After tubing, a rectal examination is usually performed (if possible). This exam allows your vet to feel for any possible displacement, twist or other cause of colic. It is not extremely accurate as we can only feel approximately one-third of the abdomen in a normal sized horse, but a lot of information can still be obtained.
Depending on the physical exam, response to pain medications, findings from passing the tube and rectal palpation, your veterinarian may be able to give you a probable diagnosis and treatment plan. Treatment plans may consist of giving IV fluids or further pain medications. While most colics can be handled on the farm, there are some that must be referred to a surgical center for correction.
While this article could not cover all types and treatments of colic, it will hopefully help you understand what to watch for and what your veterinarian is doing during his or her visit.
Questions for Ask a Vet can be asked either by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org, by regular mail to Dr. Weldy’s Associates, 114 N. Elkhart, P.O. Box 527, Wakarusa, IN 46573, or by visiting the web site at drweldys.com