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View Poll Results: What sentence BEST describes your colic situation?

Voters
148. You may not vote on this poll
  • Have had a minor episode(s) in the last 12 months

    40 27.03%
  • Have had a major episode(s) in the last 12 months

    32 21.62%
  • Have NOT had a *minor* episode(s) in 3 years

    9 6.08%
  • Have NOT had a *major* episode(s) in 3 years

    10 6.76%
  • Have NOT had a *minor* episode(s) in 5 years

    12 8.11%
  • Have NOT had a *major* episode(s) in 5 years

    23 15.54%
  • Colic is a constant battle for me, but it's with one or two horses only.

    6 4.05%
  • I can't remember the last time I had to call the vet for colic.

    46 31.08%
  • I'm involved with a rescue and it is a constant problem for us

    0 0%
Multiple Choice Poll.
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  1. #41
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    No problems with colic really. Once with a mare that I bought who colicked the day after I bought her. Vet said it was likely the stress. I have had a few bouts of runny manure/gassiness but that was from rich grass (or someone got a grazing muzzle off)...nothing that turned into true colic. I really think some are just more susceptible to it. Mine are typically in stalls at night. A few are easy keepers and don't really have hay in front of them in the stalls at night because they eat it so fast. No threats of colic there. There have been a couple of very hot days where the water trough got dumped by some adventurous equine soul and we never saw any problems.

    Some of it's luck, but alot of it probably has to do with really being aware of your own horse. Some horses are just sensitive, and some cases are unpreventable.



  2. #42
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    I haven't had a major case in the last five years, but did send two to surgery (at different times) long ago. One was right after a uterine infusion for a mild infection, the surgeon suspected something to do with that but didn't find a smoking gun on the necropsy (the base of her cecum was just dead) and the other impacted right after coming home after training (survived, but was put down a year later due to hock tumors-ugh!).

    I think there is an element of luck, but also that lots of good turnout on good grass with a feed set up based on forage rather than grain goes a long way towards prevention.

    Colics give me the heebie jeebies too.



  3. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by atr View Post
    I do wonder though, for those of us who keep horses at home, how often horses colic mildly and we miss it because we are at work, or cleaning the bathrooms, or the horse is up the other end of the property somewhere. When they are boarded, stalled, then there are usually more eyes around to pick up immediately on what's going on.
    I tend to think the opposite, actually. In most boarding situations I've been exposed to, the horses get fed at ~8 AM and again at ~4 PM. Then they're notlooked at again until 8AM the next morning. That's 16 hours unattended. Yikes! Of course, some farms do have a 'night check', but that's of limited usefulness if the horses are out in the field. And I have been surprised at how many facilities don't have a night check at all.

    My rule of thumb for my horses at home is that they need to be given a visual once over at least every 8 hours. Of course, I telecommute to work these days, and my home office is in my barn. (I even have a window in my office that looks directly out into one of my stalls.) So I do probably have more contact with my horses than most people. But it wasn't always like that... I used to go to work off site every day. I still felt like my horses got much more attention at home than they got in boarding barns.

    I also think there's a lot to be said for the intimate setting of keeping them at home. We quickly learn exactly what is normal *for each individual horse* in terms of manure/urine production, water consumption, appetite, and time spent lying down. In fact, I was just thinking as I was reading through this thread that a lot of minor colics probably get missed in big boarding barns because nobody notices.

    All that said, there are certainly plenty of people whose jobs/family commitments make it impossible for them to keep close tabs on their horses. In those kinds of situations, it probably is better to board.


    Quote Originally Posted by Blue Yonder View Post
    Sort of like not smoking decreases your cancer odds, but plenty of nonsmokers get cancer anyway.
    Excellent analogy, Blue Yonder!


    Quote Originally Posted by JenRose View Post
    Here are my cases:

    Horse #1 - 15 years old. Coliced ALOT when I first got him as a 3 year old, but nothing since.
    I have a three year old who had a very mild spasmodic/gas colic a couple of months ago. The vet felt pretty sure that it was her teeth! Just a week or two after her little colic episode, she lost all 4 of her central baby teeth within a couple of days. (They were loose at the time she colicked.) The vet's theory was that her teeth hurt, so her eating pattern had changed, probably such that she was swallowing more air when she chewed. Apparently my vet has seen a number of baby horses get colicky around the time that they lose those teeth... Weird, huh?


    I think there have been a lot of really good posts in this thread.



  4. #44
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    Jun. 18, 2006
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    Quote Originally Posted by MaresNest View Post
    I also think there's a lot to be said for the intimate setting of keeping them at home. We quickly learn exactly what is normal *for each individual horse* in terms of manure/urine production, water consumption, appetite, and time spent lying down. In fact, I was just thinking as I was reading through this thread that a lot of minor colics probably get missed in big boarding barns because nobody notices.
    I totally agree!!!

    I now keep all 4 of mine at home, and even though I work away from home, I know they get much more specialized care than when boarded. Horse #1 that I talked about in an earlier post coliced at the boarding/training barn. I got a call about 11am that he hadn't eaten breakfast. I said, "well don't they eat at 8am?"..."well yes, but we just noticed he didn't eat & now he is lying down".
    Animals are not disposable!!!
    http://www.pawsnela.org



  5. #45
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    Oct. 14, 2004
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    Quote Originally Posted by atr View Post

    I do wonder though, for those of us who keep horses at home, how often horses colic mildly and we miss it because we are at work, or cleaning the bathrooms, or the horse is up the other end of the property somewhere. When they are boarded, stalled, then there are usually more eyes around to pick up immediately on what's going on.
    atr,
    I totally agree with you here. I wonder how many little colics - which in its simplest form is a "belly ache", do go unnoticed and just clear on their own.

    I've been called by barn owners, only to arrive within a 1/2 and my horse was perfectly fine.

    So, how many times did this happen at night when no one was around? Or during the day, again, when no one was around?
    MnToBe Twinkle Star: "Twinkie"
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    Proud member of the "Don't rush to kill wildlife" clique!



  6. #46
    timefirstround Guest

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    Long-time lurker here. Count me in for the major and minor episodes within the last 12 months, and colic being a constant battle. Thankfully, in the last year, it has become less of a battle-- exactly 1 year ago, my horse (11 y.o. OTTB gelding, never raced because when they would take him to the track to train he would-- you guessed it-- colic) had his second colic surgery, and has had 1 episode since, this past February (veterinary care immediately b/c it was his first colic post-surgery).

    There was never anything consistent about the colics-- they happened on a regular basis, at least one every 2 months, until his first colic surgery in 2004. The first surgery was to put back a large colon torsion and caecum displacement, no resection needed. Most episodes we handled at home on our own ("we" being my trainer and I; her husband manages the barn and is unbelievably in tune to my horse, he knows the second something is not quite right), would call our vet if we got past the point of comfortable, mostly to make sure he was sufficiently hydrated. We knew what was "normal" in his routine, so would make sure we were meeting the right markers in his progress, or else would get the vet ASAP, and never hesitated about going to the hospital if needed-- rather get there before it's too serious so they're in good shape should they need surgery.

    Last summer, he started with a very painful, abnormal gas colic that we called the vet for ASAP. Worked with it for a day and a half at home, had some improvement, calmed down right away from the painful gas colic at first, but seemed to have a very high impaction that wasn't moving. Took him to Midatlantic, they managed him medically for about 18 hours, and weren't satisfied with his progress, so took him to surgery. His surgeon, Patty Doyle, who is phenomenal, had treated him in his other hospitalizations and knew him well, and felt that he had this recurring motility issue in his large colon and that the best solution for him long-term was to remove a section (8 feet) of the large colon and re-plumb everything. Very risky, but with his history we knew it wasn't going to get better-- we went through everything, ulcers, food allergies/diet, turnout, hydration, etc., and managed it with a very good diet and routine, but hadn't found anything we could say really worked.

    So we went for the surgery. Turns out he had what I call the trifecta of colic-- high impaction, large colon torsion, and caecum displacement (sound familiar?). They said how stoic he was for not showing nearly the amount of distress he should have. Almost right away we knew it was the right decision to remove that section of colon; it was touch and go with his pain level for about 18 hours or so, but after that, he turned around right away and has recovered incredibly. We paid very careful attention to his diet to help him get enough nutrition as the caecum learned to do the job of the large colon, and he's just flourished since. We had one episode in February, but that resolved being managed at home within a few days, and he was never in distress, we just had to learn his new colic routine. Thankfully, nothing since (cross your fingers!). It was scary, but worth it for all of us.

    For some background, he is an 11 y.o. OTTB gelding, never raced, I've owned him for 6.5 years, almost the entire time he's been off the track and all at the same farm. Farm is low-key, family oriented; local showing mostly, C through A shows, don't go on the road much anymore, and we foxhunt. Lots of turnout provided (he is alone in a sand ring b/c he has an allergy to orchard grass and gets Totally Timothy-- big help in reducing the colics, but didn't eliminate it), outstanding individualized care. His diet has been Blue Seal Vintage Senior, Hay Stretcher, Strongid C2X, and Neigh Loxx, served wet twice per day. Recently we started him on the Platinum Performance supplement because he's been working hard (showing child/adult and level 2 jumpers locally, C through A shows); plus he has a tub full of Totally Timothy to "graze" on 24/7, as well as 2 full buckets of water at all times. He drinks a ton of water (and urinates a lot too), we monitor it with the vet, nothing abnormal on urinalyses, so we just keep an eye on it.

    I think the importance of hydration is the big lesson we've learned-- if there's any hint of dehydration, its tube and oil with extra fluids and/or IV fluids ASAP.

    I have to put in a HUGE thank you to my parents for being so supportive and caring as much about my horse as I do. They've been there 100% for every colic, whether it was as simple as taking care of my dog so I could be at the barn, to always, always saying do whatever it takes, don't worry about the money (it's been a long time since I could insure him for colic), just do what is best for him. I'm in my mid-20's and work full time, own my own home, car, etc., and cover the majority of my horse expenses, but couldn't have afforded the big medical expenses without them. Aside from the vet bills I've covered (all of the colics at home, Gastrogard I don't know how many times, supplements, etc.), they've paid at least twice in medical and surgical hospital stays than what they paid to buy him for me, and never blinked. After 17 years, and especially since my mother started riding about 7 years ago, they're now totally involved and we would all be devastated if we lost "our" horse.

    Thankfully, he's absolutely flourishing and loving showing in the jumpers-- he's fit, his body is great, he's muscled and dappled and shiny, and better than ever. He's been totally worth the lost sleep and money and heartache, as he's an absolute dream-- gorgeous, incredible personality, affectionate, honest, willing, careful, athletic, etc. He's my dream horse, and I didn't even know it at first, and have learned so much from him, and am just so grateful that everything has worked out so well. We lost a very special one to colic (euthanized during emergency surgery, only 8 years old) in 2000 and probably never quite recovered from it, so at least the lessons learned from that experience have been put to good use.

    Alright, this is a huge novel, but I've written it about 4 times and can't seem to make it any shorter, so sorry for the length if you actually read all of it!

    -JMB


    1 members found this post helpful.

  7. #47
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    re: rolling and 'shaking.'

    An old timer taught me this.

    A healthy horse will roll vigourously, and get up and 'shake' however small.

    A sick horse will roll, and maybe get up, and NOT shake.

    It's funny, I had a dear friend tell me once I 'communicate' with equines more than I give myself credit for. I know in a HEARTBEAT if down is 'sleeping' down or something else. Only twice in ten years have I had a *moment* where panic overulled and I thought the worst. All other times I see sleeping horses and feel the deepest sense of peace and security. <shrugs>
    InnisFailte Pinto Sporthorses & Coloured Cobs
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    1 members found this post helpful.

  8. #48
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    Oct. 28, 2006
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    My horse has coliced twice in the past three years but both times were ulcer related.



  9. #49
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    Aug. 2, 2001
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    Sorry, folks, I'll get back on this thread...my friend's horse didn't make it.
    "For God hates utterly
    The bray of bragging tongues."
    Sophocles, Antigone Spoken by the Leader of the Chorus of Theban Elders



  10. #50
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    Nov. 9, 2005
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    um- havent answered the poll and havent read all replys but colic to me

    in gerneral a- it due to feed- ie overfed or underfed animals, i know cuase i re hab them

    and b- its one the 1st sign of any serious illness such as cancer - know that one well as now lost 5 to the thing

    c- again feed related - but this time types of grasses and plant mater
    1 to much grass
    2- to little grass
    3- not regonising toxic plants in grassing

    d-- how you look after a horse in general
    as in bathing in the middle of winter- can and cuase a chill therfore causing stomach upset

    same to goes for hot weather as in to much sunlight

    then theres the varation of pain depth as it can be measured but we all know can kill

    personally for whatever reason i dont muck about with colic its a vet job and needs a vet pronto



  11. #51
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    Feb. 16, 2006
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oldenburg Mom View Post
    Chief, I don't quite understand the second ... and sorry for my ignorance, what is the lipoma strangulation?

    Old Jr. Hunter ... can you be more specific? Do you care for your horses at home? You too, Kahlua2. What's your take? Your secret?



    Well, there is a huge kernel of truth in this—but is that where we just leave it? That seems an unsatisfactory answer...maybe I just don't like the randomness. But if that's also the case, how can people ride for almost 50 years and not have a single case? Luck? I don't buy that.



    Yes, I take care of my horse myself.

    I just believe in keeping them as natural as possible. Horses naturally eat forage and are grazers. They are routine animals, like most, and don't like surprises or stress.

    Keeping them stalled and only out when ridden is like working in a cubicle 24/7 and only leaving for meetings...stress.



  12. #52
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    I have had horses for the past 30 years and I have only recently had an episode of gas colic in my 4 year old gelding. The vet felt that it was a sudden change in the weather that we had. I have my horses at home and they are on turnout 24/7 in a dry lot and I free feed grass hay. In the summer they are turned out to pasture at least 8 hours a day.



  13. #53
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    Oldenburg Mom:

    So very sorry to see your friends horse did not make it. How very sad. Jingling for her.

    However, I am pleased to say that my friends horse came through surgery fine and we should be able to pick her up next week sometime---as long as everything stays on the up and up.

    Please give a jingle or two for Enkore.



  14. #54
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    My 14 YO colicked badly at about age 5 I think? Hot as hell summer and he went to pot in a heartbeat. Three days later he was released from Auburn - treated medically, not surgically...never ever had an issue with him since. He's home now, but his care is about the same as when I boarded him: checked 2X a day, good food, free choice salt, better minerals is the only change...and he doesn't live the life of a hothouse flower: he's out 24/7, ridden sporadically, sometimes long hard trails...hauled to trail rides, etc...I don't baby him in other words. He does get a fizzy/nervous tummy and will get runny poops at the drop of a hat, but that's just who he is. I salt his feed from time to time in really super hot weather, but that's about all I do 'special'.

    Trainer I grew up under had a QH stud that would colic consistently with any rude weather change...just a gassy tummy never anything bad but he was like clockwork. Other horses in the exact same living situation as him..zero issues.

    I think it's the horse as much as the living conditions. Some just have a predisposition to it. Some randomly have an issue like my guy, some never have issue one.



  15. #55
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    Aug. 2, 2001
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    Quote Originally Posted by kaluha2 View Post
    Oldenburg Mom:

    So very sorry to see your friends horse did not make it. How very sad. Jingling for her.
    I'm really cut up over this one ... just right out the blue. I think it's every owner's nightmare...and it sure is mine. We've chatted about her over the past three-four years. So I kinda feel a little bit like I lost one of mine.

    Please give a jingle or two for Enkore.
    HUGE purple J-I-N-G-L-E-S J-I-N-G-L-E-S J-I-N-G-L-E-S J-I-N-G-L-E-S for Enkore.
    "For God hates utterly
    The bray of bragging tongues."
    Sophocles, Antigone Spoken by the Leader of the Chorus of Theban Elders



  16. #56
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    I guess we can do everything in the world, and sometimes, colics just happen and we couldn't have prevented them.

    For example: I went out of town a couple of years ago and left my gelding in the care of a friend. Two days before I was slated to come home, he had a fit, put his foot through his thick metal stall gate in the middle of the night (one of the HUGE grated ones), tore it off the wall, busted out of his stall, tore around the barn, fell while running down the cement aisle and crashed into the garage door at the end of the barn (and subsequently developed epilepsy from this incident, we think), broke into the grain, ate EVERYTHING he could find including a bag of treats, went into an empty stall, laid down and got cast, and that was how they found him in the AM. He spent a week in the hospital recovering from a REALLY bad colic - just barely missed surgery, thank god. He was drooling reflux out his nose when they got him on his feet.

    Sometimes, we can do everything in the world to manage it... and it just happens anyway



  17. #57
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    I think the #1 thing on my colic prevention list is a solid de-worming program. After that, appropriate amounts of forage, turnout, and exercise and making sure the horses stay hydrated. I don't think feeding "soup" for meals increases water intake enough to prevent colic, but I'm all for increasing the amount of water horses take in.



  18. #58
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    With my own horses & all the rescues I foster, I've only seen colic exactly once. It was a horse I rescued for myself, and I believe it was right after one of the first dewormings he had it (die off). It was mild and symptoms vanished after the vet tubed him, never to have a problem again. Now I know better and I'm a bit more careful about deworming.

    I do have to wonder when I hear of barns having multiple horses having colic at the same time, especially when it happens repeatedly... is there a management issue going on? I honestly don't think colic is all that common normally.



  19. #59
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    I think the best a horse owner can do is provide as much turnout as possible, or at least work if the horse can't be turned out, clean water at all times, good hay, a good deworming program, and hope for the best. In cases like Chief2 described (lipomas, intestine falling through a hole in mesentary) obviously management has nothing to do with the colic. I knew a mare 20 years ago who was actually saved through surgical intervention, because the problem was rectified before the strangulated intestine died -- a matter of pure luck (happened during the day, and when the owner was at the barn) as well as fast action by the owner and vets. I imagine that most of the time the prognosis for a colic like that is not good.



  20. #60
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    Quote Originally Posted by thumbsontop View Post
    No problems with colic really. Once with a mare that I bought who colicked the day after I bought her. Vet said it was likely the stress.
    I wanted to add an interesting detail to this...

    The mare was a little welsh with a filly by her side. I had never, ever dealt with colic before but thought I knew what to watch for from other people's experiences and what I read. But the reality was much different in this case. The mare galloped endlessly from one end of the 2 acre paddock to the other. The only time she would stop would be to bite her knees and pasterns. She would bite herself until she bled - and then take off at a gallop again. I finally managed to stop her by the time the vet got there and administered meds. I can't remember what she called it - reflective pain transfer or something? She had never seen a horse self-mutilate so badly when colicking but said that it does happen. Poor filly was just trying to keep up and exhausted. Everyone turned out fine thankfully and I never had an issue again with her.



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