Myth: Don't let a horse roll, he may twist his gut.
Fact: This just does not happen. Veterinarians do not know why horses twist their guts. Your horse is rolling because he wants to lie down. When you have a belly ache, you lie down don't you?
It has been beaten into our minds over the years that horses need to be walked and not allowed to roll or they will twist their intestines when they are colicky. Truth is this just does not happen.
Truth is, we do not know why the intestines twist in horses. Horses have intestines that are free moving within the abdomen, but they are held in place mostly by the surrounding intestine and rarely twist.
The truth is the horse with the twisted intestine rolls around a lot because the intestine is twisted, not the other way around. The majority of colics that we see as veterinarians are what we refer to as gas or tympanic colics.
These colics usually respond to walking or a ride in the trailer. I like to refer to the later as Dr Gooseneck. If those are nonresponsive to the walking or trailer ride, most will respond to a dose of analgesic administered by your veterinarian.
It is perfectly acceptable for the horse to lie down and rest if it will. Do not force your horse to walk. The only thing this accomplishes is that both you and your horse will be tired and stressed when the vet arrives. If your horse is in danger of hurting himself because of rolling take him outside and place him in a large, softer area and wait for the vet.
One final thought, use your best judgment.
Ryan D. Rothenbuhler DVM, MS, DACVS Head of Surgery Conley and Koontz Equine Hospital 2249 South 500 East Columbia City, Indiana 46725 (877) 499-9909