• Advanced pre-operative work-up to determine if surgery is necessary
  • 24/7 Emergency care at Palm Beach Equine
  • High rate of return to performance


‘Colic’ is a broad term referring to any version of abdominal pain in the horse.  For fermentation and digestion of fibrous feedstuffs, horses have a large (and relatively loosely attached) gastrointestinal tract.  Likely a result of this anatomy, horses are over-represented when compared to humans and other species in their incidence of acute gastrointestinal problems and crises.  Most causes of colic are simply medical issues related to gas, minor displacement, feed impaction, etc.  However, some cases result in strangulation of intestine and present a true emergency where surgery is critical to save the life of the horse.

It is critically important to differentiate horses that need surgery from horses that can be managed with medical care. When necessary, colic surgery must be performed rapidly – we perform emergency surgeries 24/7. Surgical procedures range from simple repositioning of the intestine, all the way to advanced resection and anastomosis (cutting out devitalized intestine and re-joining healthy segments).  Diligent post-operative management, including incisional support and physical therapy is an integral component of surgical case management and most of our patients return to full athletic performance.

Colic from partially strangulated small intestine, quick intervention yielded a good recovery without resection.

Colic with large colon exteriorized.

Post-op colic with belly bandage for incisional support.

Tumor of the intestines, removed at surgery.


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