How To Listen To Horse Gut Sounds

Listen to horse gut sounds — there’s information in those gurgling sounds coming from your horse’s intestines and stomach. Dramatically increased or decreased gut sounds can indicate colic, so listen to your horse’s belly…it might be telling you something!

Practice checking gut sounds when your horse is healthy. That way, you’ll know what’s normal for your horse.

1. Have an assistant hold your horse on a lead rope or tie her in cross ties.
2. Place a stethoscope or your ear against your horse’s belly in front of her flanks.
2. Listen 3 to 5 minutes for a complete cycle of sounds. You should hear two to four quiet gurgles per minute and a loud grumble every three to four minutes.
3. Repeat this procedure on the opposite side. Each side of the horse will have distinct gut sounds.
4. Listen for an increase or decrease in frequency and intensity of gut sounds; this may indicate a problem. Increased gut sounds can mean your horse is suffering from spasmodic or gas colic. A decrease or complete lack of gut sounds can indicate an impaction colic.
5. Call your veterinarian if changes in gut sounds are accompanied by symptoms such as distress, pain, diarrhea, fever or loss of appetite.

Get familiar with your horse’s gut sounds. Learn to recognize any differences or changes so you can spot a dangerous horse colic in its early stages. Early action can improve the outcome of colic.

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