It will get better with time and a good conditioning program that tightens up those abdominal muscles.
My 3 year old had colic surgery, and when the stitches were out and she was cleared by the vet, I ran her through a rehab program that involved a lot of walking over poles, backing up, and turns-on-the-haunches to really engage those muscles. She still had a small edema pocket type lump way back there near her udder for about a year and a half after, though.
I think it will get better in time...once he's old enough to work, filling out his topline will help disguise it a bit.
My mare had colic surgery in 2004....and she is a FIT mare, she still has a belly...I think alot of horses keep a belly after colic surgery. Just as my cat's belly has swung now for 10 years, ever since her kitten spay.
Did they remove any intestine or was it a placement surgery?
My gelding had colic surgery in Nov 2008. He still has edema around the whole incision area (it's a little bigger then what I can see in your picture). My vet told me that it can take months for it to go away and that exercise/movement will help. It doesn't bother him and I competed him (2'6" hunter classes) for the first time since his surgery.
Samotis, here's the exercises that I used, adjusted to be done in hand.
1. Hand walk over poles. At first, space them evenly, and after several successful passes, make the spacing all different. Then they really must pay attention to what they are doing, which proved to be more interesting to my girl than just laps around the arena.
2. Hand-walk backwards. When I was doing hand-walk laps, every quarter of the arena, I'd ask for a halt and then ask for 4 steps backwards.
3. If you can teach him to turn on his haunches or side-pass in hand, those engage the abdominals, too. For a youngster, I did just one turn in each direction and a few steps of sidepass per day.
4. Back lifts. Stand facing your horse's side, about in the middle of their barrel. Use the pads of your fingers on one hand to push up into the middle/midline of your horse's belly. He should react by lifting his back up and contracting his abdominals. Definitely "test the waters" on this one first to make sure that he tolerates having his belly touched, just for safety's sake.
He had a nephrosplenic entrapment. They didn't take any intestine out. Only moved it back where it needed to be.
Its weird because some days it looks fine and others I can see it!
He is only 15 months so he doesn't really work that much. I walk him everyday and I am just teaching him to walk and trot a little on the lunge.
He is out all day in pasture and in his stall and the arena at night, so he has plenty of opportunity to excercise!
He has a hunter breeding show later in the summer so I just want to do everything I can to help him "tone" up before his big debut!
What kind of excercises could I do with him?
My TB gelding had the same surgery (for nephrosplenic entrapment) as an 8 yr old. His tummy looked swollen down there for quite awhile, initially from the edema (the vet had me apply a warm washcloth to it at first) but it did eventually go away. I would think as young as yours is it would take even less time.
FYI, most likely all of the sutures have not yet dissolved - the linea alba (the part of the internal abdominal body wall that is the strong "holding" layer) takes a long time to fully heal, so most of the time a long-lasting absorbable suture is used in that layer (think 6 months or more). However, I doubt that's what's causing his "bump"...I think it will probably improve with exercise and muscle development/strengthening.
My dear, you think that is bad...you should see my 18 year old who had colic surgery mid Feb. I will email you a couple of pics. I actually contacted the place that did the surgery and sent some photos....they also said with exercise, it should improve....but chances are he will have the look the rest of his life. He too healed great, no hernia, etc.....he just looks like he is going to give birth. I have noticed an improvement since the photos were taken (they were taken at 60 days, we are now almost at 120 days) but a far cry away to where he was prior to surgery.
I also read that on occasion the linea alba will stretch or thin, resulting in a different bottom line after surgery.
I am so glad you posted this question. My guy seems to have my vets stumped with his bump, which looks like your colt (only worse). He also has a "ridge" that feels like soft muscle....hard to explain, about the width of my hand. Vet has been over him with a fine tooth comb, no rim (hernia) no pain, just weird looking.
he doesn't have any swelling and you can barely even see where the incision was. That is why it is so weird to me. It seemed to heal great, but when you look at him from afar, you can see that his belly is just not quite right!