Unexplained colic scare...any ideas? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 11 Old 03-20-2011, 07:39 PM Thread Starter
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Unexplained colic scare...any ideas?

Hello all! My first post here and I'm hoping somebody has some input.
I dealt with my first ever colic after owning horses over 15 years and I have no idea why both the horses got colic in the first place.
It happened Friday and I had worked my mare and my husband rode her, she got worked probably an hour all together. It was a warm day and she was slightly lathered, she did some loping and quite a bit of trotting but nothing too strenuous. By the time we turned her loose she was cool, breathing normal,etc.
So then a few hours later I went back down to the barn to feed them their grain. My mare Chanti LOVES food, it is her biggest motivation and I had never seen her turn food down. She wouldn't even touch her grain. Our paint stud colt was eating his but I knew right off something was wrong with my mare. I checked her over, got her up to the house and I checked her gut sounds. her stomach was drawn up tight, I heard very few gut sounds and she wouldn't even eat any grass. Then I looked down and noticed Sundance, the stud, had laid down under the barn, in the mud. A few minutes later he was up, but then he laid right back down, which I knew wasn't normal. So I went down and checked on him, saw he had ate nearly half his grain and as I was checking his gut sounds he tried to lay down again, so I got him up to the house also.
Hubby ran to the store and got mineral oil while me and my mom walked both of them. Chanti pooped and it was normal but we gave them 400 cc of mineral oil and about 3 hours after starting to walk them and watch them Sundance pooped but he seemed to be in more discomfort than Chanti because he'd stay standing a few minutes, then lay down again, but he didn't roll so we let him lay down. By nearly midnight they seemed in less discomfort so we turned them back out into the pasture but checked them 2 hours later and they were both down at the pond drinking and neither looked as uncomfortable. Yesterday afternoon they were both eating grass, drinking like normal but I didn't give them any grain just to make sure it had passed.
Today they both seem to be 100% ok but I'd like to know what caused them to colic. We bought grain last weekend and they had been getting half a coffee can of the grain with a few tablespoons of wheat germ oil added to help with their coat and add some calories. Their diet wasn't changed and at first I thought maybe it was the wheat germ oil but Chanti didn't eat any of her grain before she got colic and I had been adding it for a while now.
They do have a pond for water but they've always had a pond or lake for a water source so I don't think the water would have caused them to colic. There are no poisonous plants or materials in their pasture and the tack room door is always closed so they couldn't have gotten into anything down there.
Any ideas??
I did try calling a vet but since it was after hours when all this happened I couldn't reach any vet. I even tried vets in Missouri. I was ticked that I couldn't reach anyone but I guess the mineral oil and the walking helped.
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post #2 of 11 Old 03-20-2011, 08:17 PM
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Here's what I am thinking. Maybe bad grain? Maybe it wasn't colic but a gut ache. Maybe something they ate earlier. Don't know but what you did was really good. Keeping an eye on them and making sure they were drinking, eating and pooping. Good for you.
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post #3 of 11 Old 03-20-2011, 08:56 PM
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Originally Posted by mbender View Post
Here's what I am thinking. Maybe bad grain? Maybe it wasn't colic but a gut ache. Maybe something they ate earlier. Don't know but what you did was really good. Keeping an eye on them and making sure they were drinking, eating and pooping. Good for you.
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Agreed 100% Watching them and walking them was the best thing you could ever, ever do.

If both were striken with it, it would have to be something in the pasture or something both could experience together. Is it possible you were cleaning something, or left something somewhere where they could reach it?
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post #4 of 11 Old 03-20-2011, 10:00 PM
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Must be the month for colic because my mare was off yesterday too.

She never rolled or laid down. All she did was walk walk and walk look at her flank etc. When she was walking towards me I noticed her belly was really expanded on one side and she was having muscle spasms on the other side (from her girth area to the point of her hip) she wouldnt eat or stand still. So I started to massage her muscle spasms and she seemed to like it a bit. Walked some more.

She worked it out by herself and is back to normal but gosh she is my main horse and I just love her to bits, even though she is very standoffish.

Im thinking it was from the lil bit of grass coming in. She is a pig when it comes to her food so that is the only thing it could be because she only gets hay.

Glad your ponies are ok. Its hard when they cant tell you verbally how they are feeling.

Come on spring!!!!!
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post #5 of 11 Old 03-21-2011, 12:29 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks ya'll.
I always check my grain because I will absolutely not feed bad, moldy,wet grain and we had bought this bag just the weekend before, keep it in the tack room and the door is always shut. At first I thought she just drank too much before she was really cooled off, but she only worked about an hour. The most she did was lope, which honestly is a good workout for her because she's lazy under saddle but she did very good that day and wasn't very hot, plus Sundance didn't get worked at all and he seemed to be worse than she was and he actually ate some of his supper before he started feeling icky.
They have been on this pasture for almost 3 years and I have never had a problem with colic before. We don't have a lot of green lush new grass here yet so I don't think they over-ate. I went ahead and fed them grain tonight but only about half what they normally get. I need to weigh their rations to see exactly how much it weighs, but it's about 3/4 a regular coffee can of a 14% protein and something like 6% fat that they get. Plus about 2 tbs wheat germ oil as a top dressing.
The only thing I think could have had anything to do with it was that earlier that day my dad was doing work out in the pasture and pulled up a locust tree(I think that's what it's called, a smallish tree that grows the big thorns on the branches) and he said they were eating the bark off it. I've never heard of locust tree being toxic but I suppose if it was green bark and they ate enough of it, it could upset their stomach.
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post #6 of 11 Old 03-21-2011, 05:09 PM
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my horses have gotten colic a number of times.
While i don't have many ideas, i will say that sometimes theres a little straw in the hay and they get colic from that. But, most horses don't eat that. I know my horse has gotten a very bad impaction from it. i hope you find out!
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post #7 of 11 Old 03-21-2011, 05:32 PM
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That may be your answer. The seeds, leaves, bark and twigs of black locust contain several toxic proteins.

"Be a best friend, tell the truth, and overuse I love you
Go to work, do your best, don't outsmart your common sense
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post #8 of 11 Old 03-22-2011, 11:03 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks farmpony! That must be it, because they both ate some of it. Guess it's a good thing dad pulled it up! I had never heard they were toxic, guess I'll be on the look out for locust trees in the future. I don't know why they just started eating it though, that tree had been there the whole time and they never bothered it.
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post #9 of 11 Old 03-22-2011, 11:24 AM
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Originally Posted by Prayingcowgirl View Post
i will say that sometimes theres a little straw in the hay and they get colic from that.
Sorry - straw in hay does not cause colic. If straw caused a horse to colic, every horse bedded on straw would colic.

Horses do not "get" colic. Colic is an all encompassing term describing a gastorintestional upset in a horse. It can be as mild as a gas colic or as tragic as a torsion.

Every horse at one time or another has an episode of colic. The majority of the time they work through it on their own and we don't notice. There does not have to be a defining reason. There are some things that can be determined - lack of water, forced inactivity, drastic change in feed stuffs, or growths in the intestine. But being a horse - they colic - because they can.

The best thing you can do is know your horse. If you feel they are starting to colic - monitor. Take a base TPR, check for guts sounds in all four quadrants, MM, CRT and dehydration. Walking is not necessary but ok as long as it is not to the point of exhaustion. DO NOT administer any pain killers if not directed by a vet.

After 30 minutes if things have not improved or have worsened - call the vet with your base readings and the 30 minute updated readings. The vet will advise from that point.
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post #10 of 11 Old 03-22-2011, 11:41 AM
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about eating the bark, you know, I'm not sure why they do things. I have a friend that had an oak tree in her pasture FOREVER with the same horses and then one year one of her horses decided to eat the acorns and so she had some colic issues to deal with. She ended up putting a fence around the tree to keep them off. I don't know why they do the things they do!

"Be a best friend, tell the truth, and overuse I love you
Go to work, do your best, don't outsmart your common sense
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And love like crazy"
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