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Colic Treatment

Equine Medical Center experts have been at the forefront of equine colic treatment, research, and scholarship for several decades. Horses treated for colic at our hospital receive outstanding care and benefit from world-renowned expertise, state-of-the-art diagnostic testing, and 24/7 emergency and critical care services.

A horse is described as suffering from colic when it shows signs of experiencing abdominal pain. Causes of colic vary from a simple case of gas to a serious problem, such as a twisted intestine that requires surgical correction. When surgery is needed, early referral gives our experts the best chance to successfully treat your horse.

Colic emergenices

  • Call 703-771-6800 to alert us of your estimated time of arrival at the Equine Medical Center.
  • Our clinicians will need to know the type and quantity of drugs that have already been administered and the time they were given, if possible.
  • During regular business hours, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., follow the EMERGENCY signs along the center's driveway and park in the trailer parking area at the end of the paved road. Please leave your horse on the trailer, and enter the admissions office to check in.
  • For after-hours emergency, call 703-771-6800. Please leave your horse on the trailer until you are in contact with a hospital staff member. If a staff member is not able to greet you outside, please ring the buzzer at the large silver garage door next to the admissions office to alert a staff member of your arrival.

Recommendation from our experts

  • Bring your horse to the Equine Medical Center at the earliest opportunity. Early referral gives your horse the best chance for recovery and reduces the cost of treatment.
  • The decision for surgery is best made at the hospital where our experts and staff can thoroughly evaluate your horse.
  • The symptoms of colic vary widely depending on the cause and the individual horse’s temperament and tolerance for pain. Whether your horse is experiencing constant severe pain or seems fine one minute and in significant pain the next, prompt evaluation by a colic expert will ensure an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment protocol.

Appointments and referrals: 703-771-6800

To schedule an appointment, refer a patient, or inquire about our clinical services, please call 703-771-6800 or email

Dr. MacDonald examining a patient