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Understanding and Treating Colic

PETA’s clinic in Petra, Jordan, treats many patients for colic, but what is colic exactly?

Colic—commonly caused by problems in the digestive tract—is a broad term used to describe any form of abdominal pain. Read the cases below about donkeys Zouzou and Belinda to get a better understanding of how it’s treated.

Zouzou’s owner rushed him to the clinic after finding him rolling on the ground in pain.

For donkeys with stomach pains, rolling around on the ground is a sign of severe colic.

Upon examination, staff found that the donkey had a rock-hard stomach and a rapid heartbeat, so they quickly began providing him with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to help ease his pain. The clinic’s veterinarian then vented his stomach by inserting a tube to relieve any excess gas and fluids and started an IV to help get things moving. After relieving himself and passing a lot of gas, Zouzou began feeling much better. Once he had a chance to finish a course of antibiotics and recover, he was discharged in good health.

When the call to help Belinda came in late one night, clinic staff rushed to her location and quickly administered pain relief. With no sign of a rectal obstruction, they inserted a tube into her stomach to try to relieve any excess gas and fluids. She was taken back to the clinic for a regimen of antibiotics, healthy meals, and fresh water daily and will soon be discharged.

The image on the left is of a veterinarian at the Petra clinic treating Belinda, and the image on the right shows her being treated at the clinic with an IV.

After seeing an increasing number of animals suffering from colic, clinic staff have launched a preventive educational campaign. Today, they’re talking to owners and handlers about bonding with animals and the importance of watching for symptoms like irregular bowel movements, weight loss or gain, and lack of appetite. They stress the importance of proper diets, such as feeding animals filling, nutritious meals so that they don’t resort to eating trash, which can cause or exacerbate the issue. The clinic also provides a foodbank so that owners who are struggling financially can rely on that. These simple steps can ensure that animals have the lowest possible risk of experiencing colic.

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