bowel, an internal hernia, overloading of the stomach, or a painful disease of the bladder or liver.
Since these conditions differ so much in their causation and their nature, it is manifestly absurd to treat them alike and to expect the same drugs or procedures to relieve them all. Therefore it is important that the various diseased states that are so roughly classed together as colic shall, so far as possible, be separated and individualized in order that appropriate treatments can be prescribed.
With this abject in view, colics will be considered under the following headings: (1) Engorgement colic, (2) obstruction colic, (3) tympanitic colic, (4) spasmodic colic, (5) worm colic.
The general symptoms of abdominal pain, and therefore of colic, are restlessness, lying down, looking around toward the flank, kicking with the hind feet upward and forward toward the belly, jerky switching. of the tail, stretching as though to urinate, frequent change of position, and groaning.
In the more intense forms the horse plunges about, throws himself down, rolls, asumes unnatural positions, as sitting on the haunches, and grunts loudly. Usually the pain is not constant, and during the intermissions the horse may eat and appear normal. During the period of pain sweat is poured out freely.
Sometimes the horse moves constantly in a circle. The respirations are accelerated, and usually there is no fever.