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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Last night my 8yr old TB mare had what I think was maybe gas colic.

She had her dinner (soaked beet pulp and rice bran) as usual last night. When I went out about 30 minutes later to put out hay for the night she started rolling (this mare is very shy and is never willing to roll in front of people).

I started going towards she once she got up and she started pawing very violently. She went down again, got up and pawed again and then went down for a 3rd time. She then continued to paw with both front legs very violently over and over because I wouldn't let her go down to roll.

I then walked her for about 30 minutes until she let out a large amount of gas and then had a bowel movement (I was so relieved when she pooped!!). I continued walking her for another 10 minutes then let her off the lead rope.

She started following me around and acting like her normal self once again. She also began looking for food which I took as a good sign. I continued to check on her every hour or so for most of the night and all seemed okay. This morning she seems perfectly fine (thank goodness!).

One of my biggest concerns is that I don't know what caused the colic so I'm not sure how to prevent it from happening again. I always soak the beet pulp, I try to keep grass hay in front of them most of the time, they have fresh clean water at all times, they are not stalled so they are able to move about as they please.

I need your thoughts and opinions on what may have caused the colic episode and how to try to prevent it from happening again. As always.. Thanks in advance!!
 

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There's no one particular cause for colic. You didn't do anything wrong, so if you're looking for a specific culprit I'm afraid you're out of luck.

It's because colic is unpredictable that it's so scary to horse owners.

You can have the best husbandry methods in the world and sometimes a horse is just going to colic. Bad care, poor nutrition, and lack of water can make a horse more susceptible to it, but your care appears to be exemplary.

I have a gelding who used to gas colic on a weekly basis. Even now, when the weather changes slightly I keep a watchful eye on him. He hasn't colicked in quite awhile but since I know he's susceptible to it, I'm more vigilant with him than the other two.
 

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I need your thoughts and opinions on what may have caused the colic episode and how to try to prevent it from happening again. As always.. Thanks in advance!!
Horses do not need a reason to colic. Please keep in mind that they can have these mini episodes and we sometimes see them. Rolling or pacing is their way of trying to disperse the gas bubble. Some horses are more likely to show you they are distressed. Many go unnoticed unless someone really knows the horse.

We have the 1/2 hour rule. Take vitals and monitor the horse for 30 minutes. If no change or worse, then we contact the vet. Most times a gas issue can be resolved with a nice easy walk or belly lifts.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the replies. This is the first time I've ever had a horse colic on me so I wasn't sure if there was something I should have done differently or if there was something specific that may have caused it. Thanks again.
 

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I agree with all of the answers above buttttt, I always look at Lactic Acid in the hind gut. Many reasons and too many to discuss. What is the diet? How much work? Tons of factors. I would start looking though before it turns into a problem.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
@beamer, Thank you for your response! I don't have very much knowledge about lactic acid but I will definitely do some research on it.

Her diet is soaked beet pulp twice daily, fed with rice bran. She also gets about 30lbs of orchardgrass split into 2 feedings (15lbs during the day, 15lbs overnight). She has access to a mineral block and of course clean water 24/7.

Her work load is rather light consisting mostly of lunging as she has not been started under saddle. she's kept on about 2 acres with my other mare where they move about as they please.
 

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Horse colic

Sounds like you are doing things right. Can be a ton of things from something bad in the hay. (common) to picking something up in pasture to the tempature changes. Bottom line though is they all produce toxins and lactic acid I beleive.
 

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Do you soak the beet pulp for an hour prior to feeding? Also you may try psyllium for when you suspect an onset of colic. The bran should help with keeping things moving. Since we have had irratic weather in CA this year, hot one week, cool the next .. it could just be the weather change. Is there any weeds or grass growing on the acreage? Are they kept by a public road where something could have blowin in and she ate it? Gas colic can be caused by green grasses. Hope she stays well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
@stevenson, I actually soak the beet pulp for 2 hours before feeding. I will get some psyllium to have on hand incase it's ever needed in the future.
You're probably right about the weather, it's been nuts here. There is no weeds or grass of any sort on the acreage. They are not on a public road, they are at my home so I'm sure nothing blew into the yard. Thanks for your response!
 
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