Bad weather colic - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 11 Old 02-09-2010, 12:08 AM Thread Starter
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Bad weather colic

So my sister's pony is fairly prone to colic and usually has a few mild episodes throughout the spring and summer seasons, always preceding a horrible storm. However, friday evening in the face of a relatively bad snowstorm (for us NJ people at least!) he did it yet again. This is the first time he has shown any symptoms of colic during the winter months, but it still fell in line within 12 hours before a bad storm rolling in. I guess it has to do with the change in barometric pressure and extreme switches in temperature/etc that set him off. In the face of another snow storm rolling in, I am hoping that he isn't triggered by the weather again.
Nothing like the threat of having to deal with serious colic issues and the chance of surgery needed when theres however many feet of snow on the ground and you can't get the trailer out of the drive!
Just wondering if anyone else has a horse that seems to be set off by severe weather? Nothing like some bad timing (not that there's ever a good time for colic)

Oh... luckily Danny made a full recovery after the vet coming out to tube him with mineral oil. It was a long night of walking in the snow for us, and thats the first time its ever been serious enough to need a vet's assistance.
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post #2 of 11 Old 02-09-2010, 12:33 AM
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Ugh, the C word. Nelson went through a horrid colic episode - but how traumatic it would be to deal with it everytime the weather changes...oh my gosh.

Does your sister have her pony on any digestive aid suppliments?

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post #3 of 11 Old 02-09-2010, 12:36 AM
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When the weather changes from fall to winter and from winter to spring a lot of horses in this area have colic issues. They stop drinking water and that's usually the biggest thing. I'm pretty sure colic just doesn't occur in short time, meaning it takes a bit of time for the digestive system to slow down enough to start causing problems. At least that's been my experience here and with my own horse.

The best thing you can do is soak the hay and make sure the horse is drinking plenty of water. There are other reasons for colic, but at least around here, the weather is the biggest.
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post #4 of 11 Old 02-09-2010, 12:38 AM Thread Starter
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We've had him on numerous different supplements. Currently we use SmartGut (from smartpak) and he gets ulcergard before any stressful event (especially during show season, as he gets stressed and can start to act uncomfortable during long days of competition)
He's never let us down with his endless health quirks (from his bad weather colic to his anhydrosis which is also fun and causes him to get hot easy and then more colic like behavior)
I recollect your issue with Nelson and that came to my mind as I was watching Danny during his episode the other day. Glad to see how well Nelson is doing for you now though
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post #5 of 11 Old 02-09-2010, 01:03 AM
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If he's 'prone' to colic have you looked into his overall diet, management & stress levels? Might be stating the obvious, but I'll state it anyway.... Does he have free choice roughage - either grazing or hay? Does he have low-starch, grain free rations? Is he fed little & often? Is he turned out most of the time, exercised enough, comfortable & confident in his surrounds, at least the vast majority of the time? Is it possible he is IR or Cushings, so more sensitive to 'junk food' &/or unhealthy feeding practices?

Never heard of weather causing colic, so can only suggest the above general stuff sorry.
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post #6 of 11 Old 02-09-2010, 09:29 AM
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My own Danny goes through the exact same thing, although it may not be as often as yours. He last colicked when we had a week of really warm weather then a blast of super cold weather. Not severe, but enough to make him uncomfortable. Is he getting impaction or gas colic? Mine is usually (knock on wood) gas colic. I'm sure you're doing most of these, but these are the precautions we take:

Fresh water as often as possible and keep the water from getting ice chunks in it. Warm water as often as possible. I board so I don't have complete control over this, but we do the best we can.

No treats at ALL other than Probios horse treats. Danny's previous owner realized he has an allergy to corn that irritates his digestive system so we're super careful about what he eats. He's currently on Strategy with a coating of vegetable oil to help everything move through his system. He's also on SmartDigest Ultra from Smartpak. There was some suspicion of ulcers, but he's so laid back that my vet highly doubts it.

Free choice hay to keep the gut regulated. Free choice mineral or salt block to keep him drinking.

If he does show discomfort, he gets a syringe of pepto bismol, followed by 30 minutes of walking. If that doesn't help, he gets banamine and the vet gets a phone call!

My way of thinking is that he should have access to as much hay and water as possible throughout the day, and his schedule should be as regular as possible (turnout times, feeding times, etc). I also watch him like a hawk for any signs of changes.

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post #7 of 11 Old 02-09-2010, 09:36 AM
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My Soda just colicked. The vet and I guessed that he stopped drinking water and she was thinking it might have been due to the weird weather.

A friend of mine suggested that to keep him drinking water I added chunks of salt/mineral blocks to his feed tub. This way he has to move them around to eat and should get more salt which makes him thirstier. In addition, I've been crumbling a little from the salt block into the feed trough. This way when they're done eating they can just lick the feed trough if they feel like it. They've been drinking more water now. More like the amounts they drink in the summer.

Her boss adds a 1/2 tsp or something to her horse's feed to encourage drinking also.
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post #8 of 11 Old 02-09-2010, 10:22 AM
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What I normally do is haul water from the house for the one that I have that is prone to colic. I give him room temperature water (they tend to stop drinking water when it's really cold). They'll drink the whole bucket if it's room temperature. It seems to help.....

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post #9 of 11 Old 02-09-2010, 08:41 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks everyone for the insightful replies. These are all things that we regularly do with him, as we have done pretty much everything in the book to aid in his digestion and keep his routine regular, plentiful roughage, and as well hydrated as possible. Although I said he is prone to it, I don't mean he colics all the time. He is prone- as in if we slip up on something or aren't extra careful with him theres a good chance we might end up with a sick pony :)
I feel he's pretty well managed, and obviously the longer its been that we have owned him- the fewer and more far between the colic episodes have been. Last year it was only once in the midst of a horrible thunder storm over the summer while we were away on vacation (our poor horse sitter out there tending to him with horrible weather, a flooded field, torrential downpours and off and on power!).
Luckily its always very mild gas pains (usually gone with walking or a combination of walking and a dose of banamine paste) even though he acts like its the end of the world. Our Danny happens to be the biggest sissy known to horse kind! He can't handle any discomfort whatsoever!
This last time a couple of days ago was by far the worst he's been as he needed the vet to come out, but it was still a gas colic. Luckily no impactions or twists or worse.
Its interesting to hear that other people experience similar weather related colics. And its always nice and helpful to hear what other people are doing to manage their horses to see if theres anything that I feel we should add or subtract to what we are doing for Dan.
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post #10 of 11 Old 02-09-2010, 09:27 PM
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I would second what FarmPony does: give warm water to avoid impaction colics. We are going through the same storms. I haul warm water out three times per day. They also have access to a stream at other times. The geriatric horse waits for me to bring out the warm water.

If it is too hot for them, they will let it cool and then drink it.
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