Horse has colic...don't walk? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 22 Old 04-13-2013, 12:43 AM Thread Starter
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Horse has colic...don't walk?

A friend text me earlier this evening with pics and descriptions of a horse in the barn where she has her horse boarding. After discussing, we both were thinking colic and until the owner and vet could get out that she should treat the horse like he had colic. He wasn't in a lot of pain but mostly grunting, circling, and lying down then getting up. She got the horse out and walked him around until the vet came. Later this evening she called to let me know the update on the horse (it was colic) and to let me know that the vet jumped all over her for walking him. He told her it was the worst thing you could do. She just said okay and left the situation alone (he isn't her vet).

I'm sure that most all of us know that if a horse shows signs of colic, if he hasn't progressed to actively rolling and thrashing about, that you try to keep him standing and walk him. It is what I have always been told to do by my personal vets and the equine vet clinic I worked for definitely believed in walking them. So I'm wondering, has anyone heard that walking a horse with colic is bad? I'm in no way saying that this particular vet is wrong, I'm wondering is there new info out there that goes against what is normally done.
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post #2 of 22 Old 04-13-2013, 01:10 AM
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I was always told that if the horse is going down and rolling/thrashing around, then get them up and walk them.
But, if they are laying down quietly, let them be.

now I am interested in hearing the responses.
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post #3 of 22 Old 04-13-2013, 01:30 AM
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oh man, I've heard all sorts of stuff since i've been at my new barn. Couple of vets we have in our area, absolutely refuse to tube a horse. They only give fluids. I've also heard people tell stories of folks walking their colicky horse so much that the horse becomes exhausted.

I am also interested to see what others have to say about this.

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post #4 of 22 Old 04-13-2013, 01:38 AM
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I've always been of the mind to walk if the horse is repeatedly laying down and getting up. The only horse (thank goodness and knock on wood) I had to watch while I waited for the vet to arrive was too restless when left to himself in his stall so I led him up to the arena and stood quietly with him. If he offered to lay and roll I would urge him to walk for a few seconds and then stood quietly with him again. Vet was happy with this.

I have definitely heard a colicing horse can be walked to a point where they lose to much energy and it can worsen their condition. Thinking this is a time when moderation comes into play? If the horse isn't rolling and overly uncomfortable leave them be until help arrives but do your best to keep them quiet if need be?
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post #5 of 22 Old 04-13-2013, 02:13 AM
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Maybe they walked the horse too much? We always would walk for 10 minutes then rest untill the horse starts getting fidgety.

Not gonna lie ive made the mistake of overwalking a colicky horse and they absolutely will be exhausted to the point of them falling over on to you and thats a bad situation to be in.
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post #6 of 22 Old 04-13-2013, 07:49 AM
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Originally Posted by tinyliny View Post
I was always told that if the horse is going down and rolling/thrashing around, then get them up and walk them.
But, if they are laying down quietly, let them be.

now I am interested in hearing the responses.
^^^^ this from both my regular vet and the ER vet.

That being said, I only followed that rule to a point when my 25 yr old colicked several times, last year.

He has a lot of tightness in his right hip from the hock/ankle arthritis in his left rear.

He would drop like a lead balloon and just sit there. I would give him Banamine paste, wait 20 minutes and if he wasn't getting up, I would make him get up. That is because his back end would lock up on him, if I didn't make him at least stand up.

I have timed all my horses' "lying down for nap time". I give them a max of 25 minutes and if they'e not up, I'm getting them up because something is wrong.

So the answer is, it's a judgement call if the horse is being quiet and not thrashing

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post #7 of 22 Old 04-13-2013, 07:53 AM
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Maybe the vet was actually upset because they walked a horse that did not belong to them.

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post #8 of 22 Old 04-13-2013, 10:05 AM
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Walking a horse that is colicing does a few things that can make the situation worse. If the horse is quite and not thrashing around, walking is going to increase his stress by making him do something that he's not in the mood to do. If he wants to just lay there and rest, let him just lay there and rest. It also moves bloodflow from the abdomen to the large muscles of the legs compromising it's ability to move fluids to the problem area. You have to look at the individual situation.
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post #9 of 22 Old 04-13-2013, 11:58 AM
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Originally Posted by Left Hand Percherons View Post
You have to look at the individual situation.
I've walked all the colicking horses at the barn so far but that's because all of them wanted to roll around, if any had actually been quiet, I would have let them be. A very calm, quiet walk... basically just keep them up and from going down and rolling. If at any point they were willing/wanting to stand quietly next to me and rest, I let them. Thankfully our Vet is 15mins away and rushes over, so none of the horses were ever exhausted before he arrived.
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post #10 of 22 Old 04-13-2013, 05:31 PM
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Colic is a difficult thing to know how to treat. Each case is different.
I agree that over walking can tire the horse.
I have known horses diagnosed with impacted colic 'free' it all by travelling them to the vets.
I have also found that some horses will roll and get themselves cast and want to stay there. They will stay upside down for several minutes and then want freeing. Once up they will want to walk and then will often pass droppings.

Any form of colic needs a vet.
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