Colic is one of the things that I am so worried about! I am actually really scared Lola will get it..So is there a way to prevent it?
And what are the signs of Colic? Is it always life threatening? Does it always cause a twisted gut?
It is scary stuff! And since I have to pay for everything myself it worries me more. If she did get Colic and I had to get the vet how much roughly would it cost?
I am putting money by every week but I am only 19 and on the dole.
It makes me feel even worse when I see other people around my age and younger with perfect horses. BUT they do not put a penny of their money to that horse. Their parents pay for everything! Mine will not even dream of giving me a cent if anything happened to Lola.
So the thoughts of vets and colic is constantly stuck in my head =/
'Colic' is basically just a name for 'tummy ache' in horses. There are a number of different reasons for it and depending on cause & degree, no, they are not all serious, let alone life threatening. But not knowing that cause or degree, it is therefore often serious and may or may not be preventable. I think it is completely unrealistic to just say colic is preventable, but given some known causes, likelihood can definitely be minimised.
Ulcers are one cause, commonly caused from feed or feeding practice issues. Feeding free choice or little & often, high roughage, low sugar/starch/carb diets, in small frequent meals is a good way of minimising risk there. Rich feed can also cause hind gut acidosis with is a common cause of colic. Stress and inability to move around freely affects horse's digestion, so keeping them in low stress environments, paddocked preferrably with other horses & well exercised is helpful for that. Horses can get impaction colic, if they swallow baler's twine or some such, if they ingest a lot of sand, etc. Therefore it's important to ensure rubbish is not available to them & if in a sandy environment, don't feed directly onto the dirt.
So basically, healthy management & feeding, that is best for the horse generally, is also good for minimising colic and other issues too.
Thanks very much =D
We have 60 horses and I cannot even remember the last time we had a horse colic. So "Yes!". It is very preventable MOST of the time.
Here are some of the things you can do to prevent colic. Every one of them that is not possible for your horse-keeping situation increases the likelihood of colic a little, so you can evaluate the risks.
Then, there are a few horses that have chronic gut problems and seem to colic for no reason at all. Thankfully, they are rare. And, every time a horse colics, they seem more prone to colic again.
Horses colic least if they are:
1) Kept properly dewormed.
2) Fed free-choice grass hay. We actually prefer mature, high fiber, lower quality hay. [Downside is that many of them carry a 'hay-belly' without a lot of work.]
3) We prefer feeding hay before grain if a horse does not have free-choice hay available. Then, a horse's digestive system can get started working before it is hit with a bunch of concentrates. It also helps a Hungary horse eat a little slower.
4) Live outside in large enough enclosures or pastures to get more exercise than a stall or small pen affords.
5) Must have drinkable water available 24/7. [This can be difficult in the north in cold winters without tank heaters.]
6) Are fed extra 'loose' salt whenever it turns very hot or very cold. Sudden weather and temperature changes initiate many impactions caused by horses not drinking enough water.
7) Not keeping horses too fat is a huge thing. Many horses are kept way to fat. This not only increases colic chances but also increases laminitis and founder problems and can initiate digestive disorders like Insulin Resistance and intolerance for grain. Obese horses are no healthier than obese people and there is an epidemic of them. Many horse owners over-feed their horses and keep them waaay too fat.
Some these you can control regardless of your situation. Others you just have to live with depending on the situations you are locked into.
Stalled horses colic at least 10 times more than horses running out. But, we kept many stalled horses for years when we were showing a lot and fitting horses for sales, etc and still did not have a problem with colic. We also have fed grain based pellets for ever and they have not increased our colic problems at all. They are mostly a problem when you 'over-feed' them.
One other thing you can do is buy insurance. Many kinds of 'Full Mortality' insurance can have colic surgery riders and even medical insurance riders added. You might want to check into these if you are stuck with a stall boarding situation and do not have much control over management.
Thank you so much I will do those things and look into insurance =D
Ok so I have been reading about different colic today..I noticed one of the symptoms is looking at their belly or biting it! Lola has been doing that these past few days! I know she may do it the whole time and I may just be over reacting ( I am such a hypochondriac it is unreal ) But how can you tell if they are just scratching or biting for a reason?
She had been in a stable for a few days so her feed was changed during that time. I know you are meant to introduce new feed slowly but I was not around when she was fed...
Now I am worrying XD I was not gonna go see her tomorrow but maybe I should just to see if she is ok. She is back in the field. And seemed fine today. She even ate a sweet so I guess she should be good =p
Oh and I forgot to say maybe I should not give her hard feed at all? Which that decrease the risk of her colicing? She is getting thin again and is due to be wormed so I am hoping that is the only reason she is looking skinny.
Other symptoms can include:
1. The horse becoming lethargic and showing no/little interest in food.
2. Is laying down, getting up, laying down again and trying to role.
3. Has an increased heart rate and respiratory rate.
4. The horse is not pooping.
5. It's intestines are "grumbling" a lot and no gas is being passed.
I just went through a colic scare yesterday and the day before. Usually, it's just gas colic. Jesse is what's known as a "chronic colicer" and has been having bouts of it his whole life. Each time we just call the vet, explain the symptoms and ask if she/he should come out or not. Then if they do come out they will do a rectal exam (to look for impactions) and give him a shot of Betamine.
Gas colic would most likely be the most common form which is basically when they are a little constipated and uncomfortable. Impaction and a twisted gut aren't as common and the horse is usually in severe discomfort.
But really, you shouldn't have to worry about it too much. It doesn't happen often (with normal horses) and if you keep the horses diet and work schedule steady, she should be fine.
Thanks! But I thought gut sounds were good! Or is it bad when there are a lot?
I hope your horse is ok!
Wouldn't it be so much easier if horses could throw up XD But that would not be very nice =/
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