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Duren 11-09-2011 12:18 AM

Colic Surgery
Just wondering what everyones thoughts are about colic surgery.

My mare starting colicing on a Wednesday afternoon. I called the vet out right away and they did all the "usual stuff". I skipped work and stayed up with her all night. By Thursday morning she seemed slightly worse. I took her up to the clinic and she was hospitalized all day on Thursday. By Friday morning she wasnt any better...but she wasnt really worse either as far has her pain level. At that point she had not had a bowel movement and was blowing up like Violet in Willy Wonka. My vet told me if I was considering surgery, now would be the time to be getting things in order. Since her vitals had remained stable and her bloodwork and lactate were all normal, we decided she was a candidate for surgery.
It was a 3.5 hour drive to A&M. Again, her vitals and labs were normal when we got there. They told me they were going to give her some pain meds and see how she does, but they did not anticipate actually needing to cut her. An hour later I got the call that they were prepping her and planned to have her in surgery within the half hour.
I was a wreck for the next four hours
She made it though surgery ok. Doc said she had an impaction the size of a basketball at the pelvic flexure. There was no torsion, but the tissues of her colon had just started to lose circulation. Aside from some radial nerve paralysis that resolved with a support boot after a few days, she had no complications and is recovering well.

I've heard a lot of people say they would never put their horse through surgery. I personally think its all situational. About 10 years ago I had another horse colic. His was chronic and that time was particularly worse. When the vet came out it was apparent that he had an abdomen full of blood and surgery success rate would be less than 10%. He was euthanized so that he didnt suffer any longer as he was in severe pain.

I've also heard of people going though with surgery and making it, only to have surgical complications up to a month later.

What are your thoughts?

Tayz 11-09-2011 12:46 AM

colic is...difficult.
My friends horse was pts, i found out last night, as he got colic and was in so much pain, He was a fighter, has broken his leg the year before I think or done something bad to his leg which took a year to heal, the vets said to pts for that too but he got better so it saddens me that he got colic, he was amazing.
I think, if they have colic and the vet suggests you operate now, operate NOW. dont wait and see if it gos down. Sure he may get a scar but it could very well save the horses life.
With all surgery theres risk of complications too, for both animals and horses.
Hell i had an operation on my spine and had nerve damage for 2 months after as a complication.

Im so glad to hear your horse made it through and fingers crossed that she makes a quick and successful recovery xxx

Kayty 11-09-2011 12:50 AM

I think that if the horse is otherwise fine, such as your mare's case, then yes, absolutely go for surgery.

However in the case of a horse with perhaps a badly twisted bowl or impaction, and the horse in a very bad state, I would prefer to put the horse down as opposed to surgery. I have had two friends opt for surgery under these circumstances, and both times, the horse died. One while in surgery, the other a day later. Owners still had to pay the surgery costs and didn't have a horse at the end of it anyway, AND put the horse through more pain and stress in surgery preperation and after care.

Oxer 11-09-2011 12:58 AM

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Our assistant trainer's mare was rushed in for colic surgery. Her gut had twisted and it was do or die... literally.
There have been a lot of complications since the surgery. She ended up with a hernia and will have to go back to have surgery to correct that as well.

It's been a very long, arduous, and EXPENSIVE road... with still a very unclear outcome.

natisha 11-09-2011 12:23 PM

It sure saved one of my horses who had an unresolving colic due to a lipoma on her mesentery. She recovered nicely & is still with me 15 years later.
I probably wouldn't do it on her again due to her age but I sure would on my younger ones but hopefully I'll never have to find out

mls 11-09-2011 02:00 PM

An impaction is the 'best' case colic surgery. A twist or tear is more complicated.

ANY time you have to disturb the intestine surgically, you run the risk of lesions and future issues.

Our mare had an impaction which required surgery over 15 years ago. Still going strong!

One of the primary considerations is how the horse will handle the recovery period. If you have a horse that cannot handle the stall rest and small pen confinement, it's not a surgical candidate. The majority of colic surgery problems are horses that handle the surgery just fine but blow the recovery period.

haleylvsshammy 11-09-2011 02:25 PM

My friend's horse colicked and needed surgery. She opted to go for it and everything went very well. She got to watch the surgery and found it to be really cool. It was probably several months later when her horse colicked again while she was on vacation in Vegas. She, unfortunately, had to put the horse down. He was only 7 and was her up and coming jumper, since her older horse was retired.

It was sad but I still think that if you can go for surgery, then go for it. If it wasn't for this particular horse's predisposition to colic, he would be fine.

Speed Racer 11-09-2011 03:36 PM

Colic surgery is risky no matter the age, but especially so on older horses.

Plus, once your horse has had colic surgery, you won't be able to insure him/her again for it. It's a one time shot, and if the horse needs it again it'll be on your own dime.

I have no intentions of getting colic surgery for any of mine, the 7 y/o included. It's not because I'm stingy, don't love my animals, etc., it's because the cost is prohibitive and there's no guarantee I'll get a healthy animal out of it.

Beauseant 11-09-2011 03:46 PM

What is the general price range for a colic surgery?

natisha 11-09-2011 04:14 PM


Originally Posted by Beauseant (Post 1227892)
What is the general price range for a colic surgery?

In my area of SW Wisconsin it's about $5000 without complications. My horses are not insured because I don't want some stranger making decisions for me.

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