Cousins horse died...colic. Please read.
Tuesday afternoon my cousin called me and she was asking me about when Chanti was sick so I asked her what was going on. She told me Lilly, her 5 year old Paint mare was down in the pasture and she was walking real stiff and slow, not eating. I asked her if she had any gut sounds and she wasn't sure how to check for that so I told her and I asked if she wanted me to come out and she said yes.
Her friend who keeps a horse out on the 20 acres with her horses had been out there just an hour before and they fed and all the horses came up except for Lilly and Jazzy came up then ran straight back to Lilly. They had been together since Kayti got Lilly at 4 months old so they were buddies. Kayti's friend found Lilly laying down and couldn't get her up so she called Kayti and she went right out and managed to get her up again.
By the time me and hubby got out there Lilly was down again in the back corner. I quickly checked for gut sounds and didn't hear a thing so my heart dropped. There was nothing at all making any kind of noise, complete silence. Lilly's heart rate was fast, she was breathing heavy, her legs and muzzle were very cold, she was breathing hard, but laying still. Her gums were white, very long CRT. I asked if she had been fed anything different recently, if she was ok the last time Kayti had seen her and nothing had changed in her diet and she had been fine a few days ago.
There were no marks on her, no swellings.
About 15 minutes after we got there she started thrashing, trying to roll but we held her down. We had covered her with a winter blanket and we tried getting ahold of every vet in the county, every vet within an hour and the closest vet who lived like 2 minutes away from where the horses are was in Little Rock but we kept trying to call vets and didn't reach anybody. Of course we wouldn't, it was after hours and vets around here aren't vets once that clinic closes...:evil: She started violently thrashing, kicking her front and back legs, knocking her hooves into herself but she was in so much pain she didn't care.
All we could do was try to keep her calm. I had to go to the road and move our car and by the time I got back just about ten minutes later she had rolled over and was very still. When I got back I knew she was about to go. She stopped thrashing, and her breathing had slowed down. She seemed to be gasping for air and in just a couple minutes she passed.
I had told Kayti what I thought it was and I told her that if it WAS what I thought then more than likely a vet wouldn't have been able to do anything for her either and we had done everything we could.
I had hoped it was something like influenza. Atleast then we could have done something and she would still be alive.
Lilly was such a sweet girl and everything happened so fast. Things like this make me want to kick myself for not doing everything I could to go to vet school. It seems I'm always the one being called when somebody in the family has a sick or injured animal but there's only so much I can do and I had never felt so hopeless as I did sitting with Lilly.
The equine vet, who I HATE, called back TWO hours later!:-x Kayti cut a lock of mane and hubby is going to make her a keepsake with it. He braids the hair into leather and makes a loop on one end so it will dangle from her rearview mirror.
I checked my vet books and it seems I was right in guessing peritonitis but I'm not sure what caused it. She had a Paint gelding, about 9 years old who was found dead in the pasture about 3 years ago. Colic is probably what killed him too. Is colic more common in Paints?
I hope nobody has to sit through what we did. I had never seen a horse die. It was rough and when I got home I found Chanti and had to give her a big hug because when something like that happens I'm reminded how thankful I am to have her, despite her lameness issues.
OMG so sorry to hear this, I hope your friend is OK. I would be devastated. Scares the crap outta me to even think about something like this happening to Hunter. My heart goes out to you both.
Thanks Hunter, she took it pretty bad. I don't think she realized just how serious the situation was and when we couldn't get a vet out I knew pretty well how it would end. It was very unexpected for me though. I remember very well how scared I was when Chanti and Sundance were colicky and their's was a very mild case thankfully. It just makes you appreciate them all the more I guess.
And through all this I have decided 100% that I will NEVER burn a horse once it dies :( We called everybody we knew with a backhoe, everybody online, in the yellow pages,etc and the only person who could do it soon was going to charge her 250-300 and she doesn't have that much so we had to either just leave the body out to decompose and attract coyotes or burn the body so she opted to burn her and I will never take part in that again. I won't describe it on here but I really think if I couldn't bury it I'd just leave it alone, maybe drag it to a back corner but I won't burn one again. She said she wouldn't burn one again either.
Colic is not more common in any breed, sex or age. There can be an exact cause but more often then not it simply happens.
However, if she has had two in that short of a period of time, I would check the pasture for toxic plants.
Google your state/county extension service and add 'native plants toxic to horses'.
I was wondering that too
Rendering is a good option for disposing of horse body.
So sorry for the loss.
Hopefully next time someone calls the vet before calling the family friend/neighbor so they can actually get a vet out there to help.
Colic is one thing, a twisted gut is another possible thing. Peritonitis is severe infection in the abdominal cavity. If she ruptured her stomach, which the pale gums suggests then yes she probably died of peritonitis from the stomach contents getting into the abdominal cavity and causeing a massive infection.
Colic is not peritonitis. A perferated stomach caused from colic rupturing the stomach because of a twist is usually what happens.
A horse tends to feel better when the stomach ruptures, hence her getting up and moving around a bit. Then the pain from the rupture in the belly gets them down and thrashing again.
Sorry for this to happen. I might really check over that pasture, sounds like they might be getting something toxic or possibly neighbors throwing lawn shavings or something over the fence?
Sooo sorry that you had to go through this and that there was not an available vet. What an awful situation :cry:
So sorry. It must have been terrible to witness. Awful how vets want the horseowners to ensure their horses only get sick or hurt during business hours, though I doubt that the vet would have been able to save her horse. The only thing the vet could have likely done was to put her down to relieve the pain. Very sad.
I agree with Masquerade: colic is not an illness unto itself.
As for burning, yes, that would be awful. I would never attempt that. We have both buried and dragged into the bush. I much prefer the dragging into the bush if you have a large enough property. In no time at all there is no sign except some hair and it looks very calm. Burying, if not done deep enough makes a bigger mess if there is wildlife in the area. In my area, it can be difficult to bury deep enough due to the bedrock; if no bedrock then it's swamp and it's impossible to get equipment in there.
When DJ died, he died in an area where you couldn't drag his body out, so we planned to cut and haul in some brush and burn his body. The our area was slapped with a burn ban, so all we could do was leave him there until the ban was lifted. DJ died 10/11/10, and when we checked his body in January, there was nothing there but his skeleton. There was nothing left to burn.
My only real issue with dragging and letting nature take it's course is if you don't know what the horse actually died from, you could unknowingly be allowing a disease to spread.
I'm so sorry you and your cousin had to go through this. I've lost lots of dogs in my life - accidents, disease, old age. It's nothing compared to losing a horse. I don't pretent to understand the psychology in it, but it does seem that losing a horse is a more shattering experience.
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