This section is from the book "The Farmers Ready Reference Or Hand Book Of Diseases Of Horses And Cattle", by S. C. Orr. . Also available from Amazon: The Farmer's Ready Reference;.
Although the word colic, in its true sense, signifies pain in the colon, yet popular usage has applied it to pain in any part of the abdomen.
Flatulent colic is the result of acute indigestion and is characterized by an accumulation of gas in the stomach and intestines, accompanied by violent pain. Sometimes it results from the fermentation of food that has been washed or crowded out of the stomach before it had been thoroughly digested; in that case the stomach is not so much involved. This is often the result of feeding grain first and then giving water soon afterward.
Symptoms. - The horse will become uneasy; look back at his sides; paw a few times, then lie down and stretch out upon the ground. As there is no visible bloating the owner is often at a loss to know what the trouble is. Sometimes the animal will get up and stretch out as if to urinate; then the novice pronounces it "stoppage of the water." This is the stage which veterinarians term acute indigestion. The whole trouble lies in the stomach, and, as it is small, the bloating does not show. But in a short time the intestines become involved; the animal bloats; the pains become more violent; the body is covered with perspiration; the breathing becomes difficult and the animal seems about to suffocate in consequence of the stomach and intestines crowding upon the lungs
Treatment. - Give from one to two ounces of sulphuric ether, one ounce of laudanum and one drachm of essence of peppermint in about twelve ounces of water. This dose can be repeated in half an hour and again in one hour from the second dose, if necessary. At the same time copious injections of warm water should be given per rectum. As soon as the animal becomes manageable, from five to eight drachms of aloes, one drachm of calomel and one drachm of gum camphor should be given, either in a ball or a drench. It is not best to push medicines too far. In a prolonged case of colic, where inflammation is feared, a mustard plaster on the abdomen, as recommended in enteritis, will ward it off.