We left for an hour to go get food, and when we came back- we found her lying down, dead. Devestated, we immediately decided to have both our water and our feed tested. The tests came back fine though. Next we tested the hay. It was fine. We were, and in some ways still are, baffled. We keep our minis on a dry lot to prevent founder and only let them graze for thirty minutes every two days, and there are no strange plants or such in either the pasture or the lot.
Then we started to think. In our area, we have been going through a nasty drought. We have had only one 5 minute shower (last night) since January 3rd, and all of our grass has died. We have worked diligently to keep all of the horses hydrated- filling buckets four times a day and adding electrolytes and gatorade as a precaution. What we didn't think about though, was all of the dust.
Dust has been a terrible enemy of our lately, causing runny noses in the horses and icky eyes. Without much we can do about it though, we put flymasks on the horses to keep it out of their eyes as much as possible. We have always fed our horses hay on a low platform and a mesh net over it to let any water run off that might get in it, but that makes it easy for dust to settle into the hay. We believe that the dust may be getting into the horse's intestines and/or lungs and creating problems. We have moved out flatbed trailer into the pasture and now feed hay on that, and go out twice a day to wet the ground. With all of the wind and 100+ degree weather though, its almost useless because the hay is still scattering, and dust is still whipping around everywhere.
This morning, our dwarf- Fea, coliced. Thankfully his was very minor and he has already fully recovered, but there is obviously something wrong still if TWO horses have died from severe colic in the past month. We're fairly sure that dust is the problem though.
So my questions are these. Have you ever had a horse colic because of dust? Do you have any more suggestions on how to manage the dust? And does our theory seem correct?
Thankyou for reading this. Cookies to you all- it was rather long!