REACT Now to Beat Colic

August 2019

 University of nottingham logo    

Colic is one of the most common emergency problems in the horse.

The British Horse Society and The University of Nottingham teamed up to create the REACT Now to Beat Colic campaign and to help horse owners combat the life-threatening condition of colic. 

Research by The University of Nottingham found that more than 90% of horse owners did not feel confident in spotting early signs of colic. 

The evidence based research also found that colic accounts for one in three emergency veterinary call outs to horses. At least one in ten of these cases may be critical, and up to 80% of these critical cases result in death or the horse being euthanised.

Horse owners, or the main person responsible for the care of horses, play a vital role in recognising the early signs of colic. Colic cases can quickly deteriorate so early recognition and prompt veterinary attention is vital to increase the chance of recovery for the horse. 

If you notice any change in your horse’s behaviour or your horse is showing signs of distress, think REACT and contact your vet:

R   Restless or agitated
E   Eating less or droppings reduced
A   Abdominal pain
C   Clinical changes
T   Tired or lethargic

Are You Prepared For The Worst

Most cases can be resolved relatively quickly with appropriate treatment, but some will be critical with potentially severe consequences. Conditions that affect the blood supply to the intestine become a race against time, and the earlier the problem is recognised and treated, the better the chance of survival.

Are you ready to REACT if your horse needed to be referred to an equine hospital? Would the cost of the hospital treatment be covered by your insurance? If the yard manager can’t contact you do they know what you would want to happen to your horse? Have you got transport or details of 24/7 transport companies? Would you refer your horse or would you decide euthanasia? It is important to make an informed decision rather than a panicked, emotional decision often late at night or in the early hours of the morning. Watch our ‘Are you ready to REACT’ video:

Request Your Pack and Guide

To request your free colic pack and guide which contains a wide range of advice including what to do while you're waiting for the vet and emergency planning contact the Welfare team on 02476 840517* or email

*Calls may be recorded for monitoring purposes

Find Out More

 horse health

 welfare and care work


 Colic case study



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