Colic Surgery Aftercare

Your horse will have quite a large wound where the vet has made an incision into the abdominal wall.

It is important to monitor the wound throughout the healing process.

Try to keep the area clean, do not apply anything to the wound unless otherwise instructed by your vet.

Box Rest

Horses should be on strict box rest for 8 weeks.

This is so you can monitor your horse throughout the healing process of the wound.

It also allows the body wall to regain in strength, therefore reducing the risk of a hernia.

You can monitor how your horse is coping post surgery i.e. eating/drinking, well in themselves, passing faeces.

You can hand walk your horse and let it graze 2-3 times daily for 5-10 minutes.


Reintroduction to exercise

After 8 weeks box rest you should make an appointment where the vet will be able to advise whether to start introducing exercise.

If the vet is happy your horse is progressing well, turn out your horse into a small paddock for up to 8 weeks (preferably with no other horses).

After 8 weeks in the field your horse may gradually return to ridden work.


Feeding your horse

Feed minimal or no concentrates (hard feed), if your horse is on a supplement or previous medicines try just using a fibre based feed i.e. Chop, Alfa-A, Happy Hoof rather than cereal based (mix, oats, barley).

Feed haylage/hay, little and often. Horses are 'trickle feeders' and their digestive system is designed with this in mind. Do not overfeed your horse and put unnecessary strain on the digestive system.

Make any changes to your feed/forage gradually, ideally over a period of 2-3 weeks. This gives the digestive system plenty of time to adapt to new foods.

Provide constant access to fresh water.


Things to look for

Swelling around the wound will be present when you collect your horse from surgery.

Check the wound daily for excessive swelling, discharge from the wound or re-opening of the wound.

Any exercise that prematurely increases strain on the incision (e.g. bucking, rearing, galloping), increases the risk of a hernia forming at the surgical site. A hernia is where the abdominal wall incision separates, causing intestines to create a 'bulge' of skin. Although not life-threatening, incisional hernias are a cosmetic blemish and many require expensive surgical repair.

More signs of colic e.g. pawing the ground, rolling, sweating, not passing faeces, restless.


If you see any of the signs above please do not hesitate to contact the office and a vet will advise the best course of action.