Following the success of the previous Colic Awareness Week’s, The British Horse Society (BHS) and the University of Nottingham have announced its return for 2022, with the educational week running from Monday 3 to Sunday 9 October, as part of the ‘REACT Now to Beat Colic’ campaign.

The week aims to raise awareness of the importance of recognising the early signs of colic so that veterinary assistance, diagnosis and treatment can be sought quickly for this potentially fatal condition.

Throughout the week, The BHS and the University of Nottingham’s School of Veterinary Medicine and Science will be providing information, encouraging conversations, and focusing on emergency planning and decision making. Veterinary practices across the country that are part of The BHS and the university’s ‘Vet REACT Colic Champions scheme’ will also be raising awareness of colic by sharing information with their clients.

The campaign was first launched in 2019 as a result of five years of research by the University’s School of Veterinary Medicine and Science that found 90 percent of horse owners did not feel confident spotting the early signs of colic. In addition to this, up to one in three cases of colic seen by vets as an ‘out of hours’ emergency were critical, requiring urgent veterinary care. Of these critical cases, more than 80 percent of horses were put down or died.


The charity has created a simple acronym, REACT, to help horse owners spot any early signs of colic:

  • R – Restless or agitated
  • E – Eating less or dropping reduced
  • A – Abdominal pain
  • C – Clinical changes
  • T – Tired or lethargic

“The British Horse Society are delighted to bring you our third year of Colic Awareness Week,” said Gabrielle Madders, Welfare Campaigns Officer at the BHS. “With the fantastic support of the University of Nottingham’s School of Veterinary Medicine and Science, we will be providing horse owners and yard managers the tools needed to encourage conversations around colic and help ensure the necessary steps are in place to protect every horse’s welfare.’

“Our free resource packs, available upon request via the BHS website or by visiting us at the Horse of The Year Show, provide easy to follow guidance on recognising the signs of colic and reducing the risks, which can be clearly displayed around the yard. The pack will also include our care and emergency plan which allows owners to research and consider what they would want to happen in certain circumstances, ensuring an informed decision can be made in advance, rather than a panicked, emotional decision if faced with an emergency.”

Sarah Freeman, Professor of Veterinary Surgery at the School of Veterinary Medicine and Science, University of Nottingham, said the school was delighted to be continuing its collaboration with the BHS and support of Colic Awareness Week.

“Our work together on the REACT campaign is essential in our fight against colic,” she said. “In this year’s Colic Awareness Week, we are encouraging ‘conversations about colic’. We will be sharing facts and information, asking people to talk about their worries and questions, and focusing on decisions and planning ahead. This means that if your horse has colic, or you have to make emergency decisions in the future, you are prepared to make the best choices for your horse.”

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