Horse Side Vet Guide ®

Equine Health Resource

Abdomen or Belly is Rumbling Loudly

Code Green - Contact Your Vet to Obtain Useful Advice & Resources

Code Green - Contact Your Vet to Obtain Useful Advice & Resources

  • To discuss your equine's general health and management.
  • If the horse's appetite and attitude are normal and you see nothing else wrong.
  • If the results of the Whole Horse Exam (WHE) suggest the horse is otherwise normal.

Intestinal motility and the corresponding intestinal sounds increase when a horse is eating, is hungry, or is exposed to feed. This is a normal reflex, as it is in people.

Occasionally a horse’s intestinal sounds are so loud that they can be heard from a few feet away. This commonly occurs in a horse that has experienced a feed or management change or has intestinal upset. Loud abdominal sounds can also be heard coming from normal, healthy horses.


Assess your horse’s general health using the Whole Horse Exam (WHE), paying particular attention to attitude, appetite and appearance of the manure. Also assess the character of the intestinal sounds, take the heart rate and note the appearance of the gums. Watch their attitude and appetite closely and look for any signs of abdominal pain (colic). Consider whether there have been feed or management changes that might explain the rumbly intestine.

If there seem to be no other problems, simply monitor your horse for a few hours and feed them lightly until you are certain they seem fine. However, if the horse is exhibiting any other sign of illness or abnormality, contact your vet with your findings and concerns.


Your vet will likely only see the horse if there are other signs of a problem, or a history that suggests that examination is necessary.

Author: Doug Thal DVM Dipl. ABVP


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