Colic Risk Rater

Colic Risk Rater logo
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What is Colic Prevention?

The term ‘prevention’ means taking certain measures that are within our control in order to lower the risk of developing a disease. Colic is a catch-all term that is indicative of any number of gastrointestinal diseases as well as non-gastrointestinal issues that can be exhibited as colic (signs of abdominal pain). Colic, like many other diseases, can be caused by a combination of different factors, some of which are under our control (management) and others (environment, age, breed) that are not. It is often difficult to single out single causative factors. The goal of colic prevention is to be aware of the risk factors, especially those that are under your control (i.e. management) that increase your colic risk. Once we are aware, we can implement changes that will lower the risk. We can lower the risk of colic, but cannot eliminate it altogether.

Estimating Colic Risk

The information that is provided in the Colic Risk Rater is based on current scientific studies on colic risk factors. Each question in the Colic Risk Rater is assigned a numerical value that represents the strength of the association between a particular risk factor and colic. The Colic Risk Rater may not include certain risk factors that have ‘anecdotal’ evidence suggesting increased colic risk, but scientific literature hasn’t been able to show a consistent link between those risk factors and colic. For questions marked with asterisk, Equine Guelph’s veterinarian review committee assigned a risk level based on their experience and is therefore considered only to be an estimate.


Equine Guelph’s Colic Risk Rater is an educational tool and is intended for information purposes to provide a broad understanding of colic prevention. The Colic Risk Rater cannot predict whether your horse will colic. Your colic risk assessment is an estimate of your chances based on current scientific studies. It provides guidelines of colic risk factors and should never replace information from your veterinarian.

More information on the science behind the Colic Risk Rater
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Investment in this project has been provided by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada through the Canadian Agricultural Adaptation Program (CAAP). In Ontario, this program is delivered by the Agricultural Adaptation Council.
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