Centre for Evidence-based Veterinary Medicine

Nottingham Equine Colic Project

The colic project is comprised of a number of postgraduate projects (both PhD and MRes) with common interests about colic in horses.  The primary PhD study described key features of colic cases in horses at primary presentation and evaluated how these relate to diagnosis and outcome.

The following papers have been published from this research:

  1. Prospective study of the primary evaluation of 1016 horses with clinical signs of abdominal pain by veterinary practitioners, and the differentiation of critical and non-critical cases
  2. Prospective survey of veterinary practitioners' primary assessment of equine colic: Clinical signs, diagnoses, and treatment of 120 cases of large colon impaction
  3. Veterinary practitioners' selection of diagnostic tests for the primary evaluation of colic in the horse
colic horse

Following this initial research a second PhD project was undertaken which began with survey of equine yard owners. This study identified colic as a concerning and important condition and a focus for further investigation. A specific colic centred questionnaire was then developed with the aim of assessing the baseline knowledge of typical horse owners and identification of the aspects of colic that horse owners find challenging. This research underpins the Nottingham Equine Colic Project’s 'REACT to beat colic' owner campaign, run in partnership with the British Horse Society, which was awarded the 2017 Veterinary Record Evidence Award. In addition, evaluation of out of hour’s cases seen at two first opinion practices is underway, with colic and wounds highlighted as the two most commonly seen emergencies in primary care practice. 

A Masters of Research project is currently assessing the impact of educational resources on the recognition and diagnosis of horses with clinical signs of colic. Using a survey based approach, this study will focus upon the ‘REACT to beat colic’ campaign for owners and the ‘Vet React’ campaign for veterinary professionals. Additionally, this project will investigate how telephone calls relating to equine abdominal pain are currently being triaged within veterinary practice and how educational resources can be used to support key team members. The results from this project are currently being analysed.

Contacts: Adelle Bowden, Sarah Freeman, John Burford, Gary England, Katie Lightfoot 


Centre for Evidence-based Veterinary Medicine

School of Veterinary Medicine and Science
University of Nottingham, Sutton Bonington Campus
Leicestershire, LE12 5RD

Tel: +44 (0) 115 951 6576
Fax: +44 (0) 115 951 6415
Email: CEVM@nottingham.ac.uk