My first experience with colic - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 12 Old 02-06-2013, 08:47 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Columbia, MO
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Unhappy My first experience with colic

So two days ago it was a randomly beautiful day, so I went to play with all the horses. The lady who boards my horse also has 6 of her own, and told me to feel free to exercise them all whenever I wanted to. They were all seeming frisky, so I stuck them in this long flat pasture area and chased them all around with my lunge whip. They were all having so much fun and were running back and forth with little effort on my side.

After that, I let them cool down and made sure they kept walking for a few minutes. Then I pulled my horse out and tacked her up to ride. We went for a nice half hour ride around the pasture trotting mostly, with a little slow cantering. Plenty of cooldown.

After that I untacked her, brushed her, and then went to get a little grain as a treat for working so hard and being a little angel all day. She ate the grain right up as usual. I left her tied while I put all my stuff away, and then I put her back in her dry lot where the round bale is. She rolled, which was normal, because what horse doesn't roll when they're looking fabulous?

Then I went to grab the other horses to put them back in their dry lots, and as I was walking past, I noticed Lakota laying in her hay, and I thought "that's strange"

I quickly put the horses away and grabbed her and she had gotten up and was walking towards me at that point. I put her halter on and pulled her out of her dry lot and listened to her stomach. No sounds at all. Although I've been riding my whole life, this is my first horse that I've owned, so all things health related are new learning experiences for me. I always knew that colic was bad and wanted to make sure I knew what all the signs were. I knew that no gut sounds was bad. And her stomach felt tight and hard like a rock.

So I walked her around for a while and she seemed to be ok, but I wanted to keep an eye on her so I put her in her stall so I could clean out all the other stalls. She was trying to lay down again, so I stopped her and tied her up instead. I cleaned all the stalls, checking her often, and noticed that she kept stretching out like she was going to pee, but never actually peed.

My BO showed up and I told her about what was going on, so she listened and felt around and said she thinks she might be colicing, but to keep walking around and watching her and see what happens for now.

(I guess a month ago, she did this same thing, and the BO walked her around for 20 minutes and then she was fine)

She did some acupressure stuff on her and said she started hearing some gut sounds, but not as much as should be there. We left her tied for about 2 minutes before she started kicking and biting at her stomach. I remember those also being signs of colic, so I started walking her around and called the vet.

In the 30 minutes it took the vet to get there, I kept walking her around, and she would just lay down on the ground while we were walking. So here I am pulling on this horse and yelling at her to get up (I'm 5'0 and weigh a little over 100 pounds, so my force vs. a horse is not much) but she did get up. We walked until the vet got there, and then she got a shot of an anti-inflammatory that I cannot remember the name of but started with a b (not bute).

The vet ended up threading a tube down her nose and into her stomach and sucking out gas, and pumping in mineral oil. After that I spent 2 more hours walking her around waiting for her to feel better. By this time, it's dark and under 30 degrees and I hadn't eaten all day because I'm stupid.

By the time Lakota was back to normal, I had been out there for 7 hours and was sunburned and cold and hungry and tired...BUT! My horse is ok. The vet said I caught it early enough and did all the right things to make for a positive outcome.

I'm so glad I educated myself about this and knew what to do. I'm so glad that I was able to recognize that something wasn't right immediately. Mostly, I'm so glad she's ok.

The vet said it was most likely sand buildup in the gut, or eggs from worms that weren't killed with the ivermectin. I gave her a dose of Quest, per vet request yesterday, and I'm doing the "sand test" to see if I need to give her anything else.

Hopefully she'll not do this again.
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post #2 of 12 Old 02-06-2013, 08:59 AM
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Shetland, Scotland, UK
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Colic isn't fun is it. Dinky coliced on Monday, quite badly I kept getting her up but she got to the point that she no longer had the energy to be able to get up so just lay flat on her side lucky the vet came a couple of minutes later and when she saw him she stood up. She got three injections and took all day to be normal but she was hypothermic as well. She was't aloud to eat for 24 hours, but when she got her food she barely touched it. Today luckily she is much better. This is the first time I have a pony with full blown colic she did colic slightly before christmas but that was because she knocked her water over in the night and was fine after a good drink and a walk around.

Glad you girl was okay.

Never judge a book by their cover, also never judge a pony by their height. They tend to be big personalities in little packages.
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post #3 of 12 Old 02-06-2013, 09:01 AM
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Good for you for being so observant! It pays to "know" your horses like the back of your hand, and which behaviors are normal and which are not.

*thumbs up!*
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post #4 of 12 Old 02-06-2013, 11:16 AM Thread Starter
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Literally 5 minutes after I wrote this, my BO texted me saying Lakota was acting strange. I went out there and she was standing alone in the shelter not touching any hay.

I called the vet and she said to give her an oral dose of the banamine and walk her for 20 minutes and she should be fine. She said that sometimes if the cause of the colic really was larva then when the quest is killing them and they're coming out of the intestinal wall, that the horse can act "off" for about a week or so.

I did what she said and then Lakota pooped and then she was fine. Back to eating hay with a nice loud grumbly stomach. I really hope this doesn't become a regular thing! :(
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post #5 of 12 Old 02-06-2013, 11:37 AM
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Walking them continuously is something the vets don't really recommend any longer. If the horse is lying quietly, leave them alone and keep an eye on them.

Colic hurts, so if they're not thrashing or trying to roll, letting them lie down really is better for them than constant walking.

How old is your mare? I have a gelding who used to colic at the merest hint of temperature change. He used to colic almost constantly as a youngster, but now at 15 y/o seems to have outgrown it.

Colic is very scary, even 'common' gas colic.
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post #6 of 12 Old 02-06-2013, 03:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Speed Racer View Post
I have a gelding who used to colic at the merest hint of temperature change. He used to colic almost constantly as a youngster, but now at 15 y/o seems to have outgrown it.
This is intriguing to me. How was it that temperature affected his digestive system? Is this common?


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post #7 of 12 Old 02-06-2013, 03:15 PM
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Yes, it's common. Horses are delicate creatures regardless of their size, and their digestive tract is at best not a very well designed system to withstand extreme changes.

You've honestly never heard of temperature induced colics? When the temps swing wildly from one extreme to the other, is when vets usually see an outbreak. Early spring is notorious for a lot of colic calls.

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post #8 of 12 Old 02-06-2013, 03:57 PM
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Until last year, I can count on one hand the times I've dealt with colic in 54 years

Until last year, when my heart horse of 22 years colicked NINE times between May and October. Serious-have-the-vet-out-tube-him-the-first-two-times colic

He tested positive for hind gut ulcers. He also has equine metabolic syndrome so his diet is "lite" to begin with. I had to change his diet yet again and started him on Succeed which is a prebiotic.

Yes, as Speedracer commented, severe swings in temps can induce colic.

If your vet is suspicious of this being sand colic, you might ask what he/she thinks of starting this horse on a daily feed-thru of psyllium. Equi Aid Natural Psyllium Fiber Supplements

I fed equi-aid, daily, the entire five years I had my horses in the Low Desert of Southern California. None of them experienced colic.

You might also ask about the possibility of gastric stomach ulcers or hind gut ulcers, as either one will cause colic.

Even if you don't think your horse is under stress, it could be and that could be a reason for the colics (and possibly ulcers).

My Arab is so laid back, we call him The Stoner Horse, yet he has gastric ulcers. I was surprised when the vet said he wasn't because this horse is the Passive Leader (2nd in command) and acts as nursemaid whenever I have a sick or injured horse.

At any rate, repetitive colics are an indication that something else is wrong. The vet should do whatever tests he/she feels appropriate to start the process of elimination. Once diagnosis is made, then you will know what to supplement with to hopefully avoid future colics.

I did all that with my heart horse the first of October, last year and <knock-on-wood>, he hasn't colicked since and we have experienced some really wild weather swings since last October.

Many Kudos to you for being such a savvy horse owner and best of luck getting this figured out

A Good Horseman Doesn't Have To Tell Anyone; The Horse Already Knows.
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post #9 of 12 Old 02-06-2013, 05:38 PM
Join Date: Oct 2011
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Good job being a responsible horse owner! Colic is so scary! I hope she works it all out and it was just a one time thing!

"Riding: the art of keeping the horse between you and the ground."
~Author Unknown
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post #10 of 12 Old 02-06-2013, 05:52 PM
Green Broke
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Hope he continues to feel better and good on you for recongnizing it quickly.

Like SR said, I don't make a colicy horse walk. If they want to lie down I let them so long as they don't roll or thrash.

"There's nothing more humbling on the planet than horses." --Sean Crocker
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