Teen Forum Moderator
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: South East Texas
strange colic breakout -- really wearing us down.
Three weeks ago one of our yearling fillies went down with a severe case of colic. We called a vet out immediately, recognizing that it wasn't a 'treat it yourself' type of colic, and after a thorough examination we were told that she had already twisted an intestine, and that it was severe enough that she had a less than 20% chance of surviving surgery to correct it. After talking, we decided to put her down. We had thought it was an isolated case, but three days later, our nursing mare Sassy (our mule's mother) coliced. Her colic didn't seem as bad, but we called the vet anyways- not wanting to take a chance. The vet treated her, rigged up an IV, and told us to walk her all night- and that's what we did. From 3 pm to 8 am the next morning, we walked her up and down the pasture. Still she hadn't urinated or pooped, and she seemed to be in more pain than before. So at 12 we called the vet again. This time the vet did a scope and found a blockage of some sort still stuck. She was able to dislodge it and we hoped that it would pass and everything would be fine. Not so.
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!
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