Avoiding the big C and the big F... - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 36 Old 09-07-2011, 08:25 PM
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I think it's a little bit like having children; there are risks to being alive and you cannot protect them from everything but they are worth the risks.

Colic happens a lot, actually. Many times it is either self resolving, or resolves with one vet visit. The times that result in death (and I've witnessed two) are not the majority. So, even colicking isn't a death sentence , by any means.

Founder is scarier, to me, but you do what you can.

Buy a horse that has NO history of founder/ laminitus, is not insulin resistant, is not too much of an "easy keeper" (read "obese"), and is used to outdoor life already.
In the spring, limit exposure the grass if it grows tall and lush all of a sudden and you aren't sure how horse will react.

Ask other horse owners (who do outdoor care) and follow them loosely.

Relax and realize that you are living and life has risks and joys, you'll hopelly get your fair share of both.
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post #12 of 36 Old 09-07-2011, 08:55 PM
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Heelsdown thank you for posting this I had been a little confused about it myself but now I understand thanks to you posting and the others here answering. I love this forum most the time everyone is very helpful and nice!
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post #13 of 36 Old 09-07-2011, 11:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Heelsdown View Post
So colic can actually cause founder?

I didn't think of it that way as a symptom rather than disease. Interesting. What would be a good layman's word for colic. Maybe like a bad stomach ache? A stomach ache is a symptom of a problem, not a problem itself. Would that be correct?

I'm sorry I must sound like a child asking questions. I'm almost 40, I promise, lol.

I know a bit about bloat/gastric torsion because I have a St Bernard mix and I know certain breeds of dogs, mostly large dogs can bloat if they eat too fast and then run around. It's something I'm always watching out for. It's a very big fear among large breed dog owners. Bloat happens so fast and can kill a dog within minutes. Is colic kind of like bloating?

I meant to say, as as kid, we'd stop our bikes and fee the horses handfuls of grass. (Don't know why I said hay).

but that's good to know that regardless, it wouldn't have hurt them. Gosh, I'd feel awful. They'd see us riding up and they'd come running and of course as a kid, feeding a horse or any animal is fun. They're loving it and you're loving it.

That's a good idea about the grazing muzzles. I'm reading that spring grass has the highest content of sugar. The grazing muzzles give them a Hanibal Lector look but hey if it's going to keep them healthy, then they can graze away.

So basically too much grain,too much grass, grass with too high of a sugar content, too rich of a hay like alfalfa can cause founder or cause a horse to colic, or both?

I see that too much weight, stress an obesity can cause founder as well but I was more worried about food as a cause. The food part seems the easiest for an owner to do.

So is it correct to say that the easy keepers would founder or colic easier because they don't have a problem putting on weight?
sorry I am typing this during a quick break between classes so it'll be short but please don't ever apologise for wanting to learn more!! It sounds like you understand everything I wrote and I can explain both diseases better later today when I get home but yes colic can cause founder and vice versa, yes easy keepers will be more prone to founder, yes colic is a stomach ache
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post #14 of 36 Old 09-08-2011, 12:59 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you everyone for the replies. What horrible sicknesses these both are. Thought like you mentioned Tinyliny, founder sounds worse.

I didn't realize that founder and colic could happen to a horse at the same time. It just seems like one of those things that can so easily happen like a horse getting into a bag of grain and eating themselves to death.

So really, the easy keepers do have their downsides. The easy part just means they keep weight on easily, but that's kind of a negative, isn't it?

The not understanding makes things scarier. I do feel better about this now. Thanks all.

Any other info and stories are appreciated about these horrible sicknesses.
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post #15 of 36 Old 09-08-2011, 01:56 AM
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I'm sure you already have you answer, as there is to much to read :P but I thought my input might help anyway.

Out of the 11 horses we've owned, 3 have had colic, all recovered.

1st one was because we didn't know much about horses and she was a sensitive TB. We went to a pony camp and she was cooped up in the stall all day and night apart from being ridden (three times a day) she was used to being in a open paddock 24/7 before this. So not enough movement + not drinking enough caused her to get gas colic.

2nd was my competition pony. I rode her 5 days straight - Saturday, pony club. Sun, Gymkhana. Mon, mounted games practice. Tues, trail ride. and Wed, Mounted games prac again. She could handle all this, she was fit enough etc,. and had done this much work before... but again with the water. just didn't drink enough, and loosing all that sweat made her dehydrated and barely any electrolytes. Gas colic.

3rd, recently, we went away for a holiday and the horses had a round bale (of grassy hay as we don't have much grass at all) each, so with that much eating and the person looking after them said they didn't drink as much as they should... the one horse, out of 7, got spasmodic impaction colic...

So all my cases, have been from not drinking enough... and if my horses could founder, I'd be happy... not really, but I'd rather put them in a dirt paddock for 5 hours a day then spend $200 a week on feed ^_^
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post #16 of 36 Old 09-08-2011, 03:12 AM
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You sound like you will be a really good horse owner because you care enough to ask questions and do your research on them and their care. What makes me nuts is idiots that buy a horse and then have no clue about their care. It's really refreshing to find someone like you.

I've always let my horses have 24/7 turnout except in the early spring or any other time that the grass is really lush. Now I just let Dancer and Mystery take turns being turned out since they can't be in the pasture together. We've been doing this since Mystery was about 6 months old and we decided not to geld him.

I've owned and ridden horses for almost 40 years and during that time I've only had 1 horse that had colic and my husband had 1 that foundered. The colic was my stallion Mystery when he was about 16-18 months old (he's 7 now) My sons were told to let him out on pasture for 2 hours only since it was a very lush new growth. They left him out for over 8 hours and he had simply pigged out completely. I discovered him sweating and biting his flanks and called the vet and a friend that I knew who kept Banamine (I was out of it) he rushed over, we gave the shot, and started walking him. The vet (who is located in another county and was 60 miles away in yet another county) finally arrived and started treatment. According to the vet it was a very mild colic and he was able to help him. I now keep a dose of Banamine ready for emergencies at the reccomendation of my vet.

The foundered mare of my hubby's was from an idiot crossing into the pasture where she was boarded at the time (letting our pasture rest and regrow) and he dumped out a 50 pound bag of corn . My hubby had refused an offer for his mare from that guy so he deliberately caused her to founder. He even bragged about it but we couldn't prove it since nobody would testify against him. (He's a drug dealer) We sold her to our farrier since he believed he could possibly pull her through. Sadly he lost her.

The main thing to remember is everything in moderation, even treats. Keep their diet as close to what nature would've given them and stay away from sugary, starchy feeds that can cause serious health issues and make them nervous.

Don't worry ! You're going to be a really fantastic, caring horse owner. Just have a bit of confidence and faith in youself.

I believe in you !

She never shook the stars from their appointed courses, but she loved a good man and rode good horses !
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post #17 of 36 Old 09-08-2011, 03:31 AM
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Being sensible about what you feed, not chopping and changing feed and giving a good amount of roughage (in the form of gras and hay) can help prevent colic but it won't stop all cases. I've got a couple of older ponies who colic as and when they feel like it. Harvey mainly because he has an umbilical hernia that was never delt with and by the time we got him it was to late to deal with, occasionaly he will trap a little bit of gut in there and colic. He is very scarey when he colics as he panics and works himself up into a mess even from the smallest of gripey tummy. I have in the past had the vet come up when he was colicing to him and sedate him and it solved everything.

Pride we havent worked out what is causing his colic yet, his last bout was christmas and he coliced for 5 days straight, had the vet completly confused (talk about massive bill, had the vet up 3 times a day for 5 days, all manner of test and medication) we came very close to loosing him and he presented with colic in very very strange ways. Vet is still baffled as to what caused the colic, but she suspects it may have been a virus of some form.

In 20 years of owning horses (In the UK where grass can get rediculasly rich and do so in a matter of hours) I've never had a case of founder. My horses live out all year round with free access to grass, however I very rarely fertilise the grass maybe once every 5 years. They get fed all year round but what they are fed varies with workload and season. They have adlib haylege in winter and I will pop some hay out if I feel they need it in summer

RIDE your horse FORWARDS and keep him STRAIGHT

Last edited by faye; 09-08-2011 at 03:34 AM.
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post #18 of 36 Old 09-08-2011, 07:46 AM
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Ok so as promised I am going to try to explain both of these diseases a bit clearer because it will help to understand the causes better if you understand what is happening.

Founder (aka laminitis, fever of the feet):
Laminitis is the most accurate term for this disease because it is an inflammation of the laminae between the hoof wall and the coffin (pedal) bone. when the laminae become inflammed they actually push the bone away from the hoof wall causing the rotation of the bone. Anything that can cause inflammation can result in laminitis so trauma (such as with weight overload or overcompension on one leg) or increased cortisol levels (from stress of illness or metabolic disease such as cushings or equine metabolic syndrome). The grain and grass overload is actually due to the carbohydrates (sugars as others have mentioned) in both cases, which causes a metabolic acidosis and as with cushings and EMS hormone imbalances can lead to founder.

As I already said, colic is a symptom and not a disease which is why they look "colicy" when they are in labour, have peritonitis, twisted or displaced intestines, intestinal impaction (with feed, sand, tumour), liver or kidney disease, ect... With that being said the colic that you were talking about them getting from lush grass will be gas colic (tympanic colic) where the rapid fermentation from high sugar grass causes gas cramping.

I hope that helps explain things for you. If you have questions about any of this or anything else just ask and I will do my best to explain.
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post #19 of 36 Old 09-08-2011, 08:50 AM
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Laminitis is inflammation, as explained above, it can lead to founder.
Founder is rotation downwards of the coffin /pedal bone.
Though the two terms are often used interchangeably they each have different meanings.
One can have laminitis without founder but founder is caused by the laminitis. It can be confusing.
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post #20 of 36 Old 09-08-2011, 11:32 AM Thread Starter
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Ky angel, thank you so much for your kind words. They mean a lot. I figure by the time I buy a horse, I'll have had 2 years of lessons and learning so I should be good. Got another year to go. This forum is fantastic. It's one thing to read about a disease, but reading about actual stories and instances of what happened really makes it clearer.
That is so, so horrible that someone dumped a bag of corn in your feel on purpose. Oh my gosh, I can't imagine the rage I'd feel.

Masquerade and Natisha, that makes perfect sense. I get it now. So a horse can get lamintitis and still be okay, however if that lamintitis leads to founder, then the horse can become unridable or he can recover.

And a horse colicing can be something like getting an upset stomach that passes on a best case scenario or it can be so severe that it kills the horse.
That's good to know that you can keep Banamine on hand in case it's a while for the vet to get there. I can give injections no problem.

I worked for a veterinarian for a few years so I know a lot about dog and cat health. But horse health is very different. The closest I can see is somewhat of a relation between colic in horses and gastric torsion in dogs, but still they are different.

It seems like a lot of this stuff wouldn't be an issue if a horse could throw up.
Another thing, if a person has an easy keeper, say like a Fjord, and the horse is simply a pleasure horse, would the horse even need grain? Sounds like grain for a pleasure horse is more of a treat than a need.

If you have a lot of acreage (and even if you don't, but I think you said you do?) I would advise reading up on rotational grazing. Basically, you take your pasture and divide it into sections so that you never run out of healthy pasture (pastures loooove to turn into mud pits in the winter, even with just a few horses). One of those sections could turn into your dry lot or sacrifice pasture as well.
Yes I have almost 20 acres but really 5 or so is good pasture. That is a great idea about have rotational grazing. I can have the pasture and then have a round pen or something on the side to have the option of moving the horse to.

Last edited by Heelsdown; 09-08-2011 at 11:42 AM.
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