Scary First Experience with Colic
So, my beautiful OTTB has been doing just great. He's a light cribber, and I would like to see him gain weight more rapidly, but he's doing great on all fronts. Here in the DC area we have been suffering from HORRIBLE heat and humidity. We have been keeping the horses outside at night in their paddocks, and inside all day in their large box stalls, with fans attached to the bars. The inside of the barn is quite pleasant, even in the heat, and the barn is shaded by lots of trees.
I went yesterday just planning to give Sousa a cool bath and walk him a bit outside to stretch his legs. When I arrived he was lying on his side in the stall very quietly. I noticed some "saliva" looking spots on his ribcage, like he had been biting at his side. I went in his stall and he looked at me and didnt make a big effort to get up, so I asked him to. he got up and we walked outside, and he tried to lie down on the ground! I quick called the barn owner/manager who was a couple miles away and he told me to keep him walking until she arrived. He kept wanting to paw the ground and lie down, and he would then look toward his stomach and act frustrated and sort of bite the air. He also had several bouts of loose stools, not exactly diarreah, but getting there. He wouldnt eat ANYTHING, not even grass.:cry:
When my trainer arrived she quickly took his vitals and sensed he was also dehydrated. She confirmed that this is colic and gave him an injection of Banamine (sp?) and we also gave him electrolytes down his throat. In about 15 minutes he was less tense and we cooled him down with a cool sponge bath and he stood in front of a fan and dozed for a while. They he began to perk up and even "had the munchies" and wanted to eat!
I was told he could only have hay for the next 24 hours and that we would make sure he was drinking enough, and if he wasnt, we would give him more electrolytes. He slept (standing up) for a long time in his stall,and spent the night outside as usual.
She called me this moring to say that he is 100% normal today, acting hungry (still no grain until tonight) and playing with his buddies.
Here is my question: can severe heat induce colic? Is it possible this was more heat related and less actual colic? The only other thing that changed recently was we added beat pulp to his diet about 6 days ago (as part of a weight gain regamin) I have been told we need to stop that now as "anything new" should be stopped considering what happened.
She also said that maybe his cribbibing is causing some ulcers, and we may begin him on "Neigh-lox". Can cribbing have caused this? If so, I am seriously thinking its time for the "miracle collar"
Change in weather can bring on colic. I have that issue in the coldest winter months when the horses stop drinking as much water. In order to ensure my oldest horse drinks I will actually tote warm buckets of water to the barn for him. Drops in the barometric pressure can also induce colic. So, yeah, if he was hot and not drinking as much as he should, then yes, the heat could have helped. As hot as it has been here lately I am certain the heat played a big part in it.
The electrolytes in the water is a good idea, if he's not drinking well you can even add gatoraide. The cribbing can definitely also be a factor, especially with him being shut up in a stall all day. Boredome and stress always seem to cause the cribbers to crib even more. I'd look into the miracle collar....
Ooo that's a scare.
I lost my first horse, QT to colic. She was a cribber and that's what caused it. A miracle collar is a good idea!
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Were the symptoms I described similar?
They were. It was in October though. So it wasn't hot, but idk!
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I don't know how long you have had your horse, but there is a horse in my barn that has done exactly what you described on several occasions during really hot/humid stretches. The first time we thought it was a mild colic and did the banamine, walking, no grain and then we started to notice a pattern with the weather. After consulting with the vet, she felt that it wasn't necessarily colic as much as an electrolyte imbalance. So now when we know that it is going to be excessively hot/humid, we put a scoop of electrolyte powder in with her morning feed and it hasn't happened since. Good Luck! It's always so scary when they get sick.
Miss Phoebe, what a great idea! Thanks for the tip. The funny thing is, he raced most of his career in TX, so I figured that he is used to the heat. However, someone reminded me that TBs that are racing are regularly supported with electrolytes, etc, and might not get to this point.
Your suggestion certainly can't hurt! Its been 24 hrs and he is doing great!
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Your welcome and good luck! I'm glad to hear he is doing better. Not only are racehorses usually supported with electrolytes beforehand because of the amount of work that they do, but also it is probably a lot more humid here than TX so he might be sweating a little more intensely from the climate change. I know that a little bit of before prep has made a world of difference for the horse in my barn.
I lived in TX. I now live in VA. There is a huge difference between TX heat and VA heat...
I rode him tonight and he was absolutely fine. No sign of having been sick at all.
I wonder if horses remember being sick!
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